In a time of social distancing, it is of critical importance that we are able to support our clients and their families, including exploring options to resolve ongoing disputes. Mediation is an important tool to accomplish out of court settlements. It is common across our areas of practice: personal injury claims, insurance denials, estate litigation and commercial disputes, for example.
In recent weeks, we have swiftly moved from in-person to virtual dispute resolution, since social distancing and self-isolation have become mandatory. Virtual mediation is not necessarily new, but it has not been widely used, since most mediations could previously be conducted in person.
Transition to virtual mediation has been reasonably smooth so far. Platforms such a Zoom allow group meetings, as well as private virtual ‘rooms’ for lawyer and client meetings away from other parties. These processes allow for real-time discussions such as in-person mediation. Documents can be shared, if necessary, although typically all documents have been shared prior to mediation. The virtual platforms allow mediators and counsel to still use direct communication and negotiation, like in-person mediation. Most importantly, virtual face-to-face mediation preserves the personal element which can be very important in mediation, as opposed to negotiation by email or telephone only.
At Hammerberg Lawyers, we have been using virtual meeting platforms and seeking out as much training and education as possible to be leaders in our field in virtual dispute resolution. Despite the ongoing global crisis, we continue to protect and preserve our clients’ rights and seek opportunities to resolve claims outside the formal trial process where it is beneficial to our clients.
Contact us for more information.
Written by Krista Simon