It goes by a variety of names, Online Dispute Resolution (ODR), eMediation or Online Mediation. Regardless of what you call it, Online Mediation is an innovative and efficient alternative to the conventional in-person mediation.
Online Mediation was first developed to make the justice system available to people who, for a multitude of reasons, could not readily access it. Now, however, online technology can make our evolved mediation system more flexible and adaptable to the way mediation is actually used here in Florida.
· No travel time or expense
· The technology emulates an in-person mediation
· Well suited to simple controversies that likely can be resolved in a half-day mediation
· Well suited if parties, lawyers or decision makers are geographically remote
Online Mediation can make the logistics of mediation simpler. If getting together is made easier in the first place, there will be more time to actually mediate and fewer obstacles to scheduling a second session, if needed. Time pressure and the reluctance to get together again because of cost (both time and money) are often the cause of impasses.
Online Mediation can lower the cost of mediation. Those costs may include travel time, transportation and accommodation costs, parking, etc. for both the lawyers, their clients and other decision makers. The technology emulates an in-person mediation (private caucuses, confidentiality, document sharing, preparation and execution) but, obviously, it lacks personal interaction, something that only comes from physical proximity. I think, however, that online ways of communicating hold promise, if we use them thoughtfully and appropriately.
Online Mediation is not for everybody or every situation. Please contact me to discuss whether Online Mediation is the appropriate ADR format for your case.