Recognize that a virtual mediation can be as, or more, physically taxing than an in-person mediation. Plan to take a physical break at least once an hour and walk around so you stay fresh.
Have a pre-mediation session with your client using whatever platform (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, etc.) you will be using for the virtual mediation. Make sure you and your client are comfortable using the controls for the platform. Talk about how you would like to communicate with your client during the mediation outside of the mediation platform (email, text message, your own separate Zoom session). Make sure both of you will have access to all documents that might be important to the mediation and you know how to share them during the mediation.
Have a back-up plan in case of a computer crash, power outage, or internet connection break. Make sure you can connect using your phone or another method if your first method fails.
Have a pre-mediation session with your mediator to work out any technical issues in advance. Become familiar with break-out rooms and find out if your mediator intends to connect everyone in one or more plenary sessions or keep everyone in separate camps for shuttle negotiations. Use this opportunity to advise your mediator about hurdles to settlement and creative ideas for overcoming them.
Prepare a draft settlement agreement that you can use to actually document any settlement you may reach. You will already be in front of your computer. Don’t get trapped in the tar pit of putting together a term sheet that will then be followed by a formal settlement agreement. Get the formal documents finalized and signed before the mediation session ends. Set up DocuSign or a similar service to collect the appropriate signatures while everyone is still online.