How to Become a Mediator

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In general, to become a mediator, two activities are recommended: mediation specific training and gaining mediation experience.  New Jersey does not require licensing or certification to become a mediator in private practice, although there are minimum requirements to gain admission to various mediation rosters.

The mediation training should correspond to the area of mediation you wish to practice.  While mediation skills are common to all areas of practice (and are distinct skills from those of advocacy/lawyering and therapy), different areas of mediation will have different "expertise" which should be learned.  For instance, a divorce mediator needs to be educated in the specifics of NJ divorce law (while that information may not be helpful to a commercial or elder mediator).  Training opportunities are offered by NJAPM.

Mediation experience can be gained in a number of ways.  You may find another mediator be mentored by, take a mediation apprenticeship or volunteer with various courts and organizations.

To Become a Member of the NJ Superior Court Roster of Mediators

The qualifications and training required to become a court-approved mediator are stated in Rule 1:40-12 of the New Jersey court rules.  While not every mediator will work in a court-approved program, NJAPM has adopted the requirements of Rule 1:40-12 as a basis for granting status to an individual as an Accredited Professional Mediator (APM) .  Once the requirements have been met, the mediator is qualified to practice in any of the court-sponsored programs or to do private mediation. 
Qualifications and Training Requirements
(a) Mediator Qualifications.

(1) Generally. Unless otherwise specified by these rules, no special occupational status or educational degree is required for mediator service and mediation training. An applicant for listing on a roster of mediators maintained by either the Administrative Office of the Courts or the Assignment Judge shall, however, certify to good professional standing. An applicant whose professional license has been revoked shall not be placed on the roster, or if already on the roster shall be removed therefrom.

(2) Custody and Parenting Time Mediators. The Assignment Judge, upon recommendation of the Presiding Judge of the Family Part, may approve persons or agencies to provide mediation services in custody and parenting time disputes if the mediator meets the following minimum qualifications: (A) a graduate degree or certification of advanced training in a behavioral or social science; (B) training in mediation techniques and practice as prescribed by these rules; and (C) supervised clinical experience in mediation, preferably with families. In the discretion of the Assignment Judge relevant experience may be substituted for either a graduate degree or certification, or clinical experience, or both.

(3) Civil, General Equity, and Probate Action Roster Mediators. Mediator applicants to be on the roster for civil, general equity, and probate actions shall have: (A) at least a bachelor’s degree; (B) at least five years of professional experience in the field of their expertise in which they will mediate; (C) completed the required mediation training as defined in subparagraph (b)(5) within the last five years; and (D) except for retired or former New Jersey Supreme Court justices, Superior Court judges, and Administrative Law judges, evidence of completed mediation or co-mediation of a minimum of two civil, general equity or probate cases within the last year. Applicants who had the required training over five years prior to their application to the roster must complete the six-hour family or civil supplemental mediation course as defined in subparagraph (b)(8) of this rule.

(4) Special Civil Part Mediators/Settlors. In addition to mediators on the civil roster, those judicial law clerks, court staff, and volunteers who have completed a course of mediation training approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts may mediate/settle Small Claims actions. In the discretion of the Assignment Judge, such persons may also mediate/settle landlord-tenant disputes and other Special Civil Part actions, provided that they complete additional substantive and procedural training in landlord-tenant law of at least three and one-half hours for law clerks and attorneys and at least seven hours for all others, with such training to be approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts. (5) Municipal Court Volunteer Mediators. Individuals may serve as volunteer mediators in municipal court mediation programs. To serve as municipal court mediators and volunteer their time, effort and skill to mediate minor disputes in municipal court actions, such individuals (A) must be approved by the Assignment Judge or designee in the vicinage in which they intend to serve, (B) must meet the basic dispute resolution training required by R. 1:40-12(b)(1), and (C) must have satisfied any continuing training requirements under R. 1:40-12(b)(2).

(6) Family Part Economic Mediators. To be listed on the approved roster, mediators of economic issues in family disputes shall meet the applicable requirements set forth below for attorneys and non-attorneys and shall complete the required training set forth in paragraph (b) of this Rule: (i) Attorneys a. Juris Doctor (or equivalent law degree) b. Admission to the bar for at least seven years c. Licensed to practice law in the state of New Jersey d. Practice substantially devoted to matrimonial law (ii) Non-Attorneys a. Advanced degree in psychology, psychiatry, social work, business, finance, or accounting, or a CPA or other relevant advanced degree deemed appropriate by the credentials committee, b. At least seven years of experience in the field of expertise, and c. Licensed in New Jersey if required in the field of expertise (iii) Any retired Superior Court judge with experience in handling dissolution matters.

(b) Mediator Training Requirements.

