If you haven't already, go back and read the "What is Mediation" section of this website. There you will find a good overview of mediation and many of those answers will be the same for On-Line Mediation. Here you will find more specific answers about On-Line Mediation. Take a look and if you still have questions, feel free to give me a call at 301-730-7310 or drop me a note at CreeksideMediation@gmail.com for more info.
WHAT IS ON-LINE MEDIATION? At Creekside Mediation, on-line mediation refers to mediation performed via the Zoom platform. I will meet with all the parties (and their attorneys if you have one) together via Zoom just as if we were meeting in person at my Frederick office. I have chosen to use the Zoom platform because it allows me to meet with people very much the same way as I do when I meet with them in person. Zoom has a "waiting room" and "breakout rooms" where clients can meet with their attorneys privately and I can meet with clients separately if needed. Plus, most people are familiar with Zoom and can easily navigate its functions.
WHY USE ON-LINE MEDIATION? Mediation is a people business. It requires lots of talking and people contact. Beginning in March 2020 Creekside Mediation, like many businesses, found news ways to operate in the wake of COVID-19 when business-as-usual was not possible. On-line mediation has allowed me to continue serving my clients during these extraordinary times. With the prolonged court closure and resulting backlogged cases, my clients appreciate the opportunity to settle their cases and move forward with their lives from the safety and comfort of their homes. I've done on-line mediation with people sitting in their cars and in their closets - and it's not a Zoom meeting unless there's a pet appearance!!
IS IT SECURE? I take all the security precautions to make our Zoom sessions private and secure. Each session has its own individually generated meeting ID and password and all parties are admitted to the mediation via a "waiting room." None of the session are recorded.
IS IT EFFECTIVE? While I miss seeing people in person (in this and all parts of life) I have found that mediating on-line is just as effective as mediating in person.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ON-LINE MEDIATION? A few things my clients have told me they like about on-line mediation include: no masks; no driving in downtown Frederick; no parking in downtown Frederick; not having to get dressed to get to a meeting; being in the comfort of their own home for a stressful meeting; not having to see the other party in person for mediation. Now that virtual mediation has become the norm in this industry, I am actually finding that clients are more relaxed mediating from their homes, feel a greater sense of safety and security and therefore are able to make decisions with greater clarity which leads to better outcomes. This article explains one mediator's results www.mediate.com/articles/galton-benefits-virtual.cfm HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? The cost for on-line mediation is the same for in-person mediation. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, my fee is $300 per hour for time spent in mediation, and for the time spent drafting your Points of Agreement Reached in Mediation (POA) ready for filing with the court. Payment for on-line mediation is made electronically and you will indicate your payment preference as part of your intake paperwork.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE? I schedule the Zoom sessions in two hour blocks of time, just like my in-person sessions and the number of sessions needed still depends on the issues we need to cover and the level of agreement between the parties.
CAN I STILL DO IN-PERSON MEDIATION? Since it is working so well, at this time I am exclusively performing mediations via the Zoom platform. I am continuously monitoring the situation and will update this policy as events evolve. (updated July 2021)