ADR & Mediation

Tips for Online Mediations using Zoom

By Charles P. Bauer*

  1. Before the Scheduled Mediation Day
    1. The attorney and client will receive an Invitation to the Mediation using Zoom, unless the attorney wants to forward the Invitation to the Mediation to the client.
    2. Each person will need a desktop, laptop, iPad or cell phone, with a camera and microphone, if the client and attorney are in separate locations during the Mediation.
    3. Each person must:
      1. have a secure connection and good signal for the Mediation (no public locations, such as an airport, coffee shop, etc.);
      2. plan to be respectful, courteous, and confidential with no/minimal distractions during the Mediation (no one else is allowed to hear or see the Mediation without express permission from everyone involved in the Mediation; and no video or audio recording is permitted);
      3. have a "back-up plan" if connections during the Mediation go down (don't panic: 1) try to log back into Zoom; 2) contact the Mediator by email or cell phone); and
      4. be prepared for the Mediation (practice a Zoom meeting with afriend, family member, or attorney).
    4. Each person must want to:
      1. have a neutral, quiet, professional/business background, with some lighting (not too much), and only shoulders-up appearance for the Mediation;
      2. download Zoom before the Mediation (a free Zoom account is at https://zoom.us click "Sign Up, It's Free" or https://zoom.us click "Resources" then "Download Zoom Client"; or for an iPhone or Android phone, download the "Zoom Cloud Meetings app");
      3. practice with Zoom; and
      4. view video tutorials at https://zoom.us under "Resources."
  2. On the Scheduled Mediation Day
    1. About 5 minutes before the Mediation starts, click the "Join Zoom Meeting" link contained in your Invitation email sent to you several days before.
    2. Once you join the Mediation, automatically you will be placed into separate virtual "Waiting Rooms" until all participants join the Mediation.
      1. No one can see or hear you in the Waiting Rooms;
      2. The Mediator will briefly "visit" each client and counsel privately for introductions.
    3. The Mediator will then bring all clients and attorneys into a virtual "Joint Session" (if a Joint Session is agreed-upon).
      1. In the Joint Session with the mediator and all participants, everyone will be able to see and hear each other;
      2. The Mediator will explain the process;
      3. Attorneys (and clients) may make presentations. Questions and answers may occur.
    4. The Mediator will then set-up private and confidential virtual "Break-Out Rooms" for each client and attorney to be together and move them to the individual Break-Out Room.
      1. In the Break-Out Room, each attorney and client can talk privately and confidentially by themselves, and with the Mediator;
      2. Opposing counsel and parties will not be able to see or hear the private and confidential Break-Out Room discussions;
      3. If the Mediation has multiple parties and counsel, the client and attorney might want to "visit" with others in their Break-Out Rooms.
    5. The Mediator will try to obtain a settlement/resolution by going back and forth, from Break-Out Room to Break-Out Room.
      1. When the Mediator leaves a Break-Out Room, the client and attorney can continue to discuss matters privately and confidentially;
      2. The Mediator can rejoin some or all clients and attorneys back into a Joint Session, if needed;
      3. Documents can be exchanged through "screen sharing" and virtual "white boards" can be used at any time.
    6. Settlement. A settlement Memo of Understanding (MOU) or Settlement Agreement can be used, created and signed.
  3. Any Questions or Comments: Please contact Marianne Kulacz (kulacz@gcglaw.com or 603.934.0327) or Charlie Bauer (bauer@gcglaw.com or 603.496.4595)

* Charles P. Bauer is licensed to practice in New Hampshire.

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Charlie Bauer
You may contact
Charlie Bauer at 603-545-3651.

See also:
Employment Mediation Best Practices