To be, or not to be? That is the Question.

Mediation training: should I?
Without wishing to sound pressing on this topic, the future for our profession will be in the hands of those trained in alternative methods of resolving disputes. Both the current government and the Labour opposition are committed to promoting Alternate Dispute Resolution. Civil, commercial and family courts are automatically referring cases to ADR (see r.1(4)2e of the CP and FP Rules) and you miss this opportunity to train, gaining a recognised qualification, at your peril. Unless you are within 5 years of either an appointment or retirement, make the commitment and get trained. It will increase your options, your earning capacity, your skill sets and improve your working practices in whatever field you practice.
Criminal practitioners should not ignore this opportunity. In 1996 my practice was 90% crime. Had I remained with simply that particular skill set, I would be in your position today. Do bear in mind that there are many other fields for those with criminal practice experience: advising and assisting in relation to professional standards issues, civil regulatory matters (licensing, firearms, health and safety etc). To practice in these fields (all of which I have done) you will need ADR experience.
My fee structure for a commercial, employment, family finance and civil dispute mediation is between £500 and £1000 per party per day; and for family facilitation (depending on the case) in the region of £750 per day. My first professional standards mediation paid outright for my training!
But mediation training is not simply about earning a living. It will affect the way you handle a plethora of situations – both professional and personal. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

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