Monday, January 10, 2005

“I’m a Certified Mediator, But What am I Really?”

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, Rule 10.610 Advertising, provides, in part:

A mediator shall not engage in marketing practices which contain false or misleading information. A mediator shall endure that any advertisements of the mediator’s qualifications, services to be rendered, or the mediation process are accurate and honest.

Is it sufficient to state in your marketing materials, i.e. business cards, letterhead, Florida Bar News and other advertisements, simply to state that you are a “Certified Mediator?” The answer is an unequivocal no, according to Mediator Ethics Advisory Committee Opinion 2002-003, which, in summary, states:

The generic designation, “certified mediator,” is inherently misleading and therefore in violation of rule 10.610.

You may also want to read Mediator Ethics Advisory Committee Opinion 99-013 which, in summary, states:

It would be misleading, and thus ethically inappropriate, for a two member firm to list on its letterhead “Circuit Court Mediation” as a service provided without designating which attorney was certified if only one mediator was certified.

Finally, if you are [or were] a judge, from Florida or elsewhere, and now you’re a mediator certified by the Florida Supreme Court you might find interesting reading in Mediator Ethics Advisory Committee Opinion 2004-001 which, in summary, states:

Since the use of the term “judge” alone may confuse or mislead the public in violation of rule 10.610, the mediator may need to include clarifying information in order for such practice to be permissible.

Make sure you are in compliance!

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