General District Court Mediation Certification Mentorship

Virginia is one of the states to require a mentored apprenticeship, in addition to classroom training, in order to be certified as a court-referred mediator. During this mentorship, the mentee observes the stages of the mediation process and conducts mediation sessions under the guidance of a certified mentor mediator. Cases need not end in an agreement in order to count as “completed” mediations. Please see the “Mentorship Guidelines” for more details on what counts as a “completed” mediation for certification purposes.


The current shelter-in-place declaration and resulting court closures has delayed the mentorship cohort. The next start date for GDC mentorship is August, 2020.

Please note that depending on the courts policy at that time, mentorship may continue via remote mediation sessions of video/phone conferencing. Further delays may be expected if required to do so.

Call for Applications

Enrollment is now open. The call for applications will close April 1st, 2020. The deadline may extend until all available spots are filled.

Please review the following information and find the application below.

This does not guarantee a spot on the cohort. Applications will be reviewed to ensure mentees will complete the requirements and uphold the program goals of quality and diversity. Once accepted, mentees will work through the program on a monthly basis for co-mediation’s, optional training and professional development. Mentees are expected to complete the program in 4-5 months.

Prerequisites for GDC Mentorship Cohort

  1. Completion of OES-DRS Certified 20-Hour Mediation Basic Training
  2. Satisfied observation requirement by either (a) observation training or (b) 2 qualifying mentored observations by the start of co-mediation’s.
    1. NVMS Observation Training
      1. March
      2. June

General Information

The majority of cases that NVMS mediates are referred through on-site courthouse mediation programs with Fairfax, Arlington, and Loudon counties. Courts are in session according to the following schedule:

Loudon County, Small Claims Court – Tuesdays, 8:30am
Fairfax County, Small Claims Court – Fridays, 9:30am
Arlington County, Small Claims Court – Second, third, fourth, and fifth Fridays, 9:30am

Mentorship program
3 Co-Mediations*

  • Onboarding Process and Curriculum
  • Ability to participate in monthly Community of Practice events
  • Access to NVMS Mentor pool
  • Exit process for certification application and next steps


MarchCall for ApplicationsNVMS Webpage is updated
MayApplicants are notified of cohort acceptance.– Mentorship Packet is Provided
– Payment is Due
AugustCohort Begins – 1 Day Orientation Session at Fairfax Court
– Scheduling for September, October, November and December co-mediation dates open.

(Optional) Web-based evening session for scheduling questions and preparation for 1st co-mediation.
September1st Co-MediationDate TBD
Community of Practice
October2nd Co-MediationDate TBD
Community of Practice
November3rd Co-MediationDate TBD
Community of Practice
DecemberWhat’s Next Overview– (if applicable) 4th Co-Mediation
– Certification Application Process
– Exit Interview

CoP Topics can be found at this webpage”

*If a mentee has not met their certification requirements of 5 hours of mediation time and acting scrivener on an agreement after their 3rd co-mediation they will be allowed to schedule additional co-mediation’s at no charge until their requirements are satisfied.

$525 for full program

Payment and Cancellation

Full payment must be received no later than 5 calendar days prior to your first court date in order for your spot to be reserved and your mentor notified of the mentorship court date. All receipts are sent via email at the email address provided on the registration form.

Re-schedulingIf you are unable to attend, you may cancel your court date no later than 5 calendar days before you are scheduled to attend for no resulting penalties as No-show/Late Cancellations. A court session may only be re-scheduled once and is dependent on available openings during that month.

Late Cancellations

Participants who cancel their registration 3-5 calendar days prior to the start of the session will receive the resulting warning/removal per policy.

Participants who register for the mentorship court date but do not attend or cancel their registration less than 48 hours prior to the start of the session will be billed the full cost of the session and will receive the resulting warning/removal per policy.

Refunds may be processed in the following ways: credit to be used on an NVMS-sponsored observation or co-mediation of equal or lesser value within a year from being awarded or by check. Please allow 7-10 business days for processing.

Removal from Cohort

If a mentee has a late cancellation, no show or extended inactive period of more than 1 month, they are subject to being dropped from the roster for mentorship. This is due to the high volume of mentees that complete their General District Court certification requirements via NVMS and an effort to reduce the overall mentorship timeline. Please see below the official policy:

*Managerial discretion may be used for extenuating circumstances such as illness or family emergency, however please expect these policies to be enforced as the standard due to the nature of cancellations preventing waitlisted mentees from completing their mentorship in a timely manner.