We are in shock over the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. Courts have ceased operations, deadlines are on hold, and depositions are at a standstill. The return of the normal life of a litigator is unknown. However, when the courts reopen, the business will still be there, and we can only hope our workloads will double, maybe triple, playing catch-up.
For cases that are at or near the settlement stage, now is the time to schedule mediations. Mediation can resolve those cases and lighten the load when the courts reopen. Virtual mediation is available as we work from home offices and maintain social distancing, the end of which is currently unknown.
At Watson Spence, Joe Dent is ready to handle all your virtual mediation needs. The process is simple and easy. No special equipment is needed. We all have WIFI, and you can use your laptop, smartphone or tablet.
Counsel and the parties are provided a link to click and join a meeting from their home offices, basements or living rooms. When they join the conference, they will be able to see and hear each other. An opening session is held just as if the parties were together in a conference room at Watson Spence. Then, Joe Dent can set the parties up in breakout rooms, and he can virtually visit each room for a caucus, just as if they were in separate conference rooms at Watson Spence. Documents can be shared with the participants, and when the case is resolved, the parties can virtually sign a Memorandum of Settlement.
Courts declaring an emergency has definitely slowed the practice of law. However, this downtime can be used to resolve cases that are ready for mediation. Resolving cases ready for settlement now will definitely lighten your caseload when the courts are up and running again. Don’t find yourself trying to cram 3 months of business into 2 months when you can arrange a virtual mediation now.