If you’re looking for a way to resolve conflict without the expense and uncertainty of litigation, online mediation may be the right choice for you. The process can be completed in weeks, versus years, and the results are legally binding. In many cases, the parties will have reached their own settlement agreement before the matter is heard in court.
Although there are still some cases where traditional mediation or even a trial is necessary, many lawyers and clients now recognize the value of online mediation as an alternative to costly litigation. While some of these alternatives involve face-to-face meetings, the most common are virtual mediations. During these sessions, participants communicate with their mediator using videoconferencing software. This allows them to discuss their case with the mediator while remaining in their home or office and avoiding the need for travel.
While there are still some challenges to this method of communication, a growing number of mediators have found the technology to be user-friendly and very effective. Some of these mediators have even reported that the experience is more positive than traditional in-person mediations.
In addition to being cost-effective, online mediation also allows people who might not otherwise be able to mediate in person to participate. It’s important for participants to prepare for the session by ensuring their device has a solid internet connection and that they’re in a quiet, secure place where distractions will be minimal. It is also helpful to make sure that their devices are fully charged or plugged in so they don’t suffer from low battery or signal problems.
Another benefit of online mediation is that the screen provides a physical barrier between the participants, which can be particularly useful in emotionally triggering cases. Goldberg’s respondents reported that a reduction in emotional triggers led to less tension, more reasonable communication, and better decision-making abilities.
Most of these online mediation platforms allow the mediator to see the videos of the participating parties at the same time, which can help them gauge responses and reactions. While some mediators may be hesitant to use this tool, it can be very useful for establishing rapport and creating a comfortable environment for the participants.
One of the biggest benefits of online mediation is that it can take place anywhere in the world as long as there’s an internet connection and a stable, high-quality video conference call. This eliminates the need for travel costs and allows people with varying schedules to participate. This can be a real boon for those whose health conditions prevent them from traveling, or who have had to deal with transportation delays due to COVID-19. The process is also often faster than a trial, since there’s no need to wait for a courtroom to be open and staffed. This can be especially beneficial in cases where there’s a lot of backlog. online mediation