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Resolving Disputes Online

Resolving Disputes Online During COVID-19 with a Business Mediator in Colorado

The coming months will likely see a lot of remote mediation used for settling legal disputes.  It is a safe way to deal with legal issues while still observing social distancing guidelines intended to slow the spread of COVID-19.   Working with a business mediator in Colorado who handles mediation sessions online can help you move your legal dispute forward during these unprecedented times.

In many areas, courts are closed.  Others might be open but they have a limited schedule and many cases have slowed their progression through the system.  Court officials are prioritizing what they have to deal with, which means many things have been put on the backburner.

The good news is this does not mean your legal dispute needs to come screeching to a halt during the pandemic.  Online business mediation is a tool that allows parties to negotiate a settlement without having to be in the same room.  The process gives companies involved in litigate the chance to deal with problems without delays.

Benefits of Business Mediation

Mediation has been used for years to resolve commercial disputes.  It is extremely popular in business because it is efficient, confidential, and less expensive than litigation.  It helps to preserve mutually beneficial relationships that might otherwise be destroyed through litigation.  It also leaves the parties involved in the dispute directly in control of their situation.

One of the most important aspects of mediation is communication.  Mediators guide those involved in a dispute and help them stay focused on finding a resolution outside of the courtroom.  This involves a great deal of face-to-face interaction and discussion about an issue.

But not being able to meet in person does not mean that mediation still cannot be effective.  There is nothing in the rules regarding mediation or the social distancing guidelines that would prevent remote mediation.  As a matter of fact, it is one of the best ways to resolve a legal issue during these unprecedented times.

Mediation during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Working with a business mediator in Colorado gives you an opportunity to put an end to legal disputes, even when you do not have the same options as you did in the COVID-19-free world.

The fact is some parts of mediation were already remote.  In most cases, parties did not really come together until the time came to negotiate a settlement.  Agreeing to mediation, exchanging mediation case statements, and other aspects of the process were handled without people in the same room.  It is the day of mediation that required in-person meeting.

Benefits of Remote Business Mediation

Remote mediation is different than in-person mediation, but that does not mean it is not just as effective.

Remote sessions are easier to plan because they do not require anyone to travel.  And at the moment, people are home and able to focus on the negotiation.  Not being in physical proximity also tends to make negotiations easier because there is less tension.  Many business mediators in Colorado have found that mediation participants are more direct and reaching a settlement is easier when the session is held remotely.

What You Need for Online Mediation

The only things that are needed to participate in online mediation is a computer, a webcam, and access to virtual meeting software.  There are many options.  The best platforms allow for easy switching between different meetings, so mediators can privately discuss issues with clients, as well as work with them as a group.

It is also important to keep the risk for technical glitches in mind.  This is especially true when there are multiple parties involved in a session.  Although this is normal for online meetings, it can be especially problematic when dealing with sensitive issues and tensions that are already high.  It can help to do a trial run with participants individually.  This ensures that at least everyone is familiar with the tools being used and that any glitches will be those that are unavoidable.

Parties should make sure they have a way to communicate in the group, individually with the mediator, and privately with their attorneys.  There are many options for achieving these goals and it is important to work out the details in advance of mediation day.

It can also help to keep the number of people participating in the virtual mediation to a minimum.  The more people there are the less chance there is for effective communication, so those participating should be on an as-needed basis.

In order for a mediation to be successful, parties must trust the mediator and be willing to approach the process with an open mind.  It can take time to build trust, so it is important there be conversations between the mediator and participants in the days leading up to the mediation session.

If you would like to discuss how online mediation might help your business resolve a dispute during this unusual time of social distancing or you would like to schedule a consultation with a business mediator in Colorado, contact Paul Gordon at 720-505-0536.


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