If you’re a lawyer, a new-wig or a law student and you still haven’t considered the many benefits of building a career in Alternative Dispute Resolution or incorporating it into your practice, then you need to WAKE UP and smell the coffee!!
Mediation in particular, is fast becoming the preferred ADR mechanism for resolving disputes in Nigeria from less complex to very complicated civil and commercial disputes.
In 2018 alone, according to the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, the Lagos state government, registered 33,670 matters between January and August at the Citizens Mediation Centre, and this just buttresses that Mediation is a growing market that legal practitioners can tap into.
Here are some of our top 5 ways to establish a career in Mediation this 2019:
- Conduct research generally on ADR and your personality:
There are many aspects of ADR such as Negotiation, Conciliation, Arbitration, Mediation etc. We advise that you take time to first do personal research on all these kinds of ADR mechanisms to be sure that Mediation is the one that truly catches your fancy.
Also, take a personality test either on your own or using some online questions and materials. There are certain characters and qualities that a Mediator or a Mediation Advocate must possess, while sometimes these qualities come naturally, you can be trained nonetheless. These qualities include Patience, Emotional Intelligence, Communication skills among others.
When you find that you have the passion/interest plus some of the qualities mentioned above, then you’re on your way to establishing a career for yourself in Mediation.
- Take a professional course:
There are quite a number of professional courses that you can take to increase your knowledge of Mediation. The Lagos Multidoor Court-House organizes a mediation skill training to be a Mediator after which you can be inducted into the Panel of Neutrals. The Standard Conference of Mediation Advocates equally has a training to make you a certified Mediation advocate. There is also the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators, they offer ADR skills and Mediation training as well.
- Attend ADR and Mediation related events:
Search for events relating to ADR and Mediation around you. By attending these events, you get to broaden your knowledge on Mediation especially as it is in practice. You also have the chance of learning new parts of Mediation that you may not have known.
- Network with people in the industry:
It is important for you to network with people who have carved a niche for themselves in Mediation. If possible get one of them to be a mentor to you. This affords you the opportunity of establishing yourself faster because now you get the support from a more experienced person. You can network either by meeting people at the ADR and Mediation related events or by reaching out to them on professional networks like LinkedIn.
- Make yourself visible in all things mediation:
Once you feel that you have gotten basic and sufficient knowledge on Mediation, the next thing is to put yourself out there by speaking to your friends and family about Mediation, write articles for publication online, engage with Mediators, Mediation advocates and people in the industry online and offline, participate in creating awareness about ADR and many other ways of becoming visible. Feel free to create other ingenious ways of creating visibility for yourself.
Please note that there is a distinction between a Mediator and a Mediation Advocate. That would be discussed in detail in future posts. Don’t be caught unawares when Mediation fully becomes the modern way of dispute resolution. Key into ADR today and you’d be glad you did so in future!