If you speak two languages fluently and you have ties to ethnic communities, you have something valuable, something lawyers would pay for. With a bit of research and connections to non English speakers, you can make a very good income on your day off. How many people tell you their problems just because you speak their language? There are a lot of people who are staying in a marriage just because they don’t know who they can trust. They trust you and you can introduce them to a lawyer who will help them. They need the help and are willing to pay for it, they just don’t know where to go.
Can you even imagine how many couples stay together because they are intimidated by divorce court? They have heard the horror stories about nasty divorces and they don’t want to get involved in an ugly court fight. Those kinds of couples are PERFECT for mediation. If you don’t know these folks, talk to people to see if they know couples like this. You want to ask around the community and see who fits this description. The last piece of the puzzle is to find the mediator.
Find a good phone book and look under Divorce Assistance or Mediation. Call around and interview the lawyers. Tell them that you are looking to establish a referral relationship with a great mediator. Ask them how many mediations they have done and what their success rate is. Ask them how long a mediation usually takes and how much they charge. Ask if they are predominantly mediators or if they also do litigation. Ask them if it would be worth $250 for you to bring them a couple and do the translation for the day. Don’t take less than $150 because you are worth it! Just to compare, I have done over 185 mediations and have 100% success rate. I only do mediation, nothing else. On average it takes me between 4-7 hours to do a mediation. I have very special skills that most lawyers don’t have in that I was a special education teacher for many years and have a Masters in teaching severely emotionally disturbed children, so I have yet to meet a couple I couldn’t work with. But there are a lot of skilled mediators who are dying for new business. It is best to work with a lawyer who is a mediator, that way they can do all the legal forms and get everything done for the couple. Beware of lawyers who claim to be mediators but are really litigators in sheep’s clothing. Make sure that at least half their practice involves mediation. With just a little work, you can have a steady stream of clients to translate for and you can help others and yourself at the same time.