From the DeGroote Partners Meditation Center in Dallas’s Deep Ellum mediation hub, our team has been working to identify new ways to conduct mediations and arbitrations. While every case is different, we find that mediations can proceed in one of the following ways:
Mediation by Video. Hosting mediations by video is a seamless way to connect, while still offering the elements of privacy and discretion that are key to any mediation. When evaluating video ADR tools, we prioritize the following:
- easy-to-use interface;
- private breakout rooms;
- document sharing capabilities; and
- private chat-by-text features.
We believe Zoom is the best tool for complex multi-party disputes, but other platforms and services are available.
Shuttle Diplomacy by Phone over Time. As a former General Counsel, I recall that one of my most significant settlements was mediated in large part through separate calls initiated by the mediator over the course of several weeks. This was great for the parties and their counsel, as no one had to travel and everyone had time to think. This tailored service is effective, and it isn’t hard to implement.
Mediation in Person. As soon as local guidelines allow—and assuming you still prefer to mediate in person—you and your mediator will want to consider the following:
- compliance with the stated limit on gatherings and participants in one location;
- practicing social distancing so everyone is just a little more comfortable, and safe;
- communicating about health; if anyone feels sick or has a fever, plan to move the mediation online.
With planning and forethought, we can continue to mediate effectively and efficiently. If you are considering how to advance your mediation, please feel free to email or call to discuss what you need to get your deal done.
Until then, be safe out there–