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Law-Related Career Center

Alternative Dispute Resolution

heart_artibtatorMediator and Arbitrator

In general, mediators and arbitrators resolve disputes between parties outside the courtroom. The proceedings they follow are less formal than a trial.

Their roles are different, though they both work in the field of conflict resolution. Mediators are neutral and facilitate negotiations and solutions between disputing parties in order to resolve conflict. Mediators do not make decisions for the parties. Arbitrators are impartial third parties, similar to judges, who do make decisions for the parties. Arbitration can be binding, which means that parties must follow the arbitrator’s final decision.

A bachelor’s degree is generally required to become a mediator or arbitrator. Quite often, disputing parties choose a mediator or arbitrator with legal experience. Mediators and arbitrators often work in private practice. Many mediators work for government agencies, however, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In May 2010, the median annual pay for mediators, arbitrators, and conciliators was $55,800, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Photo: Mark Ide