Comments: Stop Living the Lie! You Can Earn a Living as a Professional Mediator, Even Where the Courts Offer Mediation for Free

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Kristina , Verona NJ   11/10/06
Mediation Marketing Indeed
I have to second the BRAVO! If one is committed, they can indeed learn how to attract all the mediation/conflict management clients they will need and learn how to build their dream practice. Having interviewed many highly successful mediators and successfully attracted clients to my own practice, I can say that with the right mix of ingredients, it is possible and not as difficult as many would make it out to be. Indeed, wake up to the dream... don't believe the lie. The key as noted by the author here, is to learn what to do, how to do it and why you really want (or must) do it for yourself. I can help. Check out my resources at www.mediationmarketingtips.com and get my monthly newsletter and free report "10 Biggest Mediation/ADR Business Mistakes." For more info go to www.mediationmarketingsecrets.com

Rachel Green, Brooklyn NY  Rachel@mediate2resolution.com     10/24/06
Professionalism in Mediation
Bravo! Inspiring article, in tune with my experiences as a full-time mediator. Here in NY, the courts refer no one to mediation. Once per year, the professional mediation organizations organize a day where mediators volunteer our services to the matrimonial court. Last week, I sat down with parties and attorneys for 2 cases which were each scheduled for trial within 2 weeks. The parties had NEVER sat down together to speak. The attorneys cannot listen without judging and attacking (so the parties never feel heard). The attorneys also cannot put reasonable offers on the table, for fear that they are not being aggressive representatives, and will skew the settlement against their client. In a couple of hours each, I was able to help these folks find the stepping stones to settlement. The judge was thrilled - and yet it is a big leap for them to acknowledge the value of my services. My private clients have found this value themselves. To raise the reputation of mediation, we must raise the level of our responsible mediation practice - along with good marketing and entreprenurial skills.

Jim Stovall, Oklahoma City OK  j_stovall@site.net     10/24/06
I appreciate the coments made in the article. Many of the same issues have been a part of the dialogue about mediation here in Oklahoma for a long time. Too often, mediation is presented as a form of "cheap justice" to be used only when the matter is too insignificant or when you can't afford an attorney. Many well qualified mediators here in Oklahoma sometimes compete with the state funded free, volunteer mediation program. When attorneys and clients are disappointed with the results of the free, volunteer mediation sservice, it has a huge impact on their view of mediation in general and their willingness to consider it the next time. In spite of steady progress over the last two decades, many attorneys, judges and the general public are woefully uninformed about mediation and its potential.

Dina Beach Lynch, Boston MA   10/24/06
Mediators Must Market
Phillip, thank you for affirming a position I've shared here and other places: Mediators doom themselves to low wages and satisfaction levels by refusing to be entrepreneurial. The problem, as I see it, is two-fold. Mediators label themselves in a limiting way and prefer to think of their work as a practice (read: calling) instead of what it is- a business. A divorcing mother wants peace of mind and a sense of control over outcomes and possibly someone to help her identify and manage highly charged emotions. Someone with a mediation skill-set could help as either a mediator or a conflict coach. Why doesn't that happen? As a profession we've lost perspective. We can't see the forest for the trees. We forgot that our skills are more important than the label we assign to them. We can change the label and 'unbind' our mediator skills to serve others who want better communication and meaningufl relationships; and thereby, grow our businesses and the profession. Most mediators do not articulate their value proposition in a way that matches the needs or interests of consumers, the users of mediation. Consumers want solutions, not information about credentials or process (although both of those are important elements to a successful practice). Mediators who learn about marketing will create profitable and sustainable businesses, although they risk being scorned by their peers. Personally, I want my clients to be empowered to make change and be involved in their own lives. To help someone else achieve deeper understanding and quality of life, to me, seems worth being called 'entrepreneurial'. Often when faced with impasse I ask clients, 'would you rather be right or be understood?' Today, I ask mediators, would you rather be right or be richly rewarded in heart, mind and wallet? Dina Beach Lynch
Mediator, Ombuds, Business Mensch
ADRPracticebuilder.com

Joshua King, SLC Ut  jfking@kingmediation.com     10/13/06
Great Points!
In this article Mr. Mulford very nicely articulates the frustrations and problems facing many professional mediators throughout the country. I appreciate the way he summarized this huge problem and then provided an ambitious and upbeat solution to it. Great article and right on the point. Thank you.