It is an interesting time for everyone, including attorneys. We are advocates for our clients in the Courts and in our clients’ offices negotiating various deals. Like everyone else, the traditional ways of making things happen have been taken away. While the Courts in Texas are doing everything possible in order to move cases along, as recently as earlier this week, judges are confirming here in Montgomery County there will be no in-person hearings in the near future. In the world of COVID-19, there has never been a better time to look at alternative means of resolving matters using a third-party neutral mediator. The mere fact that many businesses are not operational and are forced to cut back has created incentives for many to try to create certainty for the future by resolving previously unresolved disputes now.
So how does mediation work when we cannot get together in a room? One of the real positives of technology is that with a smart phone, iPad and/or webcam we can use videoconferencing tools, such as Zoom or Facetime to very effectively mediate virtually with multiple persons and parties from anywhere and at any time. As an example, we are setting up separated meetings (your own separate virtual “space”) for the respective parties with specific schedules and times for needed interaction. We can share documents on the screens, see people’s faces, judge reactions, interact and most importantly try to move the ball toward resolution, while effectively utilizing everyone’s time and keeping them in a safe place physically. I have been a certified mediator since 1995 and have to say in my 25 years of doing this, the technological tools for communication are incredibly effective in many respects!
We encourage all our judicial and attorney friends to take this time to consider whether a virtual mediation in the coming weeks makes sense in any of your cases. We also suggest that attorneys involved in currently active litigation check the Court’s orders and deadlines for attending mediation and get that mediation scheduled “virtually” if required or timely. For our friends at the Courts, we are open for business and ready to mediate any cases ripe for doing so in order to move your docket in these difficult times. Most certainty when the Courts “reopen” there will be a log jam of cases, making the mediation of cases now a potential win/win for everyone. We are ready to mediate!
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