When considering who to use as a neutral, you should consider the dynamics of the situation. There are certainly times when lawyers feel the need to have former judges serve as mediators on the theory that a judge can better educate a party on the potential outcome of a case. However, in my experience, a neutral who can explore the issues, understand what each party needs to achieve in the lawsuit, listen carefully, think creatively and stay with the process is the neutral who will get the parties to a settlement.
I was trained in mediation by Metropolitan Mediation Services. Sometimes the hardest cases to settle are the smallest so I have served as a court-available mediator in state small claims court for disputes between non-represented parties, where one party was represented and where both parties were represented. I will come to your mediation having read what you've submitted, researched points of law that seem to be at issue, and armed with an understanding of the matter at hand. I will work with you as long as is necessary - even staying with the matter beyond the mediation day - to bring parties to settlement.