(1) General Provisions. All persons serving as mediators shall have completed the basic dispute resolution training course as prescribed by these rules and approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts. Volunteer mediators in the Special Civil Part and Municipal Court mediators shall have completed 18 classroom hours of basic mediation skills complying with the requirements of subparagraph (b)(3) of this rule. Mediators on the civil, general equity, and probate roster of the Superior Court shall have completed 40 classroom hours of basic mediation skills complying with the requirements of subparagraph (b)(5) of this rule and shall be mentored in at least two cases in the Law Division – Civil Part of Chancery Division – General Equity or Probate Part of the Superior Court for a minimum of five hours by a civil roster mentor mediator who has been approved in accordance with the “Guidelines for the Civil Mediation Mentoring Program” promulgated by the Administrative Office of the Courts. Family Part mediators shall have completed a 40-hour training program complying with the requirements of subparagraph (b)(4) of this rule and, unless otherwise exempted in this rule, at least five hours being mentored by a family roster mentor mediator in at least two cases in the Family Part. In all cases it is the obligation of the mentor mediator to inform the litigants prior to mediation that a second mediator will be in attendance and why. If either party objects to the presence of the second mediator, the second mediator may not attend the mediation. In all cases, the mentor mediator conducts the mediation, while the second mediator observes. Mentored mediators are provided with the same protections as the primary mediator under the Uniform Mediation Act. Retired or former New Jersey Supreme Court justices and Superior Court judges, retired or former Administrative Law judges, child welfare mediators, and staff/law clerk mediators are exempted from the mentoring requirements except as required to do so for remedial reasons. Mediators already serving on the Civil mediator roster prior to September 1, 2015 are exempted from the updated training requirements. Family Roster mediators who wish to serve on the Civil Roster, must complete the six-hour supplemental Civil Mediation training and must comply with the Civil roster mentoring requirement of five hours and two cases in the Civil Part. Judicial law clerks shall have successfully completed 12 classroom hours of basic mediation skills complying with the requirements of subparagraph (b)(6) of this rule.

(2) Continuing Training. Commencing in the year following admission to one of the court's mediator rosters, all mediators shall annually attend four hours of continuing education and shall file with the Administrative Office of the Courts or the Assignment Judge, as appropriate, an annual certification of compliance. To meet the requirement, this continuing education shall include instruction in ethical issues associated with mediation practice, program guidelines and/or case management and should cover at least one of the following: (A) case management skills; and (B) mediation and negotiation concepts and skills.

(3) Mediation Course Content -- Basic Skills. The 18-hour classroom course in basic mediation skills shall, by lectures, demonstrations, exercises and role plays, teach the skills necessary for mediation practice, including but not limited to conflict management, communication and negotiation skills, the mediation process, and addressing problems encountered in mediation.

(4) Mediation Course Content -- Family Part Actions. The 40-hour classroom course for family action mediators shall include basic mediation skills as well as at least 22 hours of specialized family mediation training, which should cover family and child development, family law, dissolution procedures, family finances, and community resources. In special circumstances and at the request of the Assignment Judge, the Administrative Office of the Courts may temporarily approve for a one-year period an applicant who has not yet completed the specialized family mediation training, provided the applicant has at least three years of experience as a mediator or a combination of mediation experience and service in the Family Part, has co-mediated in a CDR program with an experienced family mediator, and certifies to the intention to complete the specialized training within one year following the temporary approval. Economic mediators in family disputes shall have completed 40 hours of training in family mediation in accordance with this rule. (5) Mediation Course Content - Civil, General Equity, and Probate Actions. The 40-hour classroom course for civil, general equity and probate action mediators shall include basic and advanced mediation skills as well as specialized civil mediation training as approved by the Administrative Director of the Courts.

(6) Training Requirements for Judicial Law Clerks. Judicial law clerks serving as mediators shall first have completed either a 12-hour training course prescribed by the Administrative Office of the Courts, an approved course conducted by another institution or agency, or other comparable training. Proof of completion of any training other than the prescribed 12-hour course shall be submitted to the Administrative Office of the Courts for a determination of suitability. The Administrative Office of the Courts shall work with other institutions and agencies to encourage their provision of judicial law clerk mediation training and shall either approve or evaluate that training.

(7) Co-mediation; mentoring; training evaluation. In order to reinforce mediator training, the vicinage CDR coordinator shall, insofar as practical and for a reasonable period following initial training, assign any new mediator who is either an employee or a volunteer to co-mediate with an experienced mediator and shall assign an experienced mediator to mentor a new mediator. Using evaluation forms prescribed by the Administrative Office of the Courts, the vicinage CDR coordinator shall also evaluate the training needs of each new mediator during the first year of the mediator's qualifications and shall periodically assess the training needs of all mediators.

(8) Mediation Course Content -- Supplemental Mediation Training for Civil and Family Mediators. Applicants to the roster who have been trained in a 40-hour out-ofstate mediation training or who took the 40-hour New Jersey mediation training more than five years prior to applying to the roster, and who otherwise qualify under this rule, must further attend a six-hour supplemental course approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts. There shall be two distinct supplemental courses, one for family mediators and one for civil mediators. The courses shall include, but are not limited to, training in facilitative methods, case management techniques, procedural requirements for an enforceable mediated settlement, NJ Rules and mediator ethics, Guidelines for Mediator Compensation (see Appendix XXVI to these Rules), the Uniform Mediation Act ( N.J.S.A. 2A:23C-1 to -13), and mediation case law.