Comments: Pay Mediators From the Get-go

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James W. Preston, Washington DC     08/02/06
Being a non-attorney but very active certified mediator, I view this issue from the perspective of the court, as well as, the professional mediator who would like to be fairly compensated for their time. Typically, most municipal court systems don't have large funding streams to adequately fund court programs like mediation services. Some court mediators are volunteers, some receive stipends, and some are full time paid cadre. For so long many mediators have used the court system to gain practice experience until they can move out on their own and develop a practice that will pay them a living wage. The Court knows that their are many people who will volunteer their services for the experience and the love of the profession. What's the solution? Lobby the Courts, the ABA, and the legislative bodies across the country to make this matter a priority when funding their courts and their programs. To name a few, positive outcomes from mediation have helped save on court costs, backlogs, and a badly needed service to the general public. ALL mediators, regardless of stripe, should be fairly compensated for their time and expertise, but within acceptable and reasonable limits. James W. Preston, Sr. Director of Litigation & Mediation Services Justice & Mediation Service Center Washington, D.C.

Charles  Parselle, Los Angeless CA     07/20/06
Congratulations on a brilliant article. We have the same problem in Los Angeles. Mediators just go on year after year actually paying for other people's mediations, which goes by the name pro bono as if we were truly helping the needy and indigent, whereas in fact everyone else in the room is making out very nicely. Los Angeles mediators 'donate' at least $30 million a year in unpaid fees. This situation passed its 'sell by' date at least ten years ago, and the corpse is stinking. If mediation is to gain professional respectability, mediators need to stop working for free for people who are merely exploiting them. If the lawyers are working pro bono, then but only then, should the mediator work for free.

Kristina , Verona NJ     07/14/06
Well done Anju
Amen! The world needs a supply of experienced and trained mediators. The value of the work that we do has been well-documented. Most people cannot afford to do this work entirely pro bono. Keep up the good work on educating the public. I also think we should continue to think about Bernie Mayer's work in Beyond Neutrality and how we as conflict managers can respond to what the public wants and needs. I founded the Mediation Marketing Institute to help mediators and conflict managers make a substantial living doing the work we do because the world needs us! my blog: Free newsletter at Resource to attract clients at NEVER GIVE UP! Kristina Haymes, MA, JD

Dina , Boston MA   07/13/06
Making a Good Living Mediating
Anju, I couldn't agree more. I think mediators deserve to earn a good living because we are a valuable professionals. Recently, I wrote a call-to-action for mediators to stop volunteering. You can read more about it at my blog, Mediation Mensch ( Determined to help others do well financially while doing good, I've launched a mediator business coaching site, Thanks for calling our collective attention to this important matter. Dina Beach Lynch, JD Ombuds Mediator's Business Mensch

Lester , Baltimore MD   07/13/06
I am a Mediator in the State of Maryland, and I agree with you totally. There are too many programs around that want mediators to volunteer to do this work for free, and not enough people who feel that the valuable services provided by mediators is worth paying the mediators market value for their time. As an attorney who has experience in litigating cases, my opinion is that the services provided by mediators is worth as much as the value of services provided by attorneys and litigators, given the true impact that mediators have on resolving conflict. God bless you in your future endeavors at resolving conflict.