2020’s major adaptation of moving daily business online has also been revolutionary in the legal world. Parties have successfully adapted to resolving legal matters online, including through trials, hearings, arbitrations, and virtual mediations.
There are a variety of secure platforms that facilitate safe and secure online mediation, alleviating the need for in-person appearances. Virtual mediation requires private teleconferencing, e-signing, and electronic file sharing. For teleconferencing, there are platforms like Zoom, which provides private “breakout rooms” so the parties can privately meet with their lawyer and caucus with the mediator. Zoom provides the ability to create multiple meeting rooms, so it can accommodate even a large group of participants.
Zoom also enables screen sharing so that documents can be viewed by all participants at once, and the participants can even all sign the agreement to mediate and settlement agreement in real-time directly through the Zoom platform. E-signing can alternatively be accomplished through a dedicated e-signing platform such as HelloSign or DocuSign. These capabilities have proven to be very effective for parties and lawyers who desire to mediate from different locations. Only an internet connection and phone or computer with a camera and audio are needed. Conducting mediation virtually saves everyone involved substantial time and money that would be spent traveling to one location.