originally published on indisputably.org
In his new article, “Regulating Mediators,” Art Hinshaw uses the salacious case of an Arizona mediator, Gary Karpin, who made inappropriate sexual advances towards parties and scammed them out of tens of thousands of dollars, to argue for occupational licensing of mediators. Although previous efforts to create some form of mediator credentialing have stalled or failed all together, the horrific facts of this case may make this latest effort a success. But even with the serious nature of this case and the clear need for some sort of consumer protection, Hinshaw recognizes that credentialing, especially licensing, can have other negative consequences that have to be addressed first. One significant, if unintended, negative consequence of licensing is the potential for limiting diversity and creating barriers of entry for minorities. Although well established in other fields, there is no definitive proof that licensing would have this impact on mediators. In fact, anecdotal evidence demonstrates the opposite. As Hinshaw writes, “a more structured method of entry into the field” may in fact increase diversity in our field.