Conflict Resolution Specialists
Conflict resolution specialists are employed by (or are affiliated with) court systems, law firms, labor relations boards, government agencies (such as the United Nations), humanitarian nonprofit organizations, social service agencies, and professional associations. Some operate their own conflict resolution firms—working with clients and/or providing advice to companies and organizations on how to set up and operate conflict resolution programs.
Job leads can be obtained via contacts made through internships, co-ops, and part-time or summer jobs; by using social networking sites such as LinkedIn; by attending career fairs and other networking fairs; and by visiting the career Web sites of potential employers.
A new hire who is straight out of college will receive on-the-job training and observe an experienced CRS as he or she works with clients in order to build their knowledge and skills. Within a month or two, they are assigned their own clients, but may be monitored for several more months to ensure that they are working effectively with clients.
Most aspiring arbitrators have worked at least three years—but often longer—in their chosen industry before trying to enter the field. A typical entry path might involve completing a training program offered by an association, government agency, or other entity; receiving a certificate or other credential for completing the training and meeting other requirements; and then applying to become an arbitrator.
Many people who work in conflict resolution enter the field after successful careers in law, business, or medicine. In this scenario, there are few opportunities for advancement—although a skilled CRS might choose to open his or her own alternative dispute resolution company, provide consulting services to companies and other organizations regarding best practices or the creation of a new conflict resolution program, or become a college professor who educates students about conflict resolution.
A person who enters the field directly after college or early in their careers can advance by receiving pay raises and managerial responsibilities. With experience, they also have the option to open their own conflict resolution firm or work as consultants or educators.
Tips for Entry
Visit https://acrnet.careerwebsite.com, https://www.nafcm.org/networking/opening_search.asp, https://www.adr.org/Careers, and https://www.linkedin.com for job listings.
Attend the Association for Conflict Resolution’s annual conference (https://acrnet.org/events/event_list.asp) to network and participate in continuing education opportunities.
Read the following publications to learn more about the field.
- Conflict Resolution Quarterly, ACR Update, and ACResolution: https://acrnet.org/page/Publications
- The Resolver and Arbitration: The Journal of International Arbitration, Mediation, and Dispute Management: https://www.ciarb.org/resources/publications