It’s our delight to introduce a guest blogger, Fran Brochstein of Fran Brochstein, LLC. Fran Brochstein has been license as an attorney in the State of Texas for over 20 years.
Fran Brochstein has extensive experience as a mediator. Our office has benefited greatly by that experience whenever she has been the mediator for one of those cases. For more information on Fran Brochstein you can check out her website at http://www.familylaw4u.com/.
Without further ado below is Fran Brochstein discusses what to look for when choosing a mediator.
How to pick a mediator
Anyone that takes a 40-hour intro course in Texas can call themselves a mediator.
After doing this over 10 years I can tell you that after I took the basic training I was dangerous. I was a lot like a kid that had just gotten their training wheels off their bike - unsteady and wobbly - unsure of what I was doing.
I had been an attorney for 15 years when I took the basic training to be a mediator and I had attended many mediations as an attorney - but shifting to the mediator role was very different.
Mediation requires vastly different skills than litigation. It takes a while to develop and grow as a neutral facilitator (aka “mediator”).
Every year with the State Bar of Texas I am able to join the group for people that take a lot of continuing education training. Why? Because I take classes in family law and mediation. I can honestly say that I learn something at class that I attend. I call it "adding to my tool kit".
So if I was looking for a mediator I would want one that is Credentialed by the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association. Texas does NOT have any other group that regulates mediators. TMCA has the only grievance procedure for mediators in Texas.
I also belong to the Association of Attorney Mediators. They offer malpractice coverage for their members. There is an application process that is required to join and a potential member must have letters of recommendation from people that they have mediated for in the past.
I also belong to the following mediation groups:
- Association for Conflict Resolution - Houston Chapter
- Texas Association of Mediators (TAM)
- Academy of Professional Family Mediators
- Association of Family & Conciliation Courts
- Texas Mediator Round table (for trainers of mediation)
- Houston Bar Association - ADR section
- State Bar of Texas - ADR section
You also need to be aware that anyone can call themselves a mediator because, at this time, Texas does not regulate the field of mediation. And, you do not need to be an attorney to be a mediator. In fact, some excellent mediators are not attorneys.
Please don't assume any attorney can be a mediator. In fact, a good litigator has a hard time shifting into the mediator role. I've caught myself in mediation having to take a break and remind myself that I am only the mediator and I cannot give legal advice or tell the person that their attorney is wrong even though I know the legal advice is incorrect. It's difficult to keep my mouth shut, but if I serve as a mediator then I must carefully walk this potential minefield.
In my introduction I like to remind the parties that today they are the “boss” and they are the ones making all the decisions. I also remind them that I have no “magic fairy dust” to make everyone be reasonable.
I’ve heard it said that if a settlement is reached at mediation and both parties hate the mediator then that is a good mediation. The mediator’s role is to be neutral and to help the parties reach a resolution they can both live with.
Other Articles you may be interested in:
What is Mediation?
What is Divorce and Family Law Mediation in Spring and Houston Texas?
- 3 Great Texas Divorce Mediation Ideas
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers
If you are contemplating filing for divorce, or have you been served with divorce papers, mediation will probably be required at some time during the suit. Choosing an appropriate mediator, properly framing the important issues, and negotiating with the opposing party are all important skills for the family lawyer you choose to handle your case.
Our divorce lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.