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5 Advantages to Mediation by Video Conference

June 25, 2020

By: Melody Lynch

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Florida, in-person mediations are not occurring in most instances. Prior to the pandemic, most lawyers disfavored mediation by video conference and believed that mediation in person was necessary to the successful resolution of litigation. However, the global pandemic has forced all of us to take a hard look at those norms and to re-evaluate mediations via video conference.

Upon closer examination, virtual/remote mediations via video conference have revealed some surprising advantages over traditional in-person mediation conferences. Here are the top 5 advantages to mediation via video conference which are applicable during the global pandemic and well beyond:

  1. Saves money. Mediation by video conference saves the parties’ money. There are no travel expenses for the mediator, the parties, or their counsel related to a mediation via video conference. Additionally, attorneys’ and mediator’s fees are reduced because they do not include time to travel to and from the mediation location.

  2. Keeps the visual aspects but subtracts the animus. For highly contested cases, mediation can be personally difficult for the parties, particularly when individuals or closely-held family companies are involved in the dispute. Typically, the parties commence mediation in a joint session, with the parties and their lawyers are in the same room with the mediator during opening statements. While the joint session can be dispensed with, as needed, many in-person mediations are not as successful without the opening joint session which sets the table for the resulting negotiations. However, taking the opening session virtual can remove the animus between the parties and allow the visual aspect of the in-person gathering to continue without the emotional component that often creates barriers to the resolution of cases.

  3. Brings the power. Mediations by video conference encourage participation by individuals that would often not be able to make time for traditional mediation. By removing the travel burden, CEOs, CFOs and other high-level decision makers are now more readily available. The company benefits from this participation and strategy in the mediation, and the executive is freed up to return to pressing matters at the company with the click of a button instead of a cross-country flight.   
  4. Extends our reach. In a mediation by video conference, geography is no longer a barrier. Parties can retain the best mediator and the best lawyers to handle their dispute. Geography is no longer an issue or an impediment to using the right neutral or the right counsel to get your case resolved promptly.

  5. Happens faster. Without the added complications associated with travel, mediations via video conference can be scheduled more quickly than traditional in-person mediations. Child care, pet care and other personal matters are also reduced when mediation moves from the boardroom to the Zoom-room. 
While a vaccine for COVID-19 will hopefully be developed by early 2021, mediation by video conference is likely here to stay for the future. With its many benefits and advantages, remote mediation by video conference is worthy of your consideration long after we are able to safely return to conference and boardrooms. 

If you have questions about a litigation matter and your dispute resolution options, please contact Melody Lynch at 407-418-6447 or to discuss your options. 

For the latest COVID-19 updates and information, visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center.

This article is informational only. You should consult an attorney before acting or failing to act. The law may change rapidly and no warranty is given. LOWNDES DISCLAIMS ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. ALL ARTICLES ARE PROVIDED AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS. Consult a Lowndes attorney if you wish to establish an attorney/client relationship.

Melody Lynch is a litigator and founding member of the firm’s Privacy, Cybersecurity and eDiscovery Group. She focuses her legal practice on complex business litigation, banking litigation, probate & trust litigation, guardianship, intellectual property litigation, labor & employment litigation, family law and step-parent adoption.

Melody  has worked on matters involving a wide variety of business disputes, employment contracts, non-competition agreements, non-disclosure agreements and trade secrets. Her estate litigation practice focuses on matters involving wills, trusts, or guardianships.

A frequent author and lecturer on the topics of employment law, eDiscovery, workplace privacy and technology, Melody assists clients in preparing document retention and destruction policies. She has litigated complex cases involving voluminous amounts of electronically stored information (ESI), designing review platforms and managing document preservation, collection, and production efforts through settlement or trial.

The court room isn’t the only stage on which Melody has appeared. Before pursuing her career in law, Melody attended college on a ballet scholarship and danced with a professional ballet company as an apprentice dancer. Lynch received her bachelor’s degree from Butler University, is a graduate of Stetson University College of Law and holds an M.B.A from Stetson University. She often calls on her educational background, augmented by experience, to counsel clients on complex business and employment matters. She has represented clients in the health care, environmental, hospitality, and banking industries, among others.

Additionally, Melody is heavily involved in the Central Florida community and has been awarded with the Presidential Leadership Award by the Orange County Bar Association. Additionally she was named "40 under 40" by the Orlando Business Journal. She holds positions on boards of several organizations, which are all included below. She is a Guardian ad Litem for the Legal Aid Society where she represents the interests of abused and neglected children. She is a pro bono attorney for Seniors First where she represents the interests of indigent elderly wards. 

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