How Can I Find a Mediator for my Dispute?
Mediation can help you resolve conflicts and can be custom designed to serve all participants' needs. Mediation may also help you and the other person(s) understand each other's points of view.
There are several ways to find a mediator:
Let your fingers do the walking. Check your local telephone directory's yellow pages under Mediator and contact any mediators listed in order to determine fees and other information. (See below for helpful tips.)
Check out your community. Another source of mediation is through community mediation centers. There are seventeen community mediation centers in Maryland which mediate certain kinds of disputes at no or low cost. The kinds of disputes which the centers mediate include neighbor-to-neighbor conflicts and other issues; attached is a list of community mediation centers in Maryland. These centers can also be accessed by using the Consumers' Guide compiled by MACRO.
Connect with the court. Most of the local circuit courts in Maryland have approved mediator lists for cases which the Court may choose to refer to mediation. You may go to the Clerk's Office of the nearest Circuit Court and ask to review the list and the application materials of the approved mediators for that Court. From the application forms, you can ascertain the training, background and level of experience of each of those mediators. The Court can either assign your case a mediator or you can choose one, so long as that person is agreed to by both parties.
Search the state. Another source is a statewide Directory of Maryland Dispute Resolution Professionals compiled and printed by the Program on Dispute Resolution at the University of Maryland School of Law. The Directory, while not warranting the quality of the mediators listed, includes a short self-description of each mediator's areas of experience and interest. The Directory also includes names of arbitrators, trainers and other conflict resolution specialists. The Directory was last updated in 1999, but a new on-line version is expected to be unveiled soon. You may obtain the directory from the University of Maryland School of Law Dispute Resolution Program at 410-706-3836 or call MACRO.
There are some mediators who may not be listed in any of the sources above, and who still may be appropriate for your conflict. If you have an attorney, you might ask the attorney's office for referrals to mediators they have used in the past.
It is important to note that mediators often specialize in particular kinds of disputes. There are some mediators, for example, who primarily mediate divorce cases or child custody disputes. Others, particularly those at community mediation centers, have extensive experience in mediating neighbor to neighbor issues. There are mediators who focus on business issues, such as contract disputes and others who have a particular interest in environmental mediation, for example.
Whichever mediator or mediation program you use, you may wish to interview them first, by telephone, and ask questions about their background, training and experience as a mediator. You might ask if the mediator or mediation program has handled similar disputes, and if so, what were the results? Similarly, you may ask how the mediator would handle your dispute and how mediation might help. Finally, you may also wish to ask for references - past clients who have used their services. You may also want to ask a mediator if they have taken any specialized training that fits your area of concern, how may cases they have mediated, and how many hours of mediation they have conducted.
Mediation is being utilized more and more as a means of resolving disputes. One of our goals is to make sure people in Maryland have quality mediation experiences. We hope that by asking some of the questions listed above, you will be able to find a mediator that suits your needs.
Good luck to you in using mediation to resolve your dispute. If you need further assistance, call us at (410) 260-3543.