ABA DR Task Force Tool Kit for Improving the Quality of Mediation

This tool kit is based on the work of the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution Task Force on Improving the Quality of Mediation. The Task Force developed the recommendations below and the documents attached over the course of more than 30 facilitated group discussions with mediation users and mediators. The Task Force conducted these discussions in nine cities in the US and Canada. A summary of comments shared during focus group discussions are available in appendix D.


The purpose of this tool kit is to allow local and state mediation organizations and bar association to conduct their own local discussions, tailoring the discussion protocols and survey questionnaires attached to their local needs. This tool kit is not a guide to doing social science research in the academic sense. The recommendations below are merely guidelines and suggestions from the Task Force’s experience conducting discussions on expectations, issues, concerns, and observations regarding local mediation practices. The Task Force encourages local and state groups to modify the process to suit their own local needs. If groups wish to conduct more rigorous social science research on mediation, we recommend that you partner with experts in your state’s institutions of higher education.


Section II lays out the steps for convening a discussion on mediation quality.

Section III discusses how to convene an organizing committee and then how to identify and invite representative stakeholders to attend the discussions.

Section IV covers how to use the information gathered during the discussions.

Section V lists a number of documents that will assist organizing committees.

The complete versions of these documents can be obtained from the Task Force’s web site: http://www.abanet.org/dch/committee.cfm?com=DR020600 .

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