In the same way we must pay attention to changes in the law made by the legislature and by the judiciary, for me it is also imperative to keep learning, to refresh my base of knowledge, and to be open to new approaches to help clients resolve their disputes.
On March 3rd of this year, I received a Certificate of Completion for Mediator Training through the Maryland State Bar Association. Mediators who accept court appointments must update their training annually. I find that such training also enhances my work as a mediator for all clients, but most especially in the area of divorce and custody.
During mediation, parties sit down with an impartial mediator. A trained mediator facilitates discussions between the parties with the goal of having them reach a mutually acceptable agreement. This form of dispute resolution enables parties to avoid having solutions imposed on them by the court system through the litigation process. While mediation is not easy, it may provide a quicker result and a less expensive path to resolution than litigation through the courts.
At the start of the training, participants were challenged with a series of hypothetical problems to test our understanding of the Maryland Standard of Conduct for Mediators. Some of the subtle differences between legal information – which may be appropriate for the mediator to discuss – and legal advice- which is never appropriate for the mediator to disclose – were addressed.
At the end of the training, I felt that my time was well spent. Not only did training provide time for reflection, but it affirmed my philosophy that mediation and legal advocacy work best for most people when seen as complementary services. It is sensible to have legal advice in order to understand what can be resolved through the court process, but it is even better if a dispute can be approached creatively through mediation.
More information on my philosophy about mediation can be obtained by clicking here, by contacting my office at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 410-531-1619 to request my brochure on Alternative Dispute Resolution.