As we all have learned, reaching an agreement at mediation is only half the battle. The next stage is documenting the agreement by putting together settlement documentation that all parties execute before leaving. My strong recommendation to parties is that the settlement should be signed by everyone, no matter how late it is. Otherwise, there is a risk that one party will have second thoughts and refuse to sign off on the terms that everyone agreed upon after hours of work, wasting the time and effort at mediation. Of course, this is often no easy task; in many cases, negotiation over the wording of the agreement can take as long as negotiating the agreement itself.
I have recently commented on the efficiency of virtual mediation, which we have been using extensively in recent times. I am now even more firmly of the view that virtual mediation is not just an adequate compromise for “the real thing”, but that it can be as effective as an in-person hearing.
So what happens when all of the time and effort is invested in formalizing an agreement, but the hearing was done virtually, the parties are all in different locations, and not all of them have access to printers and scanners?