I thought the mechanics of the mediation went very well on Friday – it was the first remote mediation I have been involved with and I thought it was excellent."
How do online mediations work?
I will administer the meeting using my Zoom Pro account. All the parties need to do is click on the link which I will circulate by email, that will take them into the Zoom meeting.
As each person joins the Zoom meeting, I will greet them, one at a time, in the main session, then move them directly to their side's private breakout room. So each side will not encounter anyone from the other side until they are ready to. It is quite possible that the two sides never have direct contact at all - very often a mediation will be concluded with each side having spent the entire day just in their breakout room.
I will offer anyone who wants it a dry run the day before the mediation. This allows you log into the Zoom room to test your camera and audio, and just ask me any questions about how the mechanics will work before the mediation starts.
Another detail: as I shuttle between the two sides during the mediation, I will send a mobile phone text message to you before I come into your room. One drawback of Zoom is that it is not always obvious that someone has entered a breakout room. So to avoid interrupting you in mid-conversation with others on your side I will text a "May I join you?" message before joining your room.
The conversations which take place in your breakout room will remain confidential, unless you specifically ask me to pass on some information to the other side. But from a technical point of view, each side can only see and here what is said in the room that they are in at that point in time.
Are online mediations as effective as face-to-face?
Pros and cons
Clearly there are some drawbacks to mediating online: you can't make genuine eye contact with someone, and you can only see their head and shoulders. But there are some quite significant advantages too. The most important, I think, is that everyone feels safe and comfortable in their own home or office.
There need be no concerns about whether or not the meeting is on neutral territory - it clearly is. No stress about getting to, and finding, some distant location. It is easy for everyone to take a break and stretch their legs (without unexpectedly encountering the other side).
Online mediations are generally lower cost than in-person. Most mediators have lowered their fees somewhat during the pandemic, to reflect the lower cost of mediating online. And of course there are no travel or subsistence costs, for the mediator nor for your legal team. My fees are shown here on my Fees page.
Want to learn more?
You can find more about me, including testimonials, fees, and a summary of my mediation experience here on this page about me.
Please get in touch for a free no-obligation discussion about your situation using the form below, or contact me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org / 07515 116800