As we finally start to emerge from the cloudiness of the Covid-19 pandemic, one thing has become crystal clear; remote work is here to stay. Attorneys and claims handlers are using online mediation as an effective and efficient means for resolving disputes, and will continue to do so on many cases in the future.
In a traditional mediation, it is often not cost-effective to have all the decision makers present. Online mediation removes the cost barrier because parties are able to attend from anywhere in the country.
Our growing national panel of award-winning mediators weighed in on their top 5 tips to make the most of your next online mediation.
- Know the File Cold – Review as if you are preparing for trial. Ensure you have the latest information. Take an objective look and analyze your risks before a jury.
- Have Clients/Decision-Makers Present – Being online, attendees can participate from anywhere in the country. If possible, have the defendant and the plaintiff attend along with the representative counsel or insurance carrier.
- Don’t Just Say It, Show It – You can still show pictures, videos, and critical documents at an online mediation; and they are invaluable to the mediator. Have them ready to go on your device beforehand and consider presenting them during the mediation.
- Set Realistic Expectations - Talk to the client and assess and address their expectations. As the costs invested in litigating a case increase, it typically becomes more difficult to settle. So don't reject the good because you wish for the perfect. Nobody gets everything they want. There is always give and take involved in a successful mediation.
- Understand and Practice the Online Format – Get comfortable with the platform (Zoom, Webex, Google Meet, etc.). Have good lighting and sound; make sure the camera and microphone are functioning properly. Get to a quiet room that is free from unwanted distractions. Test your internet connection and be prepared for unexpected issues. Don't worry too much if there are technical difficulties — everyone understands that this can happen. Exchange cell numbers with the mediator in case your connection is lost.
Is online mediation as productive as in-person mediation? Absolutely. First Court Mediations settled 91% of our mediated disputes in 2020. Whether it's for efficiency or effectiveness, online mediation cans provide both.