The IMI search engine is a useful place to start your search for a mediator – whether the parties decide to use a provider body or not. IMI has no financial stake in the decision. Neither the mediator nor any provider body pay a case fee to IMI. Only mediators who have established their competency in the opinion of prior users and peers are able to be IMI Certified. The parties’ focus in selecting an IMI Certified Mediator is therefore likely to be less related to competency (which can be more easily assumed) and more directed to the suitability of the mediator for the specific issues facing the parties and their procedural preferences.
On the suitability level, you may narrow your search, as appropriate, by practice area, location, language skills and mediation style. Save, print and read the full Profiles of your selection. Modify the selection criteria to capture details on other mediators.
Read the Feedback Digest embedded in each IMI Certified Mediator’s Profile. It is an independently prepared summary of feedback provided by prior users on each mediator’s performance. Consider speaking to some of those listed as referees.
Once you have made a shortlist, consider involving the other party in the selection process. Choice of mediator/provider should be a joint choice. Invite them to go through the same process in case they find other suitable mediators that should be considered. Refer them to this Decision Tree and express interest in their choices.
The parties should feel free to contact individual mediators remaining in their selection. That direct contact should help you come to a final selection.
Where more than two parties are involved in the dispute, consider asking the mediators who have been short-listed whether they have experience in mediating with multiple parties, and whether a provider body was involved in those cases. The administrative and case management issues can be more challenging in multi-party mediations.
Although mediators work hard, control over the negotiation remains firmly with the parties and the outcome is theirs, not the mediator’s. In any mediation, once competency has been established, choosing the most suitable mediator is vital.