Dispute Resolution Survey Results
I put some key questions to a group of international Dispute Resolution practitioners a few months ago – with the majority of respondents being from the UK – and here are the interim results. The size of the survey is not ‘statistically relevant’ (ie. not yet 100 participants) but it does give some thought provoking data and comments (all confidential regarding who has made them!)
The participants were nearly 80% Mediators, 68% Collaboratively trained, just over 16% were Arbitrators. 45.46% of the Mediators were also Solicitors.
Here are the results that I found of most interest:
Only 14.3% of Collaborative Practitioners didn’t agree with adapting the core training (ie. they were purists), but only 4.76% of the Collaborative practitioners practised exclusively DR – compared to 50% of the Mediators.
100% of the Mediators saw mediation as a good tool for helping with non-married couples splitting up, but only 75% thought mediation was good for creating co-habitation and prenup agreements.
By comparison, just over 83% of Collaborative practitioners and 62.5% of Arbitrators felt their disciplines were good for helping cohabiting couples to split, but a whopping 91.7% of Collaborative practitioners thought collab was good for prenups and cohabitation agreements (only 4.2% of Arbitrators).
“I believe that lawyers have a duty to help their clients select the form of dispute resolution which will work best for them and that the court process should be seen as a last resort. It is an unfortunate reality that lawyers make most money out of the court process and some are therefore keen to encourage their clients down that route.”
Interestingly, only 63.6% of Mediators thought their training made them better at dealing with clients as a solicitor (or overall if not a solicitor), compared to 85.7% of Collaborative practitioners.
Only 31.8% of Mediators agreed that the Law Society’s Family Mediation Accreditation was a good way to regulate the profession, and just over 18% said they did not do MIAMS and only worked with couples who had already decided to use mediation.
“I’m totally unclear what the Law society accreditation route adds to the profession when the FMC covers it.”
Only 63.6% of Mediators said they were aware that Arbitration can be used as a tool to resolve an issue in mediation, so that the mediation can then continue.
“I am a non-practicing solicitor and a professional family mediator. I have never had cause despite complicated cases to refer to arbitration“
“The latter (arbitration) needs great care. It is an easy “get out” and may taint the process if collab lawyers know they can hold onto it”
23.8% of Collaborative practitioners felt that the process was only viable for less than 50% of all separating couples (compared to 4.5% of Mediators). Collaborative practitioners felt that more training was needed to help those solicitors to be ‘more collaborative’ (47.6%) which echoes comments I’ve heard on many occasions about how some Collaborative practitioners are not always collaborative in the way they work, despite the ethos and training they’ve received.
“I believe that all forms of DR are underused because, whatever lip service is paid, family lawyers who face a very challenging market are fearful of losing their core work. There are of course many honourable exceptions.”
When it comes to getting dispute resolution clients, it was interesting that only 6.7% of respondents said they don’t have time to attract more DR clients – and over 26% said they would like to work more collaboratively with other professionals – but they didn’t have time to get to know them. Only 16% felt that their firms did not do enough to promote that aspect of their work. Over 61% use social media (not just LinkedIn) to promote their DR work, but under 13% use video. However, over 61% said that most couples in the UK – prior to a MIAMS – are not aware of family arbitration; over 87% said potential clients did not understand the basic principles of Collaborative Practice or had not heard of it at all; and 54.8% said that many couples still don’t understand what mediation is.
Over 66% said prospective clients just didn’t know enough about the benefits of DR, and 50% said that couples need to be better prepared and educated about DR so that the processes have more chance of working successfully.
Perhaps if education of the public become more of a priority in the marketing of family law services, that would be time well spent also regarding bringing in new clients (as a byproduct)?
Although 40% thought clients would better manage their DR experience if they had more financial advice, and over 53% thought more emotional support would be beneficial, only 36.7% thought that parenting support would make the DR process have more chance of working successfully – which I found interesting. Isn’t focusing on the role as parents a powerful tool in helping dispute resolution to feel truly relevant to parents?
Many thanks to those who participated – feel free to share your comments below.
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