Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators

What Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators Do

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators facilitate negotiation and dialogue between disputing parties to help resolve conflicts outside of the court system.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCWSjaHA6lM

Work Environment

Many arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators work for state or local governments or in the legal services industry.

How to Become an Arbitrator, Mediator, or Conciliator

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators typically learn their skills through a combination of education, training, and work experience.

Pay

The median annual wage for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators was $63,930 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators is projected to grow 8 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. This projected growth is driven by the fact that mediations and arbitrations are typically faster and less costly than litigation and may be required in certain types of legal cases.

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators facilitate negotiation and dialogue between disputing parties to help resolve conflicts outside of the court system.

Duties

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators typically do the following:

  • Facilitate communication between disputants to guide parties toward mutual agreement
  • Clarify issues, concerns, needs, and interests of all parties involved
  • Conduct initial meetings with disputants to outline the arbitration process
  • Settle procedural matters such as fees, or determine details such as witness numbers and time requirements
  • Set up appointments for parties to meet for mediation or arbitration
  • Interview claimants, agents, or witnesses to obtain information about disputed issues
  • Prepare settlement agreements for disputants to sign
  • Apply relevant laws, regulations, policies, or precedents to reach conclusions
  • Evaluate information from documents such as claim applications, birth or death certificates, and physician or employer records

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators help opposing parties settle disputes outside of court. They hold private, confidential hearings, which are less formal than a court trial.

Arbitrators are usually attorneys, business professionals, or retired judges with expertise in a particular field. As impartial third parties, they hear and decide disputes between opposing parties. Arbitrators may work alone or in a panel with other arbitrators. In some cases, arbitrators may decide procedural issues, such as what evidence may be submitted and when hearings will be held.

Arbitration may be required by law for some claims and disputes. When it is not required, the parties in dispute sometimes voluntarily agree to arbitration rather than proceed with litigation or a trial. In some cases, parties may appeal the arbitrator’s decision.

Mediators are neutral parties who help people resolve their disputes. However, unlike arbitrators, they do not render binding decisions. Rather, mediators help facilitate discussion and guide the parties toward a mutually acceptable agreement. If the opposing sides cannot reach a settlement with the mediator’s help, they are free to pursue other options.

Conciliators are similar to mediators. Although their role is to help guide opposing sides to a settlement, they typically meet with the parties separately. The opposing sides must decide in advance if they will be bound by the conciliator’s recommendations.

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators held about 7,300 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators were as follows:

Local government, excluding education and hospitals 20%
State government, excluding education and hospitals 17
Self-employed workers 12
Legal services 9
Healthcare and social assistance 8

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators usually work in private offices or meeting rooms. They may travel to a neutral site chosen for negotiations.

The work may be stressful because arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators sometimes work with difficult or confrontational individuals or with highly charged and emotional situations, such as injury settlements or family disputes.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Judges and Hearing Officers

Judges and hearing officers apply the law by overseeing the legal process in courts.

Doctoral or professional degree $120,090

Lawyers

Lawyers advise and represent individuals, businesses, and government agencies on legal issues and disputes.

Doctoral or professional degree $122,960

Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Paralegals and legal assistants perform a variety of tasks to support lawyers

Associate’s degree $51,740

Private Detectives and Investigators

Private detectives and investigators search for information about legal, financial, and personal matters.

High school diploma or equivalent $50,510

For more information about arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators, visit

American Arbitration Association

Association for Conflict Resolution

O*NET

Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/arbitrators-mediators-and-conciliators.htm (visited ).