I recently attended a 40 hour seminar on family law mediation training. While mediation is taking hold more and more in the States of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, New Jersey has established this extensive mediation program through the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education at the Law Center as well as through the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators.
It was a great opportunity to hear from mediators from all over the state, as well as New York practitioners. The mediation models of the practitioners varied from those who considered caucusing (sessions used by mediators to speak separately and privately with each of the parties to the mediation) an important element of each mediation to those who like me, who don’t agree with or practice mediation using the caucus model. The contents of the private sessions are privileged and not to be shared with the alternate party unless express permission is given. To me it would be very difficult to disregard those private conversations during the mediation. What if the mediator makes a mistake and reveals information garnered during the caucus session?
I find in my practice that when I advise my clients that, while our sessions are completely private to the rest of the world, all of the communications that take place during their mediation process will be shared between both parties. Usually I hear a sigh of relief at the thought that nothing will take place behind anyone’s back.
We heard from some of the pioneers of the mediation process. One experienced mediator delved into the rules and ethics outlined in the Uniform Mediation Act which has been adopted in the State of New Jersey. The course also qualifies its attendees to participate as court ordered mediators pursuant to Rule 1:40.
The speakers shared an abundance of valuable knowledge in this specialized field from the latest cases on mediation and confidentiality to legal, therapeutic and financial advice. When I walked away with that Certificate of Completion in hand, I knew I had gained invaluable tools which I could now bring with me into my mediation practice and the mediation room.