Search form

Section 15. Seeking a Negotiator, Mediator, or Fact-Finder

___You realize that negotiators, mediators, and fact-finders all actually work in some form of negotiation, which is a process of give and take, aiming at an agreement satisfactory to both parties.

___You understand that negotiation, mediation, and fact-finding are all facets of alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, which provides alternatives to going to court.

___You know that another party is unlikely to engage in any of these activities with you unless he perceives you as a peer, or as having the power to benefit or harm him.

___You prefer to use principled negotiation, the guidelines of which are:

  • Separate the people from the problem.
  • Focus on interests, not positions.
  • Continue to generate options throughout the process, and encourage the other side to do the same.
  • Insist that the agreement be based on some objective standard.

What is a negotiator?

___You employ a negotiator to represent your interests in a negotiation or dispute.

What is a mediator?

___You employ a mediator as a neutral facilitator to help you and the other party come to your own agreement.

What is a fact-finder?

___You employ a fact-finder to determine, to the extent possible, the objective realities of a situation when the facts are in doubt or in dispute.

Why would you need a negotiator, mediator, or fact-finder?

You need a negotiator:

___To protect your interests.

___Because you don't have the skills to negotiate for yourself.

___Because the other party has one.

___Because you've tried negotiating yourself, and found it too difficult.

You need a mediator:

___Because you want to come to your own agreement, but don't trust the other party.

___Because you want to avoid an adversary negotiation.

___Because the parties are too distrustful or agitated to be able to negotiate face to face.

___Because your negotiations have stalled or broken down, and you need help to get them back on track.

___Because the other party has requested mediation.

You need a fact-finder:

___To determine the facts, because you and the other party disagree on them.

___Because you believe the other party is not forthcoming or is lying.

How do you go about seeking (and finding) a negotiator, mediator, or fact-finder?

___You look for a negotiator, mediator, or fact-finder to help you settle a negotiation or dispute by consulting:

  • The Yellow Pages.
  • The Internet.
  • Federal, state, and local public ADR programs.
  • The court system.
  • Community mediation programs.
  • University law schools.
  • The bar association.
  • The American Arbitration Association and other professional associations.
  • Individual professionals.
  • Word of mouth.

___You persuade the other party to enter into negotiation, mediation, or fact-finding by presenting the positive aspects of the process:

  • Mutual benefit
  • Low cost
  • Saving of time and trouble
  • The opportunity to craft your own agreement
  • The advantages over the alternatives

___You demonstrate good faith by fully sharing with the other party the choosing of an individual mediator or fact-finder and the structuring of the process.

___You persuade an authority to order or recommend ADR by:

  • Filing a formal complaint.
  • Seeking enforcement of existing laws and regulations.
  • Pointing out the consequences of the failure to settle the dispute or issue in question.