There are many good reasons to seek out stand-by mediation assistance, especially if you frequently deal with complex commercial disputes that might range from intellectual property to professional malpractice or qui tam actions. Effective stand-by mediation can go a long way towards preventing unnecessary litigation — which in turn will save you time, money, and a lot of stress.
However, the success of your mediation services will largely be contingent on the effectiveness of your mediator. When you’re looking to hire someone on stand-by to settle disputes effectively and efficiently, look for some of these qualities:
- Trust. You want to establish a relationship of trust with your mediator from the start. You need someone you know you can confide in with sensitive material who will be able to deal with complex issues.
- Confidence. A mediator must be able to stand their ground, even while listening to persuasive arguments from both sides of a dispute. They should be impartial, and confident in that impartiality.
- Experience. Many effective mediators are actually retired court judges. Find someone who has a wealth of experience in handling issues that pertain specifically to your business, whether that’s fiduciary responsibility or maritime law.
- Creativity. An effective mediator will be able to see and suggest alternative paths of resolution that may not be immediately obvious to the involved parties. Their job, after all, is to come up with solutions to make everyone satisfied, which can often require some out-of-the-box thinking.
- Patience. This seems like an obvious attribute for stand-by mediation, but it can also be a difficult quality to assess from an initial consultation alone. You might ask about prior cases that tested the potential mediator’s patience and how they coped.
- Good References. Just as with any other kind of hire, your mediator should come with impeccable references that attest to their qualities of character as well as their abilities as a negotiator.
Hiring a stand-by mediator may seem presumptuous, but in the end, it could be one of the most practical decisions your company ever makes. The more you can do to handle disputes internally through effective mediation, the happier everyone involved is likely to be.