Professional Mediation


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  • online
  • on demand

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Who should attend

  • Mediators and those aspiring to build a career in mediation
  • Arbitrators
  • Attorneys and lawyers
  • Independent consultants
  • Union representatives and labor relations professionals
  • HR professionals
  • Entrepreneurs who want to mediate
  • Recent graduates interested in becoming mediators/arbitrators
  • Anyone looking to start their own practice as a mediation/dispute resolution professional

About the course

In today's volatile global work environment, alternative dispute resolution is on the rise. Yet organizations are finding that there is a shortage of qualified mediation and dispute resolution professionals available to resolve complex commercial, international, and employment law disputes. This need creates exciting and viable opportunities for professionals to enter this field. A career in dispute resolution can offer personal flexibility and skills that can be used across multiple disciplines, provided you know where to start.

Cornell's Professional Mediation Certificate covers both the process and knowledge needed for this important work, while also devoting a considerable amount of time to helping participants build a successful practice by creating a personalized strategic business plan. By the completion of the program, you’ll have gained a strong foundation in the essential mediation and arbitration skills and practices that will help you build a successful career as a professional mediator in the workplace.

Becoming a Mediator: The Business Plan

Two of the hardest and most stressful events of a person's life can be starting a new career, and starting a business. For many aspiring mediators, including those of you interested in mediation, arbitration, and facilitation, these events will go hand in hand. Whether you've just graduated and are looking to enter the field, or you're a seasoned professional ready for a change, you'll need a solid plan for your path into this new career. This course was designed for you by Dick Fincher. Dick is a Cornell alumni, lawyer, neutral and managing partner of Workplace Resolution LLC. In the course, he shares his deep knowledge and experience in neutral work, and creating a successful business. As he shares his experience, he challenges you to leverage his advice into creating your own successful business. During this course you'll complete a project that includes the key components of a business plan, you'll then receive feedback on that project from a successful neutral already working. This work will set you up to successfully take next steps in your career that are appropriate to your unique interests and situation.

You will have 30 days to complete this course after you enroll.

Ethics in Mediation and Arbitration

Strong ethical awareness is an essential competency for mediators and arbitrators. Alternative Dispute Resolution is no longer a risk-free environment for mediators and other neutrals. As codes of conduct and grievance processes proliferate and second-guessing and litigation increase, you must become better aware of the variety of ethical dilemmas you will face.

Ethics in Mediation and Arbitration improves your ethical awareness and develops your competency for addressing sticky ethical situations. In this course you'll gain the clarity about the ethics of neutral roles and practice techniques to apply in practice. Sarah Miller Espinosa, a skilled neutral and expert in ethics, will guide you as you explore complex and real situations and cases that present ethical challenges. This work will prepare you to act ethically in your work as a neutral.

You will have 30 days to complete this course after you enroll.

Employment Law Mediator Training

This intensive five-day training program equips participants with knowledge and skills essential for successful employment mediation. A comprehensive blend of substantive law and training in mediation process skills prepares participants to become qualified mediators for employment disputes.

By the program's completion, you will be well prepared to become a qualified employment law mediator. You will also be awarded CLE credits for completion of the training. The Employment Law Mediator Training program focuses first on employment law that is applicable to employment mediation, then on in-depth role-playing to help you learn and practice the skills to facilitate the process. Instruction is available October 21st - 25th, 2019 in New York City at the midtown offices of Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Dates for 2020 are not yet determined


  • Gain the building blocks needed to start a career as a professional mediator
  • Learn techniques and resources you can apply in daily practice
  • Draft a business plan for your workplace mediation practice
  • Create a list of action items that will set you up to successfully take the next step in your career that are appropriate to your unique interests and situation
  • Develop the mediation process skills needed to become a qualified mediator for employment disputes
  • Evaluate compelling shared strategies deployed in successful arbitration


Sarah Espinosa

Professional Work History: Arbitrator/Mediator (August 2013-present): serve as a labor arbitrator and workplace mediator; member of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) labor panel, Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service (FMCS) labor arbitrator panel, National Mediation Board (NMB) a...

Richard Fincher

Professional Work History: Mediator and Arbitrator, Self-employed, 1998 to present. Faculty Associate, College of Business, Arizona State University. Co-author of new ADR textbook-Emerging Uses of Corporate ADR, Jossey-Bass, April 2003. Practiced law and held senior executive roles in law and Hu...

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Professional Mediation at eCornell

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