Online mediation is safe, convenient and effective. Video technology allows mediation to unfold via the Internet much the same way as an in-person mediation. In many cases, the benefits of mediating online may even make it preferable.
With restrictions on in-person meetings, online mediation is a valuable resource. As a Certified Online Mediator through Mediate.com I am dedicated to providing a familiar and dependable experience–on par to mediating in person. Certified Online Mediators are vetted for their background and experience, have training specific to online mediation, and receive ongoing updates to keep their practice current. See more about Online Mediation here, my Mediate.com profile here, and download my bio here.
For a complimentary consultation or to schedule a mediation that meets your particular needs please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (206) 295-4624.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Does online mediation work? In short, yes! Mediators and parties who have participated in online mediations have attested for years that it is just as effective as in-person mediation.
How does online mediation work? After the parties have agreed on a date and time, a link to participate in a video mediation is provided. Most of my mediations are conducted on Zoom. (But there are other platforms available.) Zoom–with its ‘Breakout Rooms’–is very effective for online mediation, allowing for private conference rooms. The mediator can move people in and out of these rooms as desired, just like an in-person mediation. Before any mediation session, you will need the software and/or apps from Zoom necessary for your participation in the online mediation sessions. Because I have a Pro Plan, with unlimited meeting time, you only need the free Personal Use Plan software and/or app and a free personal account. Once you have downloaded Zoom, you should familiarize yourself with the operation of the platform. Zoom has tutorials available at https://support.zoom.us, and I am happy to have a “practice” meeting before any mediation session.
Who can participate in an online mediation? Anyone who would participate in a face-to-face mediation can participate online (including expert witnesses, structured settlement consultants, translators, etc.)
How much does online mediation cost? My fees for an online mediation are typically the same as in-person because the parties are getting the same level of service. However, there are cost savings to mediating online. Travel costs, facility fees, mediator travel time, etc. are all out the window. (Rates and more information about my mediation philosophy can be found here.)
What equipment do I need? A computer/laptop with video camera and a microphone are ideal for online mediation. Telephones and tablets with video screens can be used, but are less effective and may have limited capabilities.
Do I need an internet connection? You will need a secure WiFi or Ethernet (hard-wired) connection for your computer. Test the speed and dependability of your connection BEFORE your mediation by hosting a meeting by yourself or with others. DO NOT use a public access WiFi connection, such as those available in public spaces and businesses as they are not secure and your information may be at risk in that situation.
Is online mediation safe and private? Yes. You can see everyone who is participating in your conversation and they see you. The online platforms (Zoom, etc.) have advanced security features to ensure the technology is private. Also, participants in a mediation, whether by telephone, video, e-mail, text, or other means, agree that all communications related to the mediation, and all negotiations and settlement discussions are private and confidential. Recording capabilities are disabled in Zoom, etc., and participants pledge to not make any other type of recording. A sample Mediation Agreement can be viewed here.
What if I want to show documents or other materials? Participants can easily share electronic files with others in their meeting. This includes Word documents, PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, photographs, videos, etc. Participants can also edit and/or mark-up documents. Files can be shared directly from a participant’s computer, or provided to the mediator to share.
How is a settlement agreement signed at the end of an online mediation if everyone is in a different location? I use Docusign.com as a secure platform for the execution of documents required during the mediation process (more information can be found at www.docusign.com).
Does everyone have to be on video and in a separate location? Not necessarily. If there is a reason for the mediator to engage with one or more of the parties face-to-face, that can be arranged (subject to proper social-distancing protocols.) Likewise, if a party and their attorney want to participate from the same location and/or on the same device, that can be accommodated. (Although, that has some drawbacks I would be happy to discuss.) In addition, participation by telephone, email and/or chat may be effective in some cases.
Where can I do an online mediation? Any private, comfortable location with good lighting and a good internet connection.