In 2000, I was involved in trying to develop a system for online mediation. The broadband infrastructure to support such a system did not exist, so we were 20 years early. It took the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to make videoconference mediation commonplace.
There are benefits and drawbacks to both in-person and virtual mediations via Zoom. Face-to-face mediations involve some logistics that Zoom mediations typically do not. There is no need to travel, so even distant parties and claims professionals attend mediation through Zoom. The time pressure imposed by, for example, a claims professional’s flight time at the end of the day is no longer a factor. (Of course, the tactic of packing up and threatening to leave loses much of its impact when everyone is attending virtually.)
Today, while many mediations are again held in person, virtual mediations continue to be popular with parties. Even when some parties and attorneys attend a mediation in person, others may attend via Zoom. If you’re new to the process, you may be wondering how to conduct a mediation via Zoom. Whether you are a mediator or an attorney who will be attending a mediation, use these ten Zoom mediation strategies to help you successfully settle cases via Zoom.
BEFORE THE MEDIATION
Use Zoom for Preliminary Conferences
Good mediators often call the lawyers before the day of the mediation for a preview of the issues, parties, negotiation history, and obstacles to settlement. Since 80 to 90% of communication is nonverbal, Zoom can enhance the effectiveness of such preliminary conversations. Consider these factors when conducting preliminary conferences:
Ensure that Clients Know How to Use Zoom
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