Training is the cornerstone of quality ADR practice. Whether you’re mediating cases referred by the court or serving as a private arbitrator, proper training is essential. This includes the training necessary to serve as a neutral as well as the ongoing education required to maintain a strong practice.
Training is often a neutral’s first exposure to the key skills and concepts that are important for a neutral to master. Practicing neutrals also benefit greatly from continued training throughout their career. There are many training options available, and each one can qualify you for something different. The Office of ADR issued guidelines pursuant to Part 146 of the Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge on how to qualify to serve as a neutral with the court.
Mediation Training and Education
The universe of mediation training and education can be divided into three different kinds:
An interactive training that teaches participants key concepts and skills. Include opportunities to practice in role plays. Advanced mediation trainings provide the substantive knowledge about a specific case type.
Focused instruction centered around practice in role play or with actual cases, with a small mentor-to-apprentice ratio. Intended to provide practice experience to newly trained mediators.
Instruction on specific elements of mediation practice designed to enhance and complement current practice. Intended for practicing mediators.
For court mediators, guidelines for these three kinds of training are outlined in Part 146, which sets forth training standards for all court neutrals. The Office of ADR approves trainings, apprenticeships and other education opportunities in accordance with these standards.
Some institutions, like a CDRC, offer all three kinds of mediation training and education. In most cases, however, mediators obtain the training they need from different places.
When considering a training, it is useful to find out if it meets the requirements of the program you mediate for (or would like to mediate for). For Multi-Day Mediation Trainings and Apprenticeships, the provider should be able to tell you what their course will qualify you for. You may also inquire with the mediation program. Many courses can qualify as Continuing Education. Ask your local court ADR program to find out if a particular program fulfills Part 146 CE requirements.