Sunday, November 23, 2014

New Online Services for Hoosier Mediators

April 25, 2014 by Lindsey Borschel

The Commission for Continuing Legal Education first compiled in 1997 a directory of registered mediators in Indiana. The idea was to provide a way for judges, attorneys, and litigants to find a mediator who practiced in a particular area of law and a particular part of the state. Seventeen years later, the list of mediators is getting a full makeover for the digital age.

When this registry was initially posted online, fewer than 400 mediators were on the list; by 2013, the list had grown to around 1,300. But the website for searching mediators existed in its original form for over 15 years and was sorely in need of an update.

A new website for searching mediators is now available. The site is designed to be more user-friendly and provide better search options. Users can now search for civil or domestic relations mediators and narrow their search by various criteria, including:

  • Locations served
  • Rate range
  • Languages
  • Practice areas

Search results can be sorted in several ways, and users can drill down to an individual mediator’s record to reveal complete practice and contact information. If a mediator is also an attorney (roughly 65% of mediators are), the user can click directly into the Roll of Attorneys record for that individual.

Where does all this mediator information come from?

Currently, when mediators apply to be on the registry, they fill out a paper form and turn it into the Commission for CLE along with payment. Staff members at the Commission office key the information into an internal computer system which publishes the information to the mediator search website.

When mediators need to change information in their records—such as address or number of cases—they fill out a form or call the Commission to request the change. Each year, the Commission mails out annual statements for collection of the 50 dollar fee to appear on the registry.

In 2014, that process will change.

New mediators will complete a much shorter paper form to begin the registration process, which will reduce the amount of information transfer on paper and the amount of data entry for the Commission staff.

Mediators who are approved for the registry will then be invited to create accounts at the Clerk of Courts Portal and provide the contact and practice information they would like displayed on the public mediator search. They will also be able to pay the initial registry fee online as well as complete an annual registration process similar to the one attorneys are obliged to complete each year.

The Clerk of Courts Portal was first launched in 2011 for attorneys to complete annual registration online. This secure website is the platform for a growing number of interactions between Supreme Court agencies and the constituencies they serve. The mediator registration tool is the newest addition.

To search for a mediator, visit http://courts.in.gov/cle/mediators.

To view the Clerk of Courts Portal, visit http://appealsclerk.in.gov.