Richard Barnes

Document Type



As a national organization with a proud and distinguished history in conflict resolution, FMCS has always felt a particular obligation to promote professionalism and public confidence in the mediation process. In light of the growing number of individuals who identify themselves as "mediators", and the lack of any uniform standards for the practice of mediation, FMCS is the first national organization to credential outside private and public sector mediators. We are focusing on three specific dispute resolution disciplines: labor, employment, and regulatory negotiations. Credentialing does not restrict mediation practitioners to the extent that licensure and certification would. Rather, credentialing distinguishes those who meet requisite standards from those who do not, and relies upon the principles of free market choice for consumers of the service. FMCS has been joined in this initiative by both academic institutions and professional associations. We have developed core competencies and experience levels for each discipline to be credentialed, including negotiation skills, mediation skills, facilitation, and multi-party conflict management. The work of the Federal Mediator will continue to evolve as the forces that affect work, business and human relations continue to exert their influences on our society. And, the practice of conflict resolution will undoubtedly continue to find new and different venues to help organizations, groups of people and individuals resolve differences and work together more peacefully. We are grateful to Pepperdine University and the Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal for the opportunity to share these FMCS initiatives with the public.