How to Have a Successful Virtual Mediation
Law firms across the country are discovering that virtual mediation, while newer in practice, may save considerable time and expense as opposed to its in-person equivalent. As your law firm shifts to remote dispute resolution, here are some tips to help increase your odds of success.
Have a Game Plan Ready
Being ready for mediation means more than having the case facts straight. Before sitting down at the mediation table (or computer desk), have your settlement consultant meet with your client over the phone or via a video platform to discuss needs, goals, and potential obstacles (e.g., government benefit eligibility issues, outstanding liens, etc.).
Your settlement consultant can then help 1) determine the full value of your client’s case, 2) set realistic expectations of what the defense may offer, and 3) review all potential settlement options.
Master Virtual Mediation Technology
Most of Sage’s clients who are conducting virtual mediations are using Zoom to do so. Zoom provides users with private breakout rooms and the ability to share and annotate documents.
Before participating in a virtual mediation, you’ll want to 1) select a mediator who is familiar with the technology, 2) conduct a practice run to ensure everything from the sound to the video and screen sharing will work, and 3) utilize a virtual background to cut down on distractions in your office space. (Tip: need a virtual background? Ask your Sage consultant!)
Include the Appropriate Language in the Mediation Agreement
The final step in making the most out of your virtual mediation is to include the appropriate language in the mediation agreement. Nothing is more frustrating than getting ready to finalize the settlement agreement and realizing that the defense doesn’t want to fund your client’s structured settlement annuity or your structured attorney fees.
To prevent any last-minute surprises, make sure the mediation agreement includes language that 1) enables you & your client to use the settlement consultant of your choice, and 2) allows you and your client to utilize structured settlement annuities and market-based structured settlements. (Tip: Ask your settlement consultant for the specific language to include).
Contact Sage Before Your Virtual Mediation
Even with the current uncertainty we’re all facing, it is still possible to facilitate a successful, cost-efficient resolution to your client’s case. Contact your Sage consultant today to learn more about how to make the most of your virtual mediation.