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Non-Lawyer Mediators

Non-Lawyer Mediators

Is it more difficult for non-lawyer mediators to succeed in the market?

 

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I think that would be wrong and regrettable if they were to be any prohibition on non-lawyer mediators. I think that would be bad. I think in some ways it is regrettable that the market does gravitate towards lawyers. Their skills aren’t always appropriate to facilitating a settlement and I think it’s arguable that businessmen who have spent their lifetime negotiating deals and so forth are much better equipped in some instances. But, mediation does operate in the shadow of the law. Some legal skills are going to be necessary, very often in mediation. So I think to a degree it’s natural. To answer your question, is it harder? Yeah, absolutely. I think even among lawyers there is a hierarchy.

 

Actually, I’m starting to doubt myself as I say this but I think if you were a barrister, you’ve spent 20 years litigating cases. You’ve worked with all the litigation solicitors. Right now on your phone you’re going to have the contacts of probably a 100 people who can give you work as a mediator. Now you compare that to a solicitor who has spent his career beating up other solicitors at different firms in cases. They might have done it in a nice way in which case they will be well known in their field and in their niche and so forth. They will probably have some contacts. But then you get to being a non-lawyer and you’re looking around at your own individual contacts. Who is going to refer you the kind of cases that you think you deserve? It’s tough. It’s really tough.

About the mediator

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Matthew Rushton began a career as a legal journalist in 1997 writing for The Legal 500 in the UK, continental Europe, and Asia Pacific regions. He subsequently wrote for a wide range of legal periodicals in the UK and US, including Legal Business magazine where he was a senior reporter and litigation editor (2000-2003). As a business journalist he is widely published in magazines and newspapers, including nationals like The Daily Telegraph. He is... View Mediator