Although both lawyers and mediators involve themselves in conflict resolution, they are distinct professionals altogether. Lawyers know how to interpret laws and clauses, while mediators specialise in conflict resolutions. A lawyer with a family law background is the right pick for family mediation. A mediator is a lawyer with broad experience in mediating matters such as employment disputes and divorce issues. It is, however not necessary for a mediator to be a lawyer but as long as they have a solid background understanding of the applicable laws through experience or other ways to undertake mediation. For example, a renowned businessman can become a business mediator because he or she understands all aspects of a business setup, or, a marriage counsellor can become a family mediator because of a solid background understanding of family-related issues.
Knowledge and experience in what they specialize in are but in the beginning, there is training people go through before they are crowned as mediators. This training facilitates them to know how to solve disputes amicably without infringing on another party’s rights and honour. Lawyers offering family mediation in Gold Coast undergo specialised mediation training for them to understand how to solve disputes in a win-win manner. And that is how a lawyer becomes a mediator.
Key roles of mediators and lawyers
Although there is a thin line between lawyers and mediators, they both handle conflicts, and they both strive to provide dispute resolution. The difference between an attorney and a mediator is that the attorney becomes an advocate of one party against the other while a mediator provides a middle ground and does not advocate for either party but provides objective guidance to conflicting parties. In doing so, a mediator helps both parties to navigate the difficult situations they are going through to reach an understanding and an amicable solution.
A good mediator can look at conflicting matters from both sides. He or she can suspend judgment and provide support without taking sides or personal positions. Learning how to take a neutral position in every matter is not easy. It takes time and courage to master the psychology of all parties involved in a conflict and chat a neutral way of reaching an understanding without a party feeling infringed. There will be a give and take scenario if an agreement is to be reached during a conflict resolution with a mediator standing in between. A mediator is more alienated towards negotiation and collaboration than fighting for a win-lose position like attorneys do.
A mediator who is also an attorney/lawyer is generally a well-informed and highly skilled professional able to offer support and advice but not legal advice. For example, if a spouse resolves to navigate issues with the help of a mediator, they can expect to receive guidance and information in light to provide the best position for both parties.
Attorneys, on the other side, provide advocacy for a party to provide legal advice and opinions on how to propel their client to victory. A mediator will provide consultations to both parties involved in a dispute, but when things go south, he or she will ask parties to seek individual attorneys to pursue their course. This only happens when the mediation process reaches a dead end, he or she shall lay bare strengths and weaknesses for both parties.