By: Patrick C. Coughlan, Esq.

By now most lawyers have participated in an electronic mediation where participants are visible to each other. Most participants to a Zoom type mediation have been pleasantly surprised by the ease of the process, and the positive results achieved. The lawyers who have been displeased with the use of Zoom generally participated in a process that was poorly organized and planned.

Zoom type meetings take MORE pre-planning than an in person session. It really helps to give participants the opportunity PRIOR to a mediation session to become familiar with how the mediation process will work, meet and talk to the mediator, and understand some of the challenges that might occur during a session. Expectations must be managed in advance.

Not only must the mediator do more advance planning, but the lawyers should as well! Clients probably will not be in the same physical room as their lawyers. How do lawyers plan to communicate privately with their clients and among each other? Is every one familiar with break out rooms? How they work, level of privacy? Ease of use? What to do if someone is unexpectedly kicked out of the meeting? Whenever one is using a computer, the unexpected can happen. Have contingencies been planned into the process?

We take the time to have these important discussions with the attorneys and their clients
PRIOR to the mediation session. Our goal is twofold: 1) To gain and understanding of the case and the parties positions; and 2) To explain how we conduct Zoom sessions, what are our expectations, and to help prepare participants for the mediation. Pat actually had a mediation that was recently disrupted by a public city wide demonstration near his location, but was able to continue the mediation after he changed location, because we had a alternate plan in place!

We tailor our Zoom sessions to meet our clients’ needs. Please contact us to learn how we can improve the success of your mediation sessions.