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Comparing the Performance of Attorney vs. Non-Attorney Mediators

Comparing the Performance of Attorney vs. Non-Attorney Mediators

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Susan Raines, Casey Davis, Joshua Johnson, Alvin Albert

Keywords: Mediation, Attorney, Settlement Rates, Mediation Administration,

Abstract: Mediators come from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds: law, social work, psychological counseling, education, finance, and more. Regardless of these diverse backgrounds, some mediation program administrators and some attorneys charged with selecting mediators for their clients’ cases prefer attorney
mediators, while others seek to include a variety of more diverse  professional qualifications in their rosters. Within the field of mediation, there is a debate as to the performance of attorney versus non-attorney mediators, yet a complete dearth of research to support either conclusion or guide mediation program
administrators. This study compares attorney and non-attorney mediators’ settlement rates by case type, including landlord-tenant, small claims, family law, and superior court (large claims) disputes. Additionally, this study examines mediation exit surveys of parties and their advocates, looking for differences between attorney and non-attorney mediators in participant satisfaction rates. Lastly, this study examines ethics complaints against mediators to see if attorney or non-attorney mediators are more likely to receive ethics complaints. We conclude that, where differences exist, they are small and generally favor non-attorney mediators as having slightly higher settlement and satisfaction rates. Due to a lack of systemically collected data, it is not possible to reach
conclusions about whether attorney or non-attorney mediators have higher rates of ethics complaints. This leads to the question for future research: Why are court-connected mediation rosters often closed to non-attorney mediators if their  performance is as high or higher than attorney mediators, on average?

Author Biographies: 

Susan S Raines, Associate Director, Professor
School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding & Development
Kennesaw State University, Mail Drop 1603
1000 Chastain Road NW
Kennesaw, GA 30101

Casey Davis, MSCM, Mediator
2447 Glenwood Ave
Atlanta GA 30137

Joshua Johnson, PhD., Lecturer of Political Science
Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw Georgia, USA

Alvin Albert, J.D., MBA, Instructor of Conflict Management
Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw Georgia, USA
Publication Date:  15 April 2023

Citation: Raines, S,  Davis, C, Johnson, J and Albert, A (2023) Comparing the Performance of Attorney vs. Non-Attorney Mediators Journal of Mediation Theory and Practice, 7-1, 81-110.  

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