March 31, 2020

Mediation and Arbitration in the Current COVID-19 Environment

by Michael J. Schofield


PENSACOLA, FL (March 31, 2020) –

As a mediator and arbitrator, we face unique challenges in this current virus climate. With the ability of online videoconference and telephonic processes having become more available to all persons, have you considered the possibility of a mediation or arbitration by online connection? The use of such modalities as Zoom, LifeSize, or other high quality videoconferencing systems permit a qualified mediator or arbitrator to conduct an opening session with all parties present, and then switch to separate “virtual rooms” where the parties can talk by video connection privately, and the mediator can still conduct a potentially successful process.

In the current climate, parties may in fact be more relaxed and willing to negotiate and settle without the additional worry of virus transmission.

While the arbitration front presents some unique challenges, the presentation of witnesses and evidence by video can be just as seamless and smooth. All parties would remain on one connection, each party taking its turn just as if they were physically attending, to present testimony, documents, and other evidence, and the arbitrator will be able to conduct the process all while everyone is separate and remote. It does require advanced planning and consideration as to the aspect of production of documents, playing video testimony, or presenting witnesses; however, in this day and age, anyone with a smart phone (iPhone, Android phone, etc.), tablet, iPad, desktop, laptop, that has a simple built-in camera or attached camera, can be linked into the system.

If you have a need for this, we can assist or provide you with advice or suggestions on the best practices. It is a new and different time at present, but technology has certainly provided us with methods and alternatives to continue our necessary business.


Michael J. Schofield is a is a Certified Mediator and Qualified Arbitrator in Florida, and Mediator and Arbitrator in Alabama. Mike also serves on the Commercial Panel of the American Arbitration Association’s National Roster of Arbitrators, and as an arbitrator and neutral in other ADR matters. Contact Mike at (850) 208-7062 or

About Clark Partington:

Clark Partington is the largest business focused firm in the Florida panhandle with offices in Pensacola, Destin, Grayton Beach & Tallahassee.  The firm also maintains a presence in South Alabama with an Orange Beach office.  Since 1976 Clark Partington has grown to over forty lawyers and has served the people and businesses of Florida through an innovative and collaborative approach to practicing law.  Our lawyers are consistently recognized for their service to the profession and excellence in the courtroom.  More information about the firm’s practice, its attorneys, and recognitions may be found at