As people begin to adjust to the new realities of “social distancing” and the re-opening of our state, it is becoming clear that there are many things that we can all do to keep ourselves and our families safer. One of the easiest things that we can do is to use a teleconferencing platform like Zoom or Webex to replace in-person meetings.
I am now offering online consultations as well as online mediation and arbitration services. Although I was initially reluctant, I have discovered that these services makes me much more accessible to clients. During the current Covid-19 crisis, online meetings have become an especially convenient way for people to seek advice from an attorney or to seek alternative ways to resolve their disputes. Meeting online allows people to conduct the process from the safety and comfort of their own home. Based on my own experience, I believe that online meetings will remain a part of the practice of law long after the coronavirus threat has ended.
There are several benefits to meeting online:
Social Distancing is Built Into the Process
While our state is re-opening, maintaining social distancing is still important. Online meetings can be an important part of that process. In an online platform, everyone is physically separated while being virtually connected. There is no risk of contracting a virus or transmitting it to others.
Meeting Online is Convenient
When in-person meetings are required, scheduling a time and place can become a chore. You have to drive to an office and find a place to park. When the meeting is conducted online, you don’t have to worry about the travel logistics. You only have to set-aside the specific time for each meeting.
Meeting Online is Effective
Meeting online can create a safer, more comfortable environment. This is true especially for online dispute resolution. The virtual distance created by online mediation and arbitration sessions can relieve some of the stress that occurs when parties are in the same physical location.
Privacy, Confidentiality and Efficiency
When you schedule an online meeting, you can select who is sent an invitation to your meeting. During the meeting, you can see everyone who is participating. When you are meeting online, there are tools available to review and edit documents. Using the screen sharing function of the online teleconferencing platform, you can securely review documents, line by line, with everyone viewing the same page at the same time. This can lead to more efficient and productive meetings.
These are certainly strange times in which we live, but we must remember that we are all in this together. Please consider meeting online the next time that you need legal advice or want to resolve your case through mediation or arbitration. Stay safe!