Comments: L.A.’S Policy Of Free Mediation Benefits Everybody But Mediator

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Barbara , Edmonton, Canada  bishopmediator@yahoo.com     07/30/07
As a professional mediator/conflict manager, I agree that mediation fits with the courts' mandate of "access to justice for all" and that setting a "high bar" for mediation skills and expertise provides a boost to the public's confidence level in the system. I agree that roster mediators (who have met set criteria) should be available for the public to choose from as well as to negotiate fees. I will not apologize to anyone for being paid for my services, however I am not sure if some of the ADR court programs tend to "water down" the mediation process producing weaker agreements, missed opportunitites for deeper understandings, as well as minimizing benefits of a cross disciplinary role. The alinging of mediators and other professionals could provide clearer choices for clients, with fees shared by professionals without one profession "wearing many hats".

Robert Grey, Melville NY   08/24/06
As an attorney, mediator and arbitrator it is my humble opinion that serving as a mediator is the most demanding of the three yet often pays the least, or not at all. Providing some pro bono services, whether you are an attorney, mediator or arbitrator is a good thing. But most attorneys and arbitrators expect to be paid a reasonable fee for most of their work; there is no reason why the public, bench or bar should expect otherwise from mediators. Praising mediation's excellent results and expanding mediation programs while expecting mediators to serve without reasonable compensation indicates a lack of respect for mediation and those who practice it.

Robert Tessier, Calabasas ca  robert@cedrs.com     08/20/06
Briallant, Charles. I think Vikki in her article is the natural extension of your thoughts. I want to see the court influenced to realize that mediation is a valued profession and paying mediators a fair fee is the right thing to do.

Victoria Pynchon, Los Angeles CA  vpynchon@settlenow.com     08/11/06
L.A. Superior Court Pro Bono Panel
Charles -- Eloquent as always. For another way to skin the pro bono cat, see today's post at http://mediatenow.blogspot.com.

Dina , Boston MA  Dina@adrpracticebuilder.com     07/27/06
Pay Threatens the Status Quo
Charles, your comments are directly on point and identify one of the serious factors in this problem. There are numerous stakeholders such as the courts and organized bar that would be seriously impacted if mediators were fairly compensated. That is why there is such resistance to changing the status quo. I also wrote about how volunteering is dooming our profession in my blog, Mediation Mensch. As more ADR professionals speak out against the unfair financial burden mediators carry I hope it will lead to a national discussion and strategic action to bring about change. If we believe we are an invaluable resource, why do we continue to accept being treated otherwise? Dina Beach Lynch, Ombuds http://www.adrpracticebuilder.com

Anju Jessani, Hoboken NJ  ajessani@dwdmediation.org     07/24/06
Free Mediation
Charles, congratulations on your fine article. Your comments for California mirror my comments for New Jersey (see my article "Pay mediators from the get go" - also on mediate.com). We mediators appear to have a coast-to-coast problem. At least we get paid after the first three free hours in New Jersey. I would be interested in hearing which states have implemented fees for court referred mediation, and how those programs work.