On Thursday 30th April 2020, members of the Society of Mediation Professionals (Singapore) had the pleasure of interacting with two leaders in the field of mediation, Ms Mary Walker and Mr Gary Birnberg, FCIArb, via a Zoom video conference.
The speakers spoke about a topic of utmost relevance to our members: mediation practice in a post-COVID-19 world.
At the prompting of Chairperson Tat Lim, the speakers launched right into their accounts of how they started their mediation practices (“A bit of serendipity and luck” and “By chance”) and shared about the practical aspects of mediating (“It’s an emotional roller-coaster. You need a moment to absorb.” and “Make no assumptions. Anything can happen.”).
The speakers then shared about their experiences with conducting mediations in a post-COVID-19 world. It was insightful to hear how the speakers conducted their online mediations and dealt with challenges arising from the absence of face-to-face interaction.
The session ended on an uplifting note, with the speakers opining that the upheaval caused by COVID-19 would likely create new opportunities for mediators, whether arising from the need for more disputes to be settled quickly and cost efficiently or the accelerated development of technological platforms suitable for mediation.