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Abstract

As part of their obligation to provide quality services, courts that offer mediation need to periodically assess the performance of mediators to whom they refer cases. One of several methods that have been proposed for monitoring mediator quality is participant assessments of mediator performance. The present article reports an empirical study that examined attorneys' assessments of the skillfulness of mediators in a federal appellate civil medations program. The attorneys rated some of the mediators as being more skillful than others, and these differences generally remained whether or not favorable outcomes were achieved in mediation. In addition, the attorneys rated individual mediators as being more skillful on some dimensions than others. These finding suggest that participant assessments could provide an effective means for monitoring mediator performance. We conclude by discussing a number of factors that could affect the usefulness of participant assessments.

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