Arizona State University (ASU) – Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Robert W. Rack
affiliation not provided to SSRN
Journal of Dispute Resolution, p. 229, 2004
Participant assessments of mediator performance are one of several methods that have been proposed for evaluating mediator quality. The present article reports the findings of an empirical study that examined the usefulness of attorneys’ assessments of mediator skillfulness as a method for monitoring mediator performance. Attorneys who had participated in federal appellate civil mediation rated the mediator’s skillfulness on seven dimensions as part of a larger questionnaire about their mediation experience. Attorneys gave some of the five mediators higher skillfulness ratings than others, suggesting that their assessments were sufficiently discriminating to reveal differences among the mediators. In addition, attorneys gave each mediator higher skillfulness ratings on some dimensions than on others, and the pattern of ratings differed across mediators, showing that the attorneys’ assessments were nuanced and did not simply reflect their overall impression of the mediators. Importantly, attorneys’ skillfulness ratings did not simply mirror whether settlement or other favorable outcomes were achieved in mediation, suggesting that their assessments were not overwhelmed by the outcome of mediation. Taken together, these findings suggest that participant assessments could provide an effective means for monitoring mediator performance.