Online asynchronous mediation platforms like CREK ODR offer a great opportunity for disputes that may not need a traditional face to face mediation. This could be either because the size or complexity of the case does not warrant it. Or it could be because the parties are in distant locations and other time zones.
So, what it asynchronous mediation? Simply put, it’s a means for parties to mediate through written communication either in caucus with the mediator or with everyone through a joint session. Parties can post their communications when they choose. The mediator receives a notice that a message has been posted and can immediately access it. If communication with the other party is warranted, the mediator can then post a message for the other party to view. Asynchronous mediations can be conducted on a stand alone basis or in conjunction with telephone calls or video meeting.
So why not just use e-mail instead? There are several reasons. First, an online platform like CREK ODR offers the parties a secure place to communicate. Communications cannot be forwarded, and all the communications are contained in a single secure location. The platform also allows parties to share documents and briefs with the mediator or with other parties.
In addition to convenience there are other reasons to consider asynchronous mediation. Asynchronous mediation can be a more efficient way to negotiate, thereby cutting down the time involved by the parties and the mediator. It avoids spending long hours sitting in a conference room waiting for the mediator to return. Also, because it is asynchronous, it affords the parties an opportunity to carefully consider proposals and strategies and to communicate them on their own timetable. Finally, asynchronous mediations can take some of the tension and emotion out of emotionally charged cases, and can be helpful in dealing with contentious or difficult clients and counsel.
I wish they had platforms like CREK ODR when I was practicing. It would have avoided some awkward and non-productive settlement discussions with opposing counsel. It also would have avoided spending lots of money on traditional mediation when the case didn’t warrant it. As a mediator, I am happy to mediate asynchronously on CREK ODR, and my reduced fee schedule reflects the efficiency I have experienced with online asynchronous mediation.
Consider it for your next case!