We are all in lockdown. The only way we can mediate at the moment is online. Hundreds of people are trying it for the first time. Much to their surprise they really like it. Online mediation looks set to stay even when the lockdown is lifted. Here is my quick guide to what online mediation is and how to get started.
If you or your clients prefer not to travel to mediations, you can mediate online.
I use Zoom and/or telephone.
What is Zoom?
Zoom is a super version of Skype. You don’t have need to do anything and it’s free to use.
You don’t’ need any training or to download any software.
We agree a time.
I act as the host and email you a Zoom link to invite you to a meeting. You just click on it at the agreed time to join the meeting. That’s it.
We have a dummy run with each side separately before the mediation. Just to make sure that everyone is comfortable with the technology.
How do we operate during the day?
It’s much the same as meeting in person.
We can all see and hear each other in Gallery View. We can have a joint session.
We can also have private sessions. If I want to talk to one side, I put the other side in the Waiting Room. They cannot hear or see us. We cannot hear or see them.
If lawyers and clients are not physically in the same location, they can have private sessions without either me or the other side being able to hear or see them. I put them in a Breakout Room.
There is a Chat facility where anyone can send a private message to me during the mediation.
Does it work?
I was accredited as a specialist online mediator by the ADR Group tin 2015. I have been mediating online since then. Last year I was appointed mediator in 32 online mediations and 58 in-person mediations. The settlement rates are pretty much the same. Over 90%.