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<xTITLE>The Qualities Mediators Think Attorneys are Seeking</xTITLE>

The Qualities Mediators Think Attorneys are Seeking

by Victoria Pynchon
May 2007

From Settle It Now Negotiation Blog

Victoria Pynchon

Dear Readers,

I haven't received nearly enough attorney and/or disputant responses to the Mediation Negotiation Survey, but I can share with you some preliminary thoughts, primarily of mediators, about the qualities they think you're looking for.

Patience, by the way, is in the lead as the most-cited essential mediator quality.  

Are they right?  Take the Negotiation and Mediation Justice Survey to let them know now!

In Answer to What Qualities a Good Mediator Should Have, individual responses include:

  1. Neither be naive nor cynical. 
  2. Will re-focus us on what is important 
  3. Skills to enhance communication between and with the parties and their counsels. 
  4. intelligence
  5. knowledge of the law and the court system
  6. experience in the area in dispute and experience as a mediator in that area 
  7. Will not intimidate the parties
  8. Will NOT NOT NOT NOT talk to one party before the other party arrives if the mediation is to be conducted with both parties present. 
  9. The understanding that the "truth" or whether someone is lying is unknowable in some or many instances. 
  10. ability to listen 
  11. patience 
  12. patience
  13. integrity
  14. teachable
  15. open-minded 
  16. patience
  17. ability to manage the process 
  18. Resilience.
  19. Accessibility. 
  20. Will listen for what isn't said and will be a good coach. 
  21. trustworthy 
  22. Patience.
  23. Intelligence.
  24. A calm manner which encourages an appropriate hearing atmosphere. 
  25. Will make sure both parties understand the cost (time, money and other) of not settling. 
  26. sense of humor
  27. perspective
  28. sense of the bigger picture in the workplace/business in /about which the dispute occurred
  29. ability to tease out any unspoken back- story between the parties and any goals additional to the outcome of the mediation for the parties
  30. ability not to impart a sense that he/she is rushing for a plane
  31. communicate that he/she is totally engaged even after the mediation ends, if called for. 
  32. Flexibility. 
  33. empathy
  34. great facilitator
  35. fair, fair and fair
  36. sense of appropriate humor
  37. act professional not personal
  38. move along the process and keep control of the process
  39. ability to deal with difficult personalities 
  40. Is able to facilitate the discussion and feed back what he/she is hearing from both parties


Attorney-mediator Victoria Pynchon is a panelist with ADR Services, Inc. Ms. Pynchon was awarded her LL.M Degree in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute in May of 2006, after 25 years of complex commercial litigation practice, with sub-specialties in intellectual property, securities fraud, antitrust, insurance coverage, consumer class actions and all types of business torts and contract disputes.  During her two years of full-time neutral practice, she has co-mediated both mandatory and voluntary settlement conferences with Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Alexander Williams, III and Victoria Chaney.  As a result of her work with Judge Chaney in the Complex Court at Central Civil West, Ms. Pynchon has gained significant experience mediating construction defect litigation.  Ms. Pynchon received her J.D., Order of the Coif, from the U.C. Davis School of Law. 

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