Dec 18, 2020
8 Keys to a Successful Virtual Mediation
[Published in the Winter 2021 Newsletter of the Federal Bar Association, Los Angeles Chapter]
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most mediations throughout the country are now being conducted virtually rather in person. Many believe this trend will continue long after the pandemic is over because of the many benefits of virtual mediations. Although there are the obvious disadvantages of not having the opportunity to meet your adversary and opposing counsel face to face, engage in small talk over lunch or in the hallway, or shake hands to seal the deal when a settlement is reached, there are many advantages.
Virtual mediations are more efficient and cost-effective because travel time and expense are eliminated. Out-of-state parties and counsel can avoid the time, expense and delays of air travel and the cost of hotels, meals, and ground transportation. No one needs to be away from their office, home or family for an extended period of time. This makes scheduling a virtual mediation much easier, even when there are numerous parties and counsel. Participants in the mediation do not have to fight traffic, look for parking or pay exorbitant parking fees. As a result, virtual mediations usually start on time. Often there is less tension and stress because the parties and their counsel are in familiar and comfortable surroundings. All of these factors can help make the parties and counsel more amenable to settlement than if they were mediating in person.
What can you do to maximize the potential for a successful virtual mediation? Here are some tips that will help.