I recently read this blog post and it made me think: why would someone prefer “virtual mediation” via Skype or some other video conferencing tool? Lots of reasons. Here are a few:
1. Travel Time/Expense. Perhaps you are a food or agriculture producer or agribusiness owner and do not live/work around New York City. Or perhaps you live in New York City and your spouse, in a divorce or family law dispute, lives across the country (or across the globe).
2. Work/Family/Life Schedule. It might be easier to schedule a “virtual mediation” when all the parties are available via Skype. Alternatively, one-party caucus sessions can be scheduled with both parties at a time that is convenient for them. It might be easier to block out an hour or two of time if you knew you could do it at your office.
3. Save Mediation Expenses. Perhaps you would like to have a mediator with experience in food, agriculture, environmental animal law and there is not a mediator in your community with the skill set you are looking for. I am available to travel for mediation – but I do charge for travel time (reduced travel rate) and expenses. Virtual mediation will save you money in mediator overhead for resolving your dispute.
4. House Bound? Perhaps you are involved in a commercial dispute and are you house bound for whatever reason. Perhaps you have an elderly relative or a sick child that you are nursing or you are house bound for a few weeks while you recover from back surgery. Virtual mediation maybe just what the doctor ordered.
Is virtual mediation ideal? Of course not. But neither is conflict. Sometimes you need to do what you can so that everyone can peacefully resolve a dispute and move forward. Virtual mediation via Skype might just be the convenience that you or your adversary need. If you have questions on virtual mediation, consider speaking to an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction or reach out to mediator (via Skype!).
Oh, by the way, you can find me via Skype at cari.rincker.