This is definitely a time for all of us to look inward and contemplate what is really important in our lives. The most important thing for all of us is to take care of our family and close friends. It is strange that the best way to do this seems to be to isolate ourselves from one another-the exact opposite of what we usually do in a crisis. In spite of these health challenges, the law remains a jealous mistress and demands not to be ignored. I have had some mediations continued; however, the wise ones have opted for alternative methods to resolve conflicts. Hence the central purpose of this newsletter:
That’s right, I am fully capable of using this amazing software which allows us to communicate in person while being miles apart. I have already conducted a number of mediations on Zoom. The National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals to which I was elected several years ago has given classes on the use of Zoom in mediation. They even set up their staff to conduct practice sessions. There are some differences in live mediation versus an online conference. Just as in a live mediation one needs to set up break out rooms and be able to move participants in and out of rooms. It was a little tricky at first but now it seems to be working seamlessly. If they don’t want to see one another the parties never have to meet face to face. One unexpected consequence is that adjustors who were reluctant to travel to Tucson have no problem appearing live by Zoom. Is this the wave of the future?
My answer is yes. Every mediation I have conducted online has been successful. As lawyers you know that 60-70% of communication is visual. Online from wherever you choose to be located is so much more effective and satisfying than a telephonic conference.
I should mention that I have seen some gossip that Zoom has been hacked. I am told by reliable sources that most of this was competitor jealousy. I personally have not experienced any difficulties even though I have used Zoom for family meetings and even my Spanish class. Nevertheless, Zoom has responded by instituting heightened security measures. In this article I have been discussing Zoom because that is what I am familiar with. However, I recently downloaded another platform at the request of a client and would be willing to try your favorite platform if you desire.
So, stay safe, don’t hoard, practice social distancing, and remember me when you have that difficult case that begs to be resolved short of trial.