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virtual mediation

Challenges and Opportunities of Virtual Mediation in Commercial Disputes

Mediation is successful in commercial disputes where informal attempts may have failed to bring different parties to an agreement. Online mediation continues to be a popular and convenient choice for alternative dispute resolution in the United States. This is especially true after the pandemic. Based on this, there are challenges to remote mediation that every business owner should be aware of.

Having a skilled business law attorney with a firm grasp of the opportunities and challenges associated with virtual mediation can help you achieve the best outcome in your commercial dispute.

Challenges to Virtual Mediation

Commitment Challenges

There are several advantages to in-person mediation which cannot be replicated in virtual mediation. The commitment of a party to attend in person encourages them to pursue a solution. This is partly fueled by the effort involved in getting to an organized mediation session at a physical location. Parties often realize that exiting an online meeting is easier.

Group Dynamics

It’s easier to observe reactions during an in-person meeting. There are several compensating benefits to a mediator. They can observe everyone at the same time. In-person meetings also allow for informal and accidental meetings on the way to the bathroom or coffee machine. This can be helpful in coming to an agreement.

Security Threats

The doctrine of confidentiality is a key reason why parties choose mediation for dispute resolution. This doctrine ensures that any sensitive financial information or personal information of businesses and corporates shared during the proceedings doesn’t become public knowledge. There are no records created during physically conducted mediations. All data and documents are stored and recorded in virtual meetings.

Virtual mediation proceedings are at a threat of Zoombombing and other cyber-attacks too. An unwarranted individual may be present in the peripheral space unaware of others. This can compromise the private and confidential nature of the proceedings. Less control of the mediation, cyber security concerns, and possible recording of a mediation session can serve as a vital disadvantage.

Digital platforms are required to keep the process transparent, safe, and acceptable so that confidentiality can be maintained during virtual sessions.

Opportunities for Virtual Mediation

Easier Logistics

The convenience and flexibility offered by online dispute resolution is one of its most remarkable benefits. There is no need for parties to physically visit the mediator’s office, which can save substantial amounts of time. It also empowers the mediator to quickly schedule the next session.

Online mediation has fewer logistical challenges than in-person mediation. The session doesn’t require multiple people from different locations to meet at a particular spot. This is particularly helpful during commercial disputes as you don’t have to take any time away from your operations. Online mediation is less time-consuming and inexpensive.

Minimal Stress

Disputing parties, during joint mediation, traditionally meet with the mediator and talk through various issues. In commercial disputes, meeting with the other party can be uncomfortable and triggering. Online mediation allows different people to join the session from the comfort of their homes.

They don’t have to be in the same room which can ease the pressure and help arrive at a resolution. Remote mediation facilitates a less stressful environment, which can allow participants to think more clearly and focus on resolving the dispute. Virtual mediation allows people to take part in better decision-making.

Improved Engagement

Many mediators worried about the impact of online mediation sessions during covid-19. With that said, this concern quickly disappeared in the face of the tremendous benefits and opportunities. Virtual mediation can be helpful in improving party engagement. Remote video conferencing software can be helpful in improving the collaborative focus during a session.

Mediators can take better control of the meeting using a screen-sharing feature to display notes, documents, and other materials. All parties can collectively focus on the topic at hand without any distractions. Online screen sharing usually brings better results as compared to paper documents.

Better Communication

Good communication is necessary during mediation, which makes it important for the mediator to remain in control and facilitate the session. Virtual conferencing has entirely changed the communication process. It has completely switched the medium of communication to video-based. Many mediators find video conferencing to benefit the overall communication process and mediation session.

They provide mediators with improved control and facilitate turn-taking. Online video conferencing allows for muting participants. Mediators can request all other parties to mute while someone is talking. This is useful in allowing each participant to share their opinion in an unpressured way. Participants can engage in more constructive conversations with the help of the mediator.

Choose a Knowledgeable Business Law Attorney to Protect Your Rights

The client-focused business law attorneys at the BHM Law Group are part of a multi-jurisdictional and multi-disciplinary team with a wealth of resources. Our attorneys are prepared to help you overcome all business and legal challenges within the sphere of alternative dispute resolution. Our dependable legal services based on years of experience and continuing education help our clients to always have the upper hand. To set up your consultation, call (205) 994-0902 or reach us online.