How to Become a Mediator for American Arbitration Association

By Julie R. Linkins

The American Arbitration Association (AAA) provides dispute resolution services for a wide range of business and consumer conflicts. Mediators must possess expertise in business or law as well as experience in dispute resolution.

Minimum Qualifications

Assess your work experience. To be considered for the mediation panel, you must possess at least 10 years of experience in business, industry, or a profession at the senior level. AAA seeks mediators who understand clients' businesses based on high-level experience.

Acquire the appropriate education and licenses. You must possess the educational degree(s) or professional license(s) relevant to your field of expertise. AAA often handles cases involving "employment, intellectual property, consumer, technology, health care, financial services, construction, and international trade conflicts" so degrees or licensure in these areas likely would be considered favorably.

Obtain mediation training. You must have completed at least 24 hours of mediation training. Instruction should include certain topics, such as conflict theory, identifying issues, generating options, and handling impasse.

Help people resolve their disputes. You must have mediation experience--either as a mediator in at least 5 cases over the past 3 years in your primary area of expertise or as an informal mediator at least 4 times over the past 2 years. "Informal mediation" means privately resolving disputes that arise in the normal course of business, such as between employees or among business partners. Both types of experience must be documented.

Pursue professional development. You must maintain membership in at least one trade, professional, or business association to be considered for the AAA mediation panel.

About the Author

Julie Linkins has written about law enforcement for 18 years, publishing articles in the "FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin," "The Investigator," the "American Criminal Law Review." She holds an Master of Arts in professional writing and editing from George Mason University and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown. Today she works as a lawyer and mediator.

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