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Most Commonly Asked Questions About Superior Court Mediator Certification
 
Following are answers to questions Commission staff routinely receive about the superior court certification process. This list is intended to assist you in better understanding the certification rules and process. It is not intended to deter you from calling the Commission's office. If your question does not appear here or if it does, and you would like addition clarification, please contact us at (919) 890-1415 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. We will be happy to try and assist you. A copy of the Mediated Settlement ConferenceRules can be found on this site. MSC Rule 8 which establishes certification criteria is accessible from the menu on your left.
  1. Must I be certified to mediate superior court cases?
  2. Who can be certified to mediate?
  3. What if I am a non-attorney applicant for certification and not sure whether my qualifications and experience satisfy Rule 8.B.(2)(c)(i)or (ii)?
  4. If I am an attorney, must I be licensed to practice law in North Carolina?
  5. Must I be a North Carolina resident for a period of time to be certified to mediate superior court cases?
  6. If I meet the threshold criteria, what happens next?
  7. Where can I find a list of approved mediation trainers?
  8. If I am already a certified FFS mediator, do I still have to complete a 40-hour MSC mediator training course?
  9. I am having problems scheduling observations of superior court cases required by MSC Rules 8.C. and 8.B.(2)(d) (if you are a non-attorney applicant)? What can I do?
  10. Where can I get an Application for Certification?
  11. Is there a certification fee?
  12. Where should I send my completed application?
  13. Once I submit my application, how long will it take for the Commission's office to process it?
  14. Once I am certified, what can I put on my letterhead or my business cards?
  15. Once I am certified, how many court referrals may I expect to receive?
Q. Must I be certified to mediate superior court cases?
A. Yes. Rule 2 of the Rules Implementing Mediated Settlement Conferences in Superior Court Civil Actions (MSC Rules) requires that all mediators conducting mediated settlement conferences in superior court cases be certified whether serving pursuant to court appointment or selection by the parties.
 
Q. Who can be certified to mediate? Are there threshold criteria?
A. MSC Rule 8 provides for both attorneys and non-attorneys to be certified. Rule 8.B.(1) provides for certification of licensed attorneys who have at least five year's experience practicing law, serving as a judge, law professor or mediator, or equivalent experience. The attorney must be a graduate of an accredited law school and be a member in good standing of the North Carolina State Bar or the Bar of another State. Rule 8.B.(2) provides for certification of non-attorneys who possess either : significant mediation experience (3 years and at least 30 cases in a supervised setting); a four-year degree from an accredited college or university; and at least four-years of relatively high level experience as a professional, manager or administrator (see Rule 8.B.2.(c)(i)) or ten years of relatively high level experience as a professional, manager or administrator and hold a four-year degree from an accredited college or university (see Rule 8.B.2.(c)(ii)). The Commission has adopted Guidelines that provide further clarification of the threshold requirements for non-attorney certification set forth in MSC Rule 8.B.(2)(c). To see the Guidelines click on "DRC Policies on MSC Certification" and then click on "Threshold Requirements for Non-Attorney Applicants MSC Rule 8.B.(2)(c)."
 
Q. What if I am a non-attorney applicant for certification and not sure whether my qualifications and experience satisfy Rule 8.B.(2)(c)(i)or (ii)?
A. If you have any doubts about whether you meet the threshold eligibility qualifications for certification established under MSC Rule 8.B.(2)(c)(i)or (ii), you should contact the Commission's office and provide a copy of your resume before enrolling in training. The Commission's Executive Director can sometimes issue a pre-approval stating that you meet the threshold requirements established under Rule 8.A.(2)(c)(i) and/or (ii). Though it is not a guarantee, once you have obtained a pre-approval, it is likely that completing the additional requirements set forth under Rule 8 will lead to your certification.
 
Q. If I am an attorney, must I be licensed to practice law in North Carolina?
A. No, attorneys licensed in states other than North Carolina are eligible for certification provided they posses the five year's of experience required by Rule 8.B.(1)(b). All attorney applicants must be members in good standing of at least one State Bar. Attorneys may be inactive, but they must be inactive voluntarily, i.e., their inactive status must not be the result of disciplinary action or threat of such action by a State Bar.
 
Q. Must I be a North Carolina resident for a period of time to be certified to mediate superior court cases?
A. No, an applicant need not meet any residency requirement to mediate in North Carolina. Some certified mediators reside in border-states such as Tennessee, Virginia, or South Carolina, but come to North Carolina to mediate.
 
Q. If I meet the threshold criteria, what happens next?
A. If you meet threshold criteria for certification as an attorney (see MSC Rule 8.B.(1)(a) and (b)) or as a non-attorney (Rule 8.B.(2)(c)(i) or (ii)), then you will need to also complete a 40-hour training course on mediation, attend observations of mediated settlement conferences, complete an approved application form, pay the certification fee and mail your materials to the Commission. In addition, if you are an attorney applicant who is not licensed in North Carolina you will need to complete an independent study on North Carolina court structure, legal terminology and civil court procedure and provide three letters of reference. If you are a non-attorney applicant, you will also need to complete a six-hour course on North Carolina court organization, legal terminology, civil court procedure, the attorney-client privilege, the unauthorized practice of law, and common legal issues arising in superior court cases; complete three additional observations, and provide three letters of reference.
 
