“Over the years the Center has developed various ways of settling disputes. All of these methods have featured the active participation of the people with conflicts in fashioning resolutions that meet their needs.”

Linda R. Singer, CDS Founder and President
Read the full Founder's Statement…


Center for Dispute Settlement

1666 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20009
202-265-9572 | Fax 202-332-3951
E-mail CDS

Frequently Asked Questions

1) How do I obtain CDS' help with my dispute?

Just give us a call or send us an e-mail and we will talk with you to figure out how we can help. CDS provides mediation, facilitation, and other dispute resolution services to help with a variety of employment, community, and interpersonal disputes.

2) What is your GSA Federal Supply Schedule number?

CDS' services are available through GSA FSS No. GS-22F-0001J.

3) How can I donate to CDS?

Click the donate button at right to contribute through Paypal or send a check to CDS.

CDS also participates in the Combined Federal Campaign; our designation number is 73703.

4) I need legal advice/a lawyer. Can you help me?

The Center for Dispute Settlement is not a law firm. We are unable to provide legal advice.

5) What kinds of services do you provide?

CDS's range of services includes mediation, facilitation, dispute systems design and training services. Click on the links to read more about each of our services.

6) What is mediation?

Mediation is a process whereby a neutral third party works with two or more disputants to help them discuss their situation and move toward a mutually acceptable resolution. Mediators do not tell parties what to do or say it is up to the parties to decide whether they want to participate in mediation, how they want to participate, and whether they will reach an agreement. Mediation is not a punitive process it is an opportunity for parties to communicate with one another, to better understand their situation, and to make steps to improve it.

7) How can I make someone go to mediation?

Mediation is generally a voluntary process, which means the parties decide whether to go to mediation. CDS cannot force anyone to participate.

If your dispute is workplace-related, there may already be a dispute resolution system in place, and you should consult your organization's HR or dispute resolution rep to initiate this process. If your dispute is in the court system, mediation can be suggested or ordered by the court. You should consult your attorney or a court representative if you want to try mediation.

8) How can CDS help my workplace deal with conflict?

CDS has a great deal of experience with workplace and employment disputes. The center can facilitate a series of meetings to help your organization work through problems and identify solutions. CDS can also help your organization to design and implement a system for resolving disputes within your organization. The center can also design and present custom trainings on mediation or dispute resolution skills for your organization. Just give us a call or e-mail us.

9) What qualifications are needed to be a mediator? How can I become a mediator?

Mediators come from a variety of backgrounds and professions. Many have a legal background expertise in the specific types of conflicts. Some have a communication or conflict studies background. All mediators, trainers and dispute resolution professionals working for CDS have gone through rigorous training and have years of mediation and dispute resolution experience.

There is no national or widely-accepted certification process for mediators. Different geographic locations, jurisdictions, and court systems have different requirements for mediators. Most, however, require many hours of training and observing or co-mediating real cases with a more experienced mediator. Decide on the context in which you want to mediate, and find out what the requirements are. Many have found that CDS's mediation training courses are a good start.

However, just because there are no nationally-accepted standards for becoming a mediator, it does not mean it's an easy field to break into. Demand for these services is high, but the supply of mediators and dispute resolution professionals is even higher. The field is very competitive.

Many new mediators gain experience by volunteering at a local community mediation center, like CDS's own Community Dispute Resolution Center, or the one in their own area. These community mediation centers are widespread across the country and are a good resource for information.

10) Can I become a volunteer mediator with CDS's community programs?

CDS maintains a well-qualified and diverse roster of volunteers. We periodically accept new volunteers, particularly those with previous training and experience. If you are interested, send your resume or a summary of your mediation training and experience and we will let you know if we are currently in need of new volunteers.

11) How can I get a job or internship at CDS?

CDS does not have any employment opportunities at this time. We are, however, always accepting applications for internships. If you send an unsolicited resume or application, we are unlikely to respond unless we are interested in speaking with you further about an actual position we have available.