_MG_5351We have prepared a couple of checklists of things to look out for when choosing a solicitor or mediator.

People do sometimes “shop around”

It is important that you find someone you have confidence in and can work with.

Whatever you do, focus on expertise and experience over cost. It is often very difficult to predict costs and sometimes people are not as cheap as they think they are going to be.

For our part, we try to work with fixed fees where possible.

Choosing a mediator

There are lots of mediators around with different backgrounds and levels of experience. A lot of mediators have trained in the last few years and are still relatively inexperienced. Others may have trained a while ago, but have not really done much to pursue a career as a mediator.

Ian Walker has a longstanding commitment to helping families to resolve their own disputes.
What is also important is the mediator’s style and ability to build a relationship with the couple, who will be relying upon the mediator’s integrity and neutrality.

You may have questions such as: How to choose the best mediator? How to find a mediator? Who chooses the mediator?How to check if a solicitor is registered UK? What are people looking for in a mediator?

We have created an FAQ’s page that can help answer those questions.

What to look for How does Ian rate The alternative
When did they train as a mediator? 1996
When were they first authorised to undertake legally aided mediation 2000
When were they first accredited? 2001. lan was amongst the first 20 mediators to achieve the accreditation standard with Resolution.
Are they a member of an organisation which is part of the Family Mediation Council [FMC]? Yes, lan is a member of the Law Society, Family Mediators Association [FMA], Resolution and ADRg [that's 4/6]
Are they currently accredited? Yes, by the Law Society
Are they trained to undertake direct consultation with children within mediation Yes
Are they child friendly? Yes, I have four children myself. I have been a member of the Law Society Children Panel continuously since 1996
Do they supervise other mediators? Yes
Are they able to offer legal aid Yes, to those who are eligible
Are they able to offer the full range of mediation models? Yes, Ian was trained by Henry Brown who pioneered both the traditional model family mediation, but also the model used in civil mediation and he is able to mediate using permutations in between
Are they a practicing Solicitor? Yes, Ian qualified in 1992. Ian also practices as a Solicitor
Do they have experience and expertise in financial issues Ian was originally accredited by Resolution in 2000 as having expertise in financial issues
Do they have experience and expertise in abuse issues? Ian is on the Children Panel Law Society and is Accredited by Resolution as an expert on domestic abuse.
Are they respected on a national level? Yes, In 2012 Ian was elected by fellow mediators to the Governing Board of the Family Mediators Association. He has previously been a member of the Law Society Family Law Committee
Are they respected locally? In 2009 Ian was elected by Devon family solicitors to be the Chair of the Devon branch of Resolution and served a three year term. We most of our referrals get from experienced family law specialist solicitors.
Are they the cheapest? We don't know. Our charges are certainly competitive. See our page on charges. Would you pay less and employ someone less experience with a greater chance of mediation not working? Ultimately you will only know whether you have gained good value at the end of the process