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A principal that holds true in business, whether you are an attorney, mediator, doctor, salesperson, etc., if you are not constantly improving, you will eventually become irrelevant. You cannot sit still and expect to grow. It’s just not going to happen. This involves building relationships and networks, sharpening your skillset, and continuing to be aware of what is relevant in your profession. So, how does this concept apply to mediators?

The best mediators I know still stand in front of juries. They don’t just stand in front of them; they get results. They deeply care about the profession. Continuing to litigate is one of the best ways a mediator can accomplish all the tasks mentioned above and become a more effective mediator. It may be as simple as taking discovery depositions, asking questions, and learning information that may impact a lawsuit. And, opposing counsel may be your next phone call to schedule a mediation. You are always working. You are always networking. Pay attention to how you present yourself.

It’s also important to have a counterpart you can call on and share challenges and ideas with (and vent to when necessary!). I’ve heard the saying, “the road to success can be lonely.” However, I don’t think anyone can get there alone. There is a real value in having someone you trust who you can call on.

This week alone, I have attended multiple mediations as the litigating attorney. In each one, I’ve learned new strategies that I hope to use in future mediations. I’ve paid attention. I’ve listened without waiting for my turn to speak. I’ve asked questions. I’ve improved my skillset as a mediator while continuing to represent my client. It’s simple. Learn in every room, whether you are the mediator or the litigator.

There are many, many more ways to improve as a mediator. The ideas mentioned in this blog are certainly critical along the path. Whether incorporating the ideas in this blog, or one of many others, the bottom line is you must continue to grow to stay relevant in the profession.

Tommy Santel is a co-founding partner of Santel | Garner. Tommy is a former government prosecutor. He is a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 General Civil Mediator. Tommy’s practice areas include criminal defense and civil litigation.

This blog is made available by Santel | Garner for educational purposes only as well as to provide general information and a general overview of the law, not provide specific legal advice. By using this blog and website, you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and Santel | Garner. This blog and website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state.