Tips for ADR Professionals on Increasing Access

As a dispute resolution professional offering services to the public, you can increase your ability to reach potentially underserved populations:

  • persons with disabilities;
  • low-income persons;
  • persons with limited English;

by considering some of the following practical steps.

  • Join the pro bono panel of the MD Directory of Dispute Resolution Professionals found on the Peoples Law Library website. The panel serves low income persons, particularly those who have been referred by non-profit legal services programs.
  • Volunteer with a community mediation center
  • Offer to travel to a variety of venues to conduct sessions.
  • Use (and publicize) a TTY (text telephone) device or the MD Relay Program to reach persons with disabilities.
  • Work with interpreters to increase access for persons with limited English proficiency or persons who are deaf or have speech or hearing impairments. If you are not fluent in the language of the parties, you may decide that you are not the most suitable ADR professional for a particular situation. However, there are situations in which the parties are comfortable in English but may need some additional clarification. The following are resources to consider.
    • Select a co-mediator who speaks the language. This Directory lists language competencies.
    • Contract with a trained interpreter. The Maryland Administrative Office of the Courts maintains a state list of interpreters. Contact Linda Etzold at (410) 260-1271.
  • Subscribe to a special Maryland contract for Language Line over-the-telephone interpretation services. for quick initial contacts. (It is generally too expensive for session work.)
  • Review your premises to make sure that they are accessible for persons with mobility impairments, including elders who do not use wheelchairs.

External Resources

Community Mediation Maryland

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