There are now over 425,280 law firms across the US. If you’re searching for the best mediation lawyer in town, you need a plan. Otherwise, you could hire an attorney who lacks relevant experience.

They could affect your ability to mediate a favorable outcome. Before that happens, read on. Consider these factors before hiring a lawyer in Fairfax, VA.

Consider Your Needs

Before researching local law firms and mediation lawyers, consider your needs. What is the nature of the issue? For example, perhaps you need help with:

  • A workplace issue
  • Divorce
  • A different family issue

Recognizing the type of conflict you’re experiencing will ensure you find the right mediator. You can make sure their experience and expertise align with your situation.

Consider the outcome you’re aiming for as well. What do you hope to achieve through mediation?

You may want to find a mediation attorney who can help you reach a fair compromise. Perhaps you’re prioritizing speed or want to preserve a relationship.

Outline these needs and objectives before hiring an attorney. During your consultation meeting, discuss your needs and expectations. Ask how they intend to help you accomplish your goals.

Look for a mediation lawyer who will personalize their approach based on your needs. Every situation is different. A lawyer who customizes their services is more likely to accomplish your goals. 

Gather Referrals

Build a list of local mediation lawyers by gathering referrals. First speak to anyone you know who has hired a mediation attorney.

If you don’t know anyone who has, ask about their experience with other lawyers. Determine if the same local law firm employs mediation lawyers. 

As you gather referrals, prepare a list of questions you want to ask. For example:

  • What is the lawyer’s experience level?
  • Do they specialize in mediation law?
  • Were they responsive?
  • Were they patient, kind, and professional?
  • Would you hire them again?
  • Did you encounter any issues?
  • Did they accomplish your goals?

If the client encountered problems while working with the attorney, learn more about the situation. Did the law firm try to find a solution? Look for firms and lawyers who care about their clients.

Otherwise, you could end up hiring an attorney who only cares about payment.

If you can’t find personal referrals, search for mediation lawyers online. Read client reviews for each local law firm. Find a firm with an established, glowing reputation. 

These firms will want to maintain their hard-earned reputation. They’re more likely to work with a client’s best interests in mind. 

Review Their Qualifications

Learn more about each mediator’s professional background. Review their qualifications, experience, and training. Make sure they’ve completed the property mediation training.

Ask each attorney if they’re certified. Though there are over 135 million lawyers in the US, only 14.4% are certified members of the ABA.

If they hesitate to provide proof of their credentials, keep searching.

Mediation is a specialized skill. It requires extensive knowledge of:

  • Communication strategies
  • Human behavior
  • Conflict resolution techniques

Finding an attorney with the proper training will give you peace of mind. Their extensive background will indicate they’re capable of accomplishing your goals. 

Make sure their credentials align with your specific needs. Perhaps you’re filing for divorce and are concerned about financial disputes.

Look for a mediator who is a certified public accountant (CPA). You can also look for a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA). These lawyers can assist with fairly dividing assets.

If you’re more concerned about child custody, look for mediators who are marriage and family therapists (MFTs). Confirm that they’re aware of the state’s divorce laws.

Look for Mediation Law Experience

Determine how long each lawyer has practiced mediation law. The number of lawyers in the country increases by an average of 1.5% annually. You could unintentionally hire a lawyer who lacks relevant experience.

Ask how many situations like yours they’ve handled in the past year. Question the outcome for each case. Were they able to accomplish the client’s goals?

Look for an attorney with a strong track record. If they struggled to resolve cases out of court, they may struggle with your case.

Choose an attorney who can prove their capabilities. If their experience doesn’t align with your needs, keep searching. 

Evaluate Their Communication Skills

Effective communication is essential for mediation. Look for a mediation attorney with strong communication skills. They should have strong listening skills to understand each party’s concerns.

During your consultation appointment, they should ask open-ended questions. Determine if they reframe or summarize points as well.

This indicates they make sure people feel valued and heard during the process. They’ll use the same skills as your mediator. 

Ask About Availability

Ask the mediation attorney how many cases they’re currently juggling. Determine how much time they can dedicate to your case.

Make sure the lawyer doesn’t intend to push your case to another lawyer. They should work within your desired timeframe. If their availability is low, it could cause scheduling issues.

Consider Personality and Approach

Mediation can involve pressure and disagreements. Choose a mediation attorney who can remain calm during intense situations. They should have a high level of emotional intelligence and empathy.

Avoid mediators who are impatient or easily irritated. They could make the situation worse.

Ask each mediator about their process and style. Some prefer to encourage open dialogue. They’ll lead everyone through the process of finding a solution.

Some use a more evaluative approach. These lawyers openly offer suggestions and solutions.  Consider which option best suits your situation or preference.

Look for a lawyer you feel comfortable with. Mediation is collaborative. You should feel confident and comfortable working with them.

Compare Costs

Ask each attorney about their fee structure. Some charge an hourly rate, while others have a flat fee. Review the costs before making your final choice. 

Find Your Mediation Lawyer Today

Don’t rush to choose a mediation lawyer. Instead, do your due diligence. Find an experienced lawyer you can trust to handle your situation. 

Relying on their expertise can help you reach a favorable outcome. Look no further for help than Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC. Our Fairfax law firm team has served North Virginia for over three decades.

We provide dedicated, knowledgeable representation for every case we handle. Trust our experienced lawyers to accomplish your legal goals. Contact us now for a free consultation.