Rob Hassold has mediated more than 1400 cases. In 1990 he undertook mediation training with the American Arbitration Association. Before starting his full-time mediation practice in 2000, he practiced law, focusing on contracts and civil litigation. A member of the AAA mediation panel, Mr. Hassold resides in South Carolina. He can be reached at email@example.com.
When I was recently asked to speak to a group of law school students on what it takes to establish a mediation practice, I focused on those things that lawyers should keep in mind during the struggle to begin a new profession. Since giving that talk, I have had occasion to think about the questions lawyers should ask themselves before giving up their day job to become a mediator. I present them to you here while encouraging you to pursue a mediation practice if mediation is truly in your heart and you think you have an aptitude for it.
Do You Have Innate Ability?
Successful mediators have a natural ability to mediate disputes. Rarely, if ever, does one enter this field without this ability. Many people say it cannot be learned. What does this innate ability consist of ? It’s hard to explain. Here’s my stab at it. People with this ability have the kind of personality that inspires confidence in the process and an ability to persuade others that resolving their dispute beats the alternative of taking the dispute to court or arbitration.
Does being a mediator require having a great personality? It doesn’t hurt. There are some very effective and successful mediators who you might not consider to be full of charm and personality in social settings, but like any performer, they can turn it on in the mediation.