How to use Video Conferencing Amid COVID-19 Outbreak for Mediation

 

People may question how a video conference mediation would work.  Optimally, each participant would have a laptop, desktop, tablet, iPad, iPhone, Smart phone or other device with a web camera.  An individual could participate with one of these devices without a web camera, but the mediation would work best if everyone could see each other.

BAY utilizes a videoconferencing service (Zoom) that allows the participants to join a video conference mediation by either downloading a small amount of software onto their device or through their browser.  Since the video conference can be accessed through the participants browser, software does not have to be downloaded.  This allows persons that work at businesses that do not allow software from third parties to be downloaded to participate in the video conference with little or no limitations.

 

An invitation is sent to all of the participants that allows the people to join the video conference at a scheduled time.  The participants can access the video conference from wherever their laptop or other device is located.  Once the participants join the video conference, all of the participants can see each other, if everyone has a web camera, or the participants can see someone has joined the video conference without a camera.  All of the participants can talk with each other and can set the program to show all of the participants (gallery view) or to show the participant that is speaking (speaker view).  It is easy to switch back and forth between gallery view and speaker view.  All of participants could share their desktops, power point presentations, videos, photographs, documents, Google earth or any other things on the participant’s browser.  The participants can also send documents, images, etc. to all of the participants, which could then be downloaded by the participants.

 

The videoconferencing software allows virtual breakout rooms to be created.  This would allow the mediator to set up breakout rooms for each party.  Only the mediator could access the breakout room, and each participant in the breakout room could hear and see each other and do all of the things with the other breakout room participants that could be done outside the breakout room.  This would allow the mediator to hold caucuses with each breakout room and the other parties would not be able to hear or see what is being discussed.  At any point, the mediator could end the breakout rooms and bring all of the participants back together.

 

The long and short of all of this is that a video conference mediation could be held that would be very similar to a mediation where all of the participants were attending in person.  The big advantage is the participants would not be exposed to the other participants and would not have a concern about being exposed to the Coronavirus.

If you have any questions about a video conference mediation, please contact Kate Luse at kel@bayadr.com or Victoria Ward at vjw@bayadr.com.  If you would like to schedule a video conference mediation, please contact Kate Luse at kel@bayadr.com.  BAY looks forward to providing safe, efficient and effective alternative dispute resolution services to you.