Keeping Mediations Safe During the Pandemic Using Virtual Mediation

Lakeside Mediation Center

                One of the regrettable consequences of the pandemic is that COVID-19 has become a political issue. Lakeside Mediation has objectively examined the current health science regarding the virus and will not conduct in-person mediations (as much as we very much miss them) until doing so is safe and worry-free for all participants. Our reasoning is as follows:

  1. We now know people are infectious before they have symptoms, so absence of symptoms or fever does not eliminate concern.
  2. Vulnerability of each participant depends on age, immune system, and pre-existing conditions. There are too many variables to safely control.
  3. Social distancing works well outside and in large spaces. Density of people, quality of ventilation, and, most importantly, duration or length of exposure are all critical factors.
  4. During in-person mediation, the risks are greater because participants spend more time together. Six feet of spacing even with masks for lengthy periods indoors is no guarantee of safety.
  5. Mediation with masks and social distancing and none of the usual amenities is less personal in Lakeside’s opinion.
  6. Mediation participants are stressed enough about their conflicts to have health concerns superimposed on them.
  7. We do not want the lawyers we value to have their judgment challenged, or worse be liable, for failure to advise their clients about virtual alternatives or for insisting on in-person mediations when effective virtual alternatives are available.
  8. With nearly 100 virtual mediations under our belts, Lakeside Mediation has determined that settlement rates at virtual mediation are the same if not slightly higher than in-person mediation.

Lakeside Mediation’s only concern is to provide a safe and comforting environment to all who have entered our doors the past twenty years. We will continue to monitor all health and safety data and developments.

We eagerly look forward to the day we may safely open our doors, greet you warmly, share a good cup of coffee, and look out over the beautiful lake.

Meanwhile, be safe, be well, and be kind. We look forward to seeing you virtually and do what we do best – working with you to successfully resolve conflicts.

Eric Galton
Ben Cunningham
Greg Bourgeois