Choosing the best dispute resolution services can mean the difference between several years of expensive, drawn-out litigation and an economical, quick resolution to conflict. Key to making the best choice is learning about the credentials and experience of the employees of the dispute resolution services that you are considering and making sure they are good match for your needs. Getting references is always a good idea, as is checking out the organization's reputation with consumer protection groups. It is also important to establish and hold to a budget and to ensure that the mediation service of your choice is affordable.
Also known as alternative dispute resolution, arbitration, or mediation, dispute resolution services provide individuals, businesses, and organizations with the opportunity to work things out with the assistance of a trained, neutral mediator. The mediator listens to both sides of the conflict and then encourages and facilitates communication, also offering ideas and possible alternatives that neither side has considered or proposed. The goal is to resolve the conflict such that neither party feels the need to go to court while having their needs and concerns met.
Inquire as to the mediation-specific training of the dispute resolution service's mediators. Mediators should have completed a mediation certification course and hold membership in a recognized professional mediator association. Some types of dispute resolution services, such as those that mediate divorce or child custody cases, may be required by law or by court rule to employ mediators who are certified or approved by either the state or the court system. Ask your attorney or the courthouse for a list of approved mediators before spending your money on a dispute resolution service.
A successful dispute resolution service employs trained mediators who have some understanding and background in and of their clients' needs. When shopping for dispute resolution services, it is not enough to rely on advertised claims about the experience of its employees or its areas of specialty. Instead, ask about about the training and certification of its mediators. This can be particularly important if you are negotiating a legal matter or an issue involving a business. In legal matters, it is a good idea to find out if the mediators are also attorneys or if the dispute resolution service has attorneys on staff that can help craft legal agreements. In situations involving organizations and businesses, it can be helpful if the mediators also have education or experience in the segment in which the organization or business operates.