I recently participated from home in an 18.5-hour Zoom mediation, with more than 35 parties and their counsel attending. The mediation started on a Friday at 9 a.m. and ended successfully Saturday at 3:20 a.m. One benefit to holding the Zoom mediation? Defense counsel, together in a “caucus room,” watched on a shared screen the final minutes of the Heat’s victory over the Lakers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Another benefit to ending the Zoom mediation at 3:20 a.m.? No packing up and driving home. I was in bed 10 minutes later at 3:30 a.m.

Prior to the pandemic, all of us knew the rule of court-ordered mediations. The lawyers and their clients were required to attend mediations in person. Whenever and wherever those mediations were scheduled. Wherever the parties were located. No matter the travel costs, and attorney fees and costs, incurred to attend in person. Unless excused by the court. (See Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.720). That’s the way it was.

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