does mediating make you a better arbitrator?
yes. in fact, much contemporary training of decision makers includes mediation training. there are several reasons for this.
i am a big believer in procedural justice - that the experience one has in addressing their conflict is important. mediators are equipped to empathize with those before them. this translates to arbitration in many ways. from the structure of questions to considering the impact of my arbitration awards on those bound by them.
i also feel that my work as a mediator better equips me to relate to the journey parties before me in an arbitration context have experienced. the importance of this varies by the nature of each dispute but i believe that the rendering of fair + just decisions requires an arbitrator to understand the parties before them.
an old school of thought involves decision makers thinking of themselves as above the parties that come before them. i prefer the approach that parks the ego + focuses on respect, appreciating the reality for people involved in an arbitration.