macbook on desk - zoom mediation concept

Civil Mediation And Online Dispute Resolution Tools

The shift in handling business affairs has changed for the better, and now that we’re two years removed from the worst days of the pandemic, it’s become increasingly easier to appreciate the ways in which we can go about interacting with one another. Many businesses, whether they wanted to or not, had to edge up when it came to finding a viable solution for offering their services via an online format (think zoom, webinars, or other kinds of online tools). The field of civil mediation is no different. If you are in need of mediation services, Schuering Mediation now provides the opportunity to use Zoom mediation. Despite the glaring technological limitations that can impact some clients, rest assured, through repetition and practice, you can get just as much from this format just like you could from an in-person meet up. Today, we would like to share the benefits of civil mediation and online dispute resolution tools. 

Why Zoom Mediation?

We sympathize with many of you who have trepidation about this newer format for handling your civil cases, especially the mediators themselves who, up until this point, probably think they have done everything in their power to learn and adapt to the times. Sure, maybe going back 5-10 years, mastering a video conference tool was not viewed as something that was totally necessary. Civil mediators got accustomed to handling their cases in a way that was both ethical and convenient for them. But then a little something known as COVID-19 came by and shifted what was once considered “normal”. 

This left many businesses in a position to reorient and strategize on what was going to be helpful and considerate for adhering to the demands of social distancing and staying at home. Redefining a new normal wasn’t going to be easy, but it was a necessary change that needed to happen. Now, Zoom mediation has gone on to add another layer of convenience for clients and mediators that choose to pursue them. If your business is gradually shifting to this model, consider implementing these tips and tricks to hone the craft.

Hosting Practice Sessions With The Mediator, Legal Team, & Client

You know what they say–practice makes perfect! Online dispute resolution tools won’t always lend themselves to consistency, and if you’re new to Zoom, you’ll want to do everything you can to become proficient with the web conferencing tool. Which is why it could be helpful to set up a practice Zoom mediation between you (the mediator), the legal team, and the client. Introduce them to the basics of Zoom, such as the breakout rooms. You’d be surprised to see what this can do for helping to remove uncertainty and build rapport amongst all parties involved. Additionally, it can prepare everyone to work out technical glitches, should any arise. For those who will need further clarification, Zoom has chat box features that allow the user to privately message someone else. 

Create And Send Documents Electronically

In many professional exchanges via the use of online tools, proprietary software makes it easy to handle online transfers, store your data, and more importantly, create and send electronic documents. Software like DocuSign is a great example of this. It can be used to execute the Agreement To Mediate, which will definitely include a confidentiality agreement. Any other non-party participant should also sign to assure confidentiality. When the parties agree to a settlement, the mediator should implement a standard Settlement Agreement form. The form is vital for filling in and circulating to the parties and attorneys for electronic execution.

Playing With The Zoom Settings

It’s the responsibility of the mediator to ensure that they are working with optimal settings when hosting a Zoom mediation. Some key settings to watch out for including the following;

  • Security: Set up the Zoom conference to require a password, set up a waiting room, and lock in the conference once everyone has jumped on.
  • Screen Share: The screen share feature allows your participants to share important documents, photos, PowerPoint presentations, and much more.
  • Disable Recording: The mediator should turn off the recording feature for obvious reasons. Zoom allows its users to record video conference sessions to refer back to later, but during mediation, it’s not something we’d recommend you do. 
  • Breakout Rooms: As mentioned earlier, breakout rooms are a great way to establish camaraderie. In order to reap the benefits from this feature, the mediator needs to manually set this up.

Use Professional Backgrounds

Custom backgrounds on Zoom give participants the feeling that they are “in court”. With that in mind, the mediator should still exercise caution when choosing a background. An office that is uncluttered or a conference room can suffice (Zoom will also let you pick a virtual background that mimics the appearance of a real space). Whatever you select, opt for something that is professional and devoid of heavy distractions.

Mastering Online Dispute Resolution Tools With Zoom Mediation

Schuering Mediation is happy to accommodate clients with all kinds of preferences. Judge Mark A. Schuering (Ret.) has acquired over 11 years of experience as a civil mediator. To learn more on how to receive assistance through this platform, contact our team today! 

Contact Judge Mark A. Schuering (Ret.)

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(217) 257-6662