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8 Exciting Careers in Dispute Resolution

Examining both sides of arguments in order to reach an amicable and logical solution, are the main prerogatives of those working in dispute resolution. You would need heightened listening skills, when working in the conflict resolution arena, since a lot of the job requirements involve listening to two or more parties who may have a problem. From conflict mediation, to employee complaints and even customer service, conflict resolution specialists can be found in a variety of careers.

Also known as alternative dispute resolution (ADR), the job requirement is one of importance since conflicts can be costly to both the company’s financial wellbeing, and reputation. Possible occupations that require a sound ADR adviser will expect the successful candidate to have proven critical-thinking and decision-making skills. Interpersonal and relationship building skills are also important. Some of the exciting careers you can find in dispute resolution are:


An ombudsman is an official who has been appointed to act as a mediator between an individual and a public authority. The ombudsman investigates individual’s complaints against the company or organization. The ombudsman is a neutral individual, employed by the company or a group, to do thorough investigations when disputes arise. They will then determine which actions are needed in order to resolve the complaint. As an ombudsman, you also offer confidential conflict resolution services that will help to instruct people on how to best use their ADR techniques.

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Human Resources Managers

A human resources manager oversees the staffing issues in their organization, playing a key role in resolving and mediating disputes within the company. Known as the strategic approach to the effective management of organization workers, the HR department helps to maximize employee performance, focusing on policies and systems that help to make the entire organization run more efficiently and harmoniously. Part of the HR managers duties include educating managerial staff about issues that may arise, and successfully training employees in order to get the best out of them. A HR manager also specializes in negotiating employee contracts.

Counselors and Therapists

Working in the counseling field is a great way to make use of your dispute resolution training. Mental health counselors, marriage therapists and family mediators deal with conflict resolution within families or groups and may work with individuals too. The counselor or therapist will work directly with their client or clients, helping them determine the origin and weight of the conflict, offering ways to best deal with it. Marriage therapists assist married couples who need help understanding the challenges within their marriage and ways to deal with it (eg by improving communication or changing behaviors etc.) Family counselor’s may meet with family members individually and together, as a group. In order to be a counselor or therapist, you are required to have a master’s degree and a valid license.

Arbitrators, Mediators and Conciliators

The primary objective of arbitrators, mediators and conciliators is to resolve disputes between parties. Arbitration is a form of ADR that serves to resolve conflict outside the courts. An arbitrator is an independent person or body that will assess the situation and render and arbitration award. An arbitration award is legally binding. A mediator is a person who works with people involved in a conflict by facilitating an agreement or go-between. Using their background in business, counseling or law, the mediator helps to settle the conflict outside of court, by facilitating meetings between both parties that encourage a resolution. Mediators make suggestions, not final decisions. A mediator can specialize in areas like labor relations and divorces. Similar to a mediator, a conciliator is also an impartial third party who serves by settling agreements. But, a conciliator conducts meetings with conflicting groups separately, and communicates on their behalf, rather than having both parties meet in one setting. Arbitrators, mediators and conciliators often have experience working as a judge or lawyer and most candidates have a law degree and law license.


An intermediary is a professional who facilitates communication between two parties in conflict. The intermediary does not take sides or offer opinions on the topic being discussed. Rather, the intermediary’s role is to help the parties communicate more effectively and to find creative solutions to their problem. Intermediaries are often used in business disputes, labor disputes, and divorce cases.

Appraisers and Investigators

Conflict mediating skills are also needed when approaching the following careers: claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, police officers and investigators. Candidates in these fields handle things like insurance claims, performance appraisals of employees and even investigative police work. Most of these professions require only a high school diploma, but a bachelor’s degree is needed for those who would like to advance their career. Police and detective work makes use of conflict resolution when enforcing the law, preventing crime or investigating crime scenes. A policeman also relies heavily on conflict mediating, when addressing issues between the public and helping them reach an amicable solution.


A facilitator is a professional who helps a group of people communicate better and work together more effectively. The facilitator does not take sides or offer opinions on the topic being discussed. Rather, the facilitator’s role is to create an environment in which open communication can take place and to help the group reach consensus on a course of action. Facilitators are often used in corporate training sessions, team-building exercises, and strategy meetings.

Arbitral Tribunal

An arbitral tribunal is a group of arbitrators who are appointed to hear a dispute and render a decision. The arbitral tribunal may be composed of one arbitrator or multiple arbitrators. The arbitral tribunal will hear both sides of the story and then make a ruling based on the evidence presented. In many cases, the arbitral tribunal is composed of retired judges or lawyers with experience in the area of law that pertains to the dispute.