Not all mediators and not all mediations are created alike!
Experience and dedication can make the difference between using your time and money wisely in the mediation process. Seek out a mediator who has background in the issue you are attempting to resolve, who understands litigation and conflict resolution. There are many ways to find a mediator. A quick google search will lead you to results such as paid sites, mediation aggregation sites and specialty firms. Speak with members of your legal community.
Ask yourself what kind of mediator you need?
If you are mediating a small case on a budget, sometimes the Court will pay for and provide a mediator, or provide steeply reduced costs, particularly in cases involving small claims, county, juvenile or family disputes, so check with your local jurisdiction to learn more about that. A link to the 15th Judicial Circuit may be found here. The 15th Judicial Circuit also provides great information to explain the mediation process here.
If you are mediating a break the bank case, you should be prepared to pay for someone who has a track record of being able to work through complex issues with complex individuals.
Either way, mediating a case successfully can save backbreaking time and expensive litigation costs. Sometimes a mediation will not result in a resolution, but if done properly, should help you, just by the process of collaborative mediation, acquire critical knowledge about the parties and the issues you are facing. It is important not to waste the opportunity to have your mediation done at that level.