Mediation: An Alternative Career for the Paralegal

 Many people think that when they file a lawsuit they will have their day in court. However, most lawsuits are settled prior to trial. One of the methods used to get many lawsuits settled is Alternative Dispute Resolution. One of ADR's most successful tools is mediation. Mediation is when a neutral third party will work with both parties in a suit to facilitate an agreement. Litigation is costly and many people are foregoing trial in favor of mediation, and as more people have chosen this route, the demand for mediators is increasing.

There are many alternative careers for paralegals available. However, paralegals are well suited to work as mediators in Alternative Dispute Resolution. It's an advantage to already know the inner workings of the court system and have familiarity with legal disputes and lawsuits when choosing mediation as an alternative career. Paralegals are often quite skilled at understanding the litigant's needs and have experience listening to witnesses. These skills are easily transferable to the field of mediation. Mediation is a proven way to successfully reach an agreeable solution that provides quite a bit of job satisfaction as well. According to the Dept. of Labor employment statistics, the national median salary for mediators is approximately $50,000 per year and is expected to rise as demand increases.

Currently, there are no standards nationally or required training needed in order to be a mediator. Each state's rules will vary, so check with potential employers in your area to make sure you will be qualified to practice. National certification is well on its way to becoming a reality, so it's important now as a paralegal to choose a proper training program in order to have a successful career in the field. Training programs for mediation do not take up a large amount of time and are relatively affordable.
When choosing a training program, look for one that has actual mediators as instructors. This will give you a fast track to the working world of mediators, and tends to make classes more up to date with technology, etc. Look for mediation training programs that offer a practicum, which is a simple way to get your feet wet in actual mediations. It's possible to specialize in certain types of mediation, for example, family law disputes will differ from business contract disputes, so choose a program that has these options. Paralegals often specialize in a particular type of law already, so choosing a mediation career in a field you are familiar with is an easy decision to make. Lastly, choose a program that is accredited. As any major university would be accredited, it's important to know your attending a legitimate mediation program that has been approved.

Paralegals can choose to work as a mediator part time, or apply their paralegal skills to a mediation career full time. The skills, training an experience paralegals have make mediation an excellent alternative career choice.


Anonymous said...

Are paralegals in the State of Florida allowed to be mediators?

Ebony Kleinman said...

It sounds like from your post that paralegals are pretty well suited to becoming mediators. They know the ins and outs of the court and legal systems and can help their clients understand how it works. Personally, I would rather settle things out of court with a mediator instead of having to stand in front of a judge to declare my case.

Anonymous said...

In Florida, to be a certified Supreme Court Mediator as a paralegal, you have to have the educational background, such as a Master's degree. You can check the court rules for mediation certification.

I personally believe non-attorney mediators are possibly better suited for mediation due to their being more neutral and unbiased. It's a rough field for non-attorneys I can see, but I am going for it.

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