The Future of Virtual Mediation

Now that restrictions from the pandemic are finally fading away and the world is preparing to return to “business as usual,” you might be anticipating waving goodbye to video calling services for good. But don’t get too ahead of yourself because many in the legal profession believe it could be here to stay.

Now that the average person has become accustomed to using technology and benefitting from the efficiency, affordability, and convenience that comes with it, why would we go back to old ways? Let’s take a look at what to expect from virtual mediation in the future.

The rise of virtual mediation

All types of mediation have been on the rise since the pandemic. With restrictions on court trials and the resulting backlog, more people have turned to mediation as a way to resolve their cases quickly.

As with so many areas of life, remote solutions were introduced to reduce the spread of the virus. But health and safety wasn’t the only benefit of doing things this way. Many people found that virtual mediation brought all kinds of advantages, including:

  • No time or money has to be spent on travel.
  • Easier to fit in sessions when nobody has to travel.
  • More affordable.
  • Many people feel more comfortable having the sessions in their own home.

A few years ago, certain demographics weren’t confident with using software like Zoom or Teams since they’d never been required to use it before. However, the pandemic has forced most people to get to grips with this technology, meaning that video calls no longer have the same barriers to entry.

What to expect from the future

Thanks to the benefits outlined above, there’s good reason to expect that virtual mediation is going to stick around. Why let go of something that’s worked so well for so many people?

Yet just because it seems that virtual mediation is here to stay, it doesn’t mean that it will completely replace in-person mediation. Some people will always have a preference for carrying out their sessions in-person after experiencing “Zoom fatigue”, and it may be necessary for more complex cases. We all know how people can get drowned out and talked over on video calls, and the lack of complete body language combined with eye contact can make it harder to have those difficult conversations.

Mediators may increasingly have to play a role in controlling these types of issues by finding ways to encourage human connection in a somewhat unnatural environment and make their clients comfortable. Given this is part of the skillset needed to mediate professionally, it shouldn’t be much of a stretch, but more innovation in this area would be welcome.

Is mediation part of your future?

Nobody can make a 100% accurate prediction for what the future of mediation is going to look like, but the only question that really matters is figuring out the right choice for you. If you’ve decided that a virtual approach would suit your needs, the next big question is finding the right mediator.

Donita King is a trained, experienced lawyer-mediator adept at carrying out virtual mediation through all the most popular video calling software. To find out more about how she can help you, contact her law offices today.

Donita King

Ms. King is a member of the Virginia, Pennsylvania, and D.C. State Bars. She also serves as a University of Richmond School of Law Adjunct Professor of Mediation. She previously served on the Virginia Bar Association Joint ADR Council (2015 Chair), and served for several years on the Governor of Virginia’s Interagency Dispute Resolution Council. Ms. King currently serves as a board member of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board by appointment of the Virginia Supreme Court and has been active with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Women in Business as well. Se habla espanol.

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