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Mediation as a Profession

Mediation as a Profession

Should mediation be a free-standing profession?

 

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It’s really a hard question. I know that, again, in the United States the pushback has been very, very big. Let’s face it, the best mediator is someone that the parties trust. It’s not someone who’s gone through a 50-hour training course or speaks the mediation language. It’s someone who they can trust to help them resolve their disputes and that’s why mediation has so many different definitions.

 

Look at Nelson Mandela or look at the Popes, they mediate every day. It’s really called peacemaking, so that’s why it’s hard when you look at the context of mediation to say, ‘We want everybody to be certified and we want it to be a profession.’

 

On the other hand, if it doesn’t develop into a profession, it will not have the stature and recognition that is necessary to propel it. In the United States we’ve got many court systems that ‘certify’ mediators and they ‘certify’ the mediators for their courts. They have specified requirements. It ranges anywhere from the training to actual mediation and doing those cases, and continuing training. But the courts are really looking at that because of their little areas.

 

We don’t want mediation, also, to become a purely legal system. There are many types of mediation that are done by non-lawyers and that’s why the Mediation Advocacy certification says ‘advocacy/adviser’ so that non- lawyers are put into the mix. So it’s going to be a balancing act, as we develop it as a profession, to make sure that it is inclusive, and includes people of varying talents and varying backgrounds, so that it’s not marginalised by being solely a legal process.

 

We also make sure that it’s used before a legal process is initiated, and that also means that it has be more inclusive. Those are just a snapshot of some of the challenges as we start to develop it into a profession.

About the mediator

Deb Masucci Profile Pic

Deborah Masucci is currently Chair and Board Member of the International Mediation Institute (IMI) and was former Chair of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Dispute Resolution Section with over 9,000 members worldwide. She is a Board member for Access ADR. She is a member of the International Arbitration Club of New York. She also serves as a full time arbitrator and mediator. Deborah was recruited to AIG in 2003 to establish its Office o... View Mediator