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Problems in the Mediation Industry

Problems in the Mediation Industry

What’s the biggest problem in the mediation industry?

 

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I think the fundamental point, I think it pretty much all blurred into the same thing but the market here in the UK and I think it’s no different in a lot of other countries, it’s just hugely over supplied. There might be 10,000 15,000 accredited qualified mediators raring to go and probably enough work for 20 or something. This is a very corrosive and destructive effect on all aspects of the market.

 

I think the oversupply is such now, I routinely talk to really talented and really brilliant people who’ve succeeded beyond their wildest dreams in all kinds of professions and people who I think have the right personality and soft skills and so forth to make brilliant mediators but I have to look them in the eye and say, ‘in all honesty now forget it. Just no way. You are never going to get an appointment.’ and that doesn’t do any of us any good. That’s a real issue that we have to face.

 

Where I am at the moment, at JAMS, I see even more of these people coming. Can I be on your panel? And the answer pretty much all the time has to be no. I am very uncomfortable with that. I think there is an ethical issue. I see how it arises. You want to be a mediator. The cases don’t arrive and so you end up almost by default going into training. You train, and you train, and you train. You accredit and there is an appetite. There is a huge interest in it and that is all for the good. I think it’s’ a very honourable, decent career to be in. Very laudable intentions in bringing peace and harmony and so forth. I can understand why people want to do it but where we are now in the economic cycle, with people with their redundancy money and so forth. I wouldn’t like to be taking that money and training somebody and pretending to them that there is a viable career in mediation for them. I think this is seriously unattractive and someone should do something.

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