Arbitrator, Mediator, Conciliator
Main Topic: Human Geography
Secondary Topic: Environment and Society
Overview: 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.
Geographic competency is very important to be an effective arbitrator, mediator, or conciliator. In today’s diverse environment, they will be working with people from very different locations, backgrounds, cultures, and languages. They may even work in a variety of locations. Laws can change dramatically from state to state, county to county, or even city to city.
Geographers at work: Legal geographer, cultural geographer, economic geographer, business geographer, human geographers
Recommended College Courses: Legal geography, human geography, physical geography, business geography, urban geography, economic geography, cultural geography
Skills: Understanding of law, business, cultural, language, and economic difference influenced by geography; map reading and interpretation; computer and database systems; critical thinking; teamwork
Occupation Group: Legal
Learn more about Arbitrator, Mediator, Conciliator from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/arbitrators-mediators-and-conciliators.htm#tab-2
Written by Christopher Anderson