Q. Where can I find a list of approved mediation trainers?
A. You may use the Commission's web site to find a trainer. Click on "Apply for Mediated Settlement Conference Certification (Superior Court)" and then click on "Approved Trainers." You will need to contact the trainers directly to learn of dates and locations of upcoming training. Please be careful that the trainer you contact is certified to conduct training for the type of mediation you wish to practice. For example, if you are interested in family financial training, do not contact and enroll in a superior court mediation training course. The training for the two types of mediation is not interchangeable and the training for one cannot be substituted for the other.
 
Q. If I am already a certified FFS mediator, do I still have to complete a 40-hour MSC mediator training course?
A. No. If you are already certified by the Dispute Resolution Commission as a district court (FFS) mediator, you will need to take only a 16-hour supplemental course which will focus principally on the MSC statute and program rules and ethical issues arising in MSC cases.
 
Q. I am having problems scheduling observations of superior court cases required by MSC Rules 8.C. and 8.B.(2)(d). What can I do?
A. Attorney applicants must complete two observations. Non-attorney applicants must complete five. To schedule observations, you may want to consider contacting your mediation trainer. Mediators affiliated with a training organization may be able to help you schedule your observations. A list of certified MSC mediators and contact information for them can also be found on this web site (click on "Finding A Mediator") from the homepage at www.ncdrc.org. By clicking on the drop down "district" box in the middle of the page and selecting a district, you can view a list of all mediators serving a particular judicial district. You will need to contact mediators directly to make arrangements for your attendance. It may benefit you to contact a number of mediators, including some who are less active.You may also try contacting attorneys that you know directly and asking them whether they have any mediations scheduled that their clients would permit you to attend.You will also need to check with their opposing counsel about attending. If the attorneys agree, you should also contact the mediator as a courtesy and let him or her know you will be present. To receive credit, observers are required to attend a mediation conference from beginning to settlement or impasse. Observers may not receive credit for observing one session of a multiple-session mediation. All observers are required to conform their conduct to the Commission's Requirements for Observer Conduct.
 
Q. Where can I get an Application for Certification?
A. Application packets are available through the Commission's office or this web site from the menu at left. A "fillable" application form is also available.
 
Q. Is there a certification fee?
A. The Commission had adopted a $140.00 certification fee which is prorated quarterly for the fiscaly year that you apply. Once you are certified, an annual renewal fee, which is also currently set at $140.00, will be due each spring. The fee for dual superior court and family financial mediator certification is $200.00.
 
Q. Where should I send my completed application?
A. Please mail your completed application form and attachments to the Commission's office. Please send them to the post office box address only. The Commission's office does not receive mail at its street address. If you are in a hurry and want to send your packet by overnight mail or courier, please let us know so that we may expect it. The only original you should send to the Commission's office is the application form itself and we ask that you make a copy for your records. Please send only copies of the certificate issued by your 40-hour trainer, your observation certificates, your letters of recommendation (if applicable) and so forth. Please forward your application and supporting materials in a single mailing, rather than forwarding your submissions piece meal as you complete the various steps involved in certification. This helps us keep your packet intact. If you have questions about the application or how to complete it, please contact Commission staff at (919) 890-1415.
 
Q. Once I submit my application, how long will it take for the Commission's office to process it?
A. Applications are nearly always processed within five working days of their receipt, if not sooner. If you have mailed your application and it has been more than seven business days and you have not head back, please call the Commission's office. Please complete your application carefully. Usually, when there are delays in processing an application, it is because the applicant did not follow the instructions on the application and accompanying explanatory materials.
 
Q. Once I am certified, what can I put on my letterhead or my business cards?
A. The Commission has adopted Advertising Guidelines for Certified Mediators. To view the Guidelines, return to the main menu where the Commission's royal blue logo appears and click on the "Mediator Ethics" option, then click on "Advertising Guidelines".
 
Q. Once I am certified, how many court referrals may I expect to receive?
A. MSC Rule 2 provides for the Mediated Settlement Conference Program to be a "user pay" program. Because the parties are paying for their mediator's services, it was considered important to give the parties an opportunity to select their mediator. In most districts, the bulk of cases are mediated by "party-selected" rather than "court appointed" mediators. Court appointments result only when the parties cannot agree on a mediator or take no action to select one. Court appointments to mediate tend to be relatively rare in most districts. Appointments are typically apportioned on a rotating basis among certified mediators who have expressed a willingness to accept court appointments in a district. Since parties have the option to select a mediator and most are exercising that option, it is essential for mediators wishing to establish a practice, to notify attorneys of their availability and to market their mediation practice to them. The Commission's office will notify court personnel of a mediator's certification in those districts in which the mediator has indicated a willingness to serve. The office does not contact attorneys to notify them of your certification.
 
 
 
 
   
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