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Keywords:

  • mediation;
  • mediator success;
  • mediator failure;
  • judge mediators

This article reports the results of two studies. The first study, based on the responses of attorneys to questions about the reasons for the success of mediators with and without prior judicial experience, shows that the capacity of the mediator to gain the confidence of the disputants was most important for mediators with and without prior judicial experience. Although certain process skills were viewed as important to the success of both former judges and nonjudges, in general, process skills were significantly more important for nonjudges than for former judges. The capacity to provide useful case evaluations, on the other hand, was significantly more important for former judges than for nonjudges. The second study, based upon attorney responses to questions about unsatisfactory mediators, reinforced the conclusions of the first study regarding the importance of confidence-building attributes. For both judges and nonjudges, the mediator's inability to gain the confidence of the parties was a major reason for his or her lack of success.