Ducharme Resolutions is now offering the option of online mediation using Zoom as a platform. Zoom is a simple, user-friendly platform that is free to participants. Zoom allows Ducharme Resolutions to invite counsel, clients, insurance professionals and any other necessary participant to a virtual mediation using a link to an online session which can be conducted efficiently, confidentially and effectively.
I strongly encourage all participants to sign up for Zoom prior to their first scheduled session. This makes using the meeting specific link much quicker when the mediation is ready to go forward. This can be done at https://zoom.us/
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
- A strong, secure, internet or wifi signal.
- A device with both a microphone and a camera.
- The willingness to try something new.
HOW WILL IT WORK?
- You will receive a meeting invitation. It will provide a link to the scheduled meeting.
- On the day of the meeting, click the link to join the meeting. This is no more complicated than joining a conference call. I suggest joining 5 to 10 minutes early.
- You will be placed in a waiting room which I can see. You will not be able to hear or talk to each other until I see all invitees have “arrived” and I start the meeting.
WHAT CAN WE DO IN A ZOOM MEETING?
Just about everything we can do in a traditional mediation, except shake hands and drink coffee:
- Spend time together in one “room.”
- Break out into private sessions. I, as the meeting host, have the ability to set up breakout rooms and move from room to room.
- Adjust the use of breakout rooms on the fly. For example, in a multi-party case I can place two defense teams in one room for a private discussion and then join that discussion when invited.
- Share documents as necessary. I still strongly encourage sharing those documents you anticipate will be used in advance of the session as we always have done.
- Bring everyone back together to memorialize an agreement, discuss impasse or plan next steps.
PRACTICE POINTERS TO REDUCE ANXIETY, PROTECT CONFIDENTIALITY, MANAGE SNAFUS AND MAXIMIZE THE ON LINE MEETING BENEFITS
- Exchange phone numbers in advance. Things go wrong and it’s good to have a fall back form of communication in place to regroup.
- Conduct your part of the meeting in a truly private and secure environment. Dunkin Donuts in not secure. Either is your kitchen where the cleaning person will be working. Remind clients and claims professionals of the need for a truly private environment to protect the confidentiality of the process.
- Give the mediation the attention you would as if participating in a conventional live mediation. Avoid the urge to multi-task.
- Set your computer up against a solid wall for a back drop if possible rather than with windows or lights behind you.
So far, the reaction to Zoom mediations has been positive. The learning curve is small and not too steep. As we work through the current COVID-19 crisis, Zoom is providing peace of mind and a way to keep mediations on track. Post COVID-19 we will continue to offer Zoom mediations as needed and requested to alleviate travel and weather induced logistical hurdles,as well as for any other reason agreeable to the parties involved.