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For years, courts across the country have been overburdened with cases that have been pending for months, or even years. It’s not limited to just one area, either, says A. Harrison Barnes, attorney and founder of the legal job site LawCrossing.com. It’s in criminal and civil courts, he says. Not only that, but rising legal costs for clients have taken a toll on the entire judicial system. People in need of legal representation for any number of matters simply don’t have access to the funds to secure that representation.  One solution – and a successful one, at that – is mediation.

Mediators have been consistently growing in numbers over the past several years. It’s eased the already overwhelmed court dockets and it’s provided a solution for cash strapped consumers. But what does a mediator do and what’s it take to become one? Of course, we asked our resident career coach, A. Harrison Barnes, and here’s what he had to say:

First things first, says Barnes. There are a couple other titles that are synonymous with a mediator. Arbitrator is one and more recently, the title of ADR, which stands for alternative dispute resolution, is being used. Regardless of the title, the goal and role of a mediator is straightforward: to facilitate a “win win” solution for disputing parties. This includes providing guidance, working with both parties in an effort of leaving the animosity behind long enough to discern the right solution for all and putting the compromises to paper so that they can properly documented and recorded. The goal, of course, is to reach a satisfactory conclusion so that both parties can move forward with their lives.

Interestingly, there are few, if any, formal licensing requirements in any state. One doesn’t need a law degree – or any degree, for that matter. Training is sure to get a candidate moved to the top of the list and experience counts, too. The LawCrossing.com says there are other skills a successful mediator possesses, including the ability to communicate, remain calm in stressful situations and the ability to remain ethical, regardless the circumstances. Even if your jurisdiction doesn’t require a specific educational background, there are organizations that are worth looking into that will allow members to become certified. Barnes encourages this and says it can only help as you move through your career.

According to BLS, the earnings are impressive. As with all careers, the salary expectations will vary based on experience, education and the region of the country you live in. Hourly rates might include a starting wage of near $14 and salaries will average around $48,000 annually. It gets better – the job outlook is impressive as more jurisdictions expand their legal offerings to include mediation as a viable option.

Ready to begin a new career? Be sure to surf over to LawCrossing.com to see the latest in mediation jobs around the country. Get help with your resume and get a feel for the legal environment. Always open and always with the most Legal Job Opening in the industry – what could be better?

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