Originally published in Lawyers Weekly Magazine
Written by Luigi Benetton
Link to Luigi Benetton’s website with article
Face-to-face mediations won’t go away, but for cost reasons, they sometimes give way to videoconferencing.
Some professional mediators are banking on this trend. “It’s a great time to do online mediation,” Petra Maxwell says. The founder and CEO of New York-based MediationLine LLC, a “veteran” of about 15 video mediations (plus portions of others) gives several reasons why online mediation should take off. For starters, legal bills can quickly add up, and as the current economic climate continues to take a toll, people’s interest in saving money rises. Meanwhile, divorces, business disputes and other events calling for conflict resolution continue to occur.
There’s also an increasingly techno-comfortable market segment that expects such services. “In a divorce I recently mediated, the male was in New York, while the wife had already moved to California,” Maxwell explains. “They heard I handled mediation online and called me, asking to use Skype.”
Mark Shapiro is a newbie compared to Maxwell, having only participated in one commercial mediation so far. While with his former firm, the Toronto-based partner at Dickenson Wright LLP found himself in the offices of dispute resolution service provider ADR Chambers with the mediator (live) and the other party (via video feed from Ottawa).