Legal mediators act as nonpartisan aides to parties who want to settle law matters through arbitration. They help clients resolve a dispute by finding a solution that's mutually beneficial. A number of training programs are offered, from postsecondary schools and independent organizations, and each state has its own licensing and certification requirements for mediators.
Legal mediators are trained to help parties resolve legal disputes. Using communication and people skills, legal mediators listen, offer advice and assist in negotiations to help parties find a mutually agreeable solution. Required education to get into this field varies, but those with a law degree are likely to have the most success.
|Required Education||Varies (non-degree training programs to undergraduate, graduate or professional degrees)|
|Required Skills||People, problem-solving and communication skills|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||9% for arbitrators, mediators and conciliators|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$58,020 for arbitrators, mediators and conciliators|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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There is no one road to becoming a legal mediator. Entry into the career can be through training programs, hands-on experience or attaining advanced degrees in a relevant subject matter.
Legal mediators usually undergo dozens of hours of training in mediation skills. Basic and advanced courses in mediation are offered by mediation organizations, independent programs and postsecondary schools. Alternatively, mediators can receive training in the field by volunteering at a local mediation center or by working with an experienced mediator.
Advanced education programs in mediation and conflict resolution, such as master's degree, doctoral degree and graduate certificate programs, can provide the skills necessary for a legal mediation career. Other relevant advanced education, such as a law degree or a master's degree in law or public policy, also might be helpful. While there is no national system of accrediting legal mediators, each state has its own requirements for licensing, registration and/or certification.
Legal mediators assist parties in alternative dispute resolution, or resolving conflicts outside of the court system. While the purpose of legal mediation is to facilitate a settlement agreement, the process is not binding, and the parties involved are ultimately responsible for a resolution.
Successful legal mediators must be effective communicators, both orally and in writing, and possess good people and problem-solving skills. In addition, it's critical for mediators to have the ability to synthesize large amounts of complicated information and to negotiate solutions.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that job prospects for legal mediators and other professionals in the alternative dispute resolution field should continue to grow at a slightly faster than average rate from 2014 through 2024 (www.bls.gov). Mediators with law degrees, especially those with specializations like corporate law and health, are expected to have the most job opportunities. The median salary among all arbitrators, mediators and conciliators was $58,020 as of May 2015, per the BLS.
To recap, a legal mediator works with clients to solve a legal issue outside of court. Excellent communication skills and a problem-solving proficiency are crucial. These professionals can obtain training through special programs or college coursework, and may even consider earning a degree.