Are mediators lawyers? We get asked this question often when we receive an enquiry, yes and no is this answer, which is also the answer to, does my mediator need to be a lawyer. Several of our mediators are lawyers and barristers, or in some way employed within the legal sector, whereas a number are not.
Most mediators do have a day job so to speak, primarily that will be within the legal sector (not always the case), that is certainly the case with the majority of our mediators who then run their mediation practices alongside their day job.
A number of our mediators used to be lawyers, practice within the law, but have now become full time commercial mediators and that is all they focus upon now. Equally a few of them are non practicing lawyers and barristers.
Equally several of our mediators and mediators in general, will slowly build their mediation practice up and once they have become established as a mediator they will then give up the day job whatever that may be and just mediate full time, into and alongside their retirement.
That is what I did, although I’m not ready to retire just yet.
Are Mediators Lawyers – Do They Need To Be?
Do mediators need to be lawyers, no, not unless you wish them to be, something which we have covered in previous articles briefly. It is useful however to have a basic understanding of the law and how it operates.
It is important to note, not all of our mediators work within the legal sector, for example some of our mediators are accountants, managers, directors, dentists, academics, to mention a few – so a wide range of professions.
Are Mediators Lawyers – Advantages v Disadvantages!
In short, it can be a distinct advantage or disadvantage to have a mediator who is a lawyer as has been debated for several years amongst the mediation community.
I once was appointed for a boundary dispute because I am a none lawyer mediator, the claimants lawyer said and I quote, ‘I choose you to mediate as I had the choice of 3 mediators, the first was a trainee lawyer, who I felt was very inexperienced, the second a lawyer with extensive experience, and I felt that there was the danger of him just quoting the law to me, the third was you, who was the none lawyer mediator, however you had extensive mediation experience, so I assumed you understood and knew the law, especially as you had a law degree and would not sit their quoting the law to me.’
Thankfully, that boundary dispute was successfully mediated; however, as I have said before, although at times an industry specific mediator can be advantageous, it can in my humble opinion be a disadvantage, I have and always firmly believed a good mediator can and should be able to mediate any type of dispute!
Equally a mediator should always refuse to mediate a matter if they feel they do not have the relevant experience to mediate that dispute, despite how good they are at mediating.