Mediation via Zoom at the DRC
Q: Will mediation using Zoom require me to share video with all the other people involved in the case?
A: Zoom will allow mediators to place individuals and their attorneys into separate conferences. Our customary “caucus” style in which each party is given their own private room to discuss their case with the mediator will also be available via Zoom. You will not have to share your video feed with any opposing party.
Q: Will mediation over Zoom take longer? Will I be stuck in front of a screen and camera for an entire day?
A: During in-person mediation, we expect individuals to set aside up to 8 hours of distraction-free time in our offices where we can ensure that there will be minimal disruptions. Using Zoom at home during this time of “shelter-in-place” will not give us the same time and space to mediate. We expect mediation over Zoom to take place in several shorter periods, allowing for breaks as well as allowing individuals to take care of necessities during this trying time. Scheduling will be flexible and focus on creating space for several blocks of time where several hours can be spent on mediation at a time rather than expecting an entire day.
Q: How will I join a Zoom video conference for mediation? Do I need a computer?
A: Registering for a free Zoom account at Zoom.us is the first step. Their website will guide you in downloading the simple application that we will use. You may use any laptop or desktop computer with wireless internet access. A smartphone with wireless internet access will also work. If you are without wireless internet access, a dial-in telephone can provide you with voice access only. The DRC will schedule a pre-mediation “check-in” to ensure that all parties have their technical difficulties addressed 24-48 hours before mediation is scheduled to begin.
Q: Can I expect mediation to work when we are using remote conferencing?
A: Mediators have often used phone and video conferencing successfully, and the DRC expects to be able to provide quality mediation by whatever means necessary to keep individuals safe. If you are able to participate and are committed to finding a creative solution to your conflict, then mediation using Zoom can work. If you are not comfortable using video-conferences or are not able to participate due to the stress of life during a pandemic, then we are happy to postpone service until we can mediate again in-person.