Embracing online dispute resolution beyond COVID-19

A digital revolution has arisen in the legal profession in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, where traditional methods of dispute resolution have been replaced with online dispute resolution (ODR).

Whilst the implementation of ODR promotes people’s health and safety by reducing potential transmission of the virus, there are numerous additional benefits of facilitating remote methods of dispute resolution. Virtual hearings, instant messaging and emails has brought a streamlined and flexible dimension to court procedures that should be utilised and embraced.

What are the benefits of virtual mediations?

Cost savings

The adoption of online dispute resolution (ODR) has seen benefits beyond the ability to resolve disputes throughout government restrictions and lockdowns. It has promoted a prompter and more affordable alternative to current dispute resolution processes. Especially when considering smaller claims or economic disputes, parties can now significantly save legal costs when compared to traditional methods.

VCAT and the Supreme Court of Victoria are conducting mediations through the Zoom video conferencing application which has increased accessibility to parties through the simplified procedures.

ODR also ensures that barriers such as geographical location, lack of transportation options or mobility are eradicated. In doing so, the costs incurred can be equally shared between respective parties, which provides an equal sense of ownership as well as stake in the resolution.

Increased efficiency and flexibility

ODR is a swift and convenient method for resolving disputes that can be adapted to fit individual needs and schedules including those of clients, employees, lawyers and stakeholders. By allowing parties to participate from anywhere, coordinating a time where both parties to a dispute are available has never been easier.

Many in-person methods of dispute resolution include time where an independent third party may speak directly to one party whilst the other party separately waits their turn. ODR allows for such discussions to occur in a private virtual room, allowing the other party to discuss the case in a separate room with their lawyer or complete personal or work-related tasks whilst they wait for their turn.

Virtual mediations also allow for flexible workplace arrangements for all.

Success rate

Although there are certainly advantages to in-person, emotional engagement during a traditional non virtual mediation, the success of ODR amid the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates that ODR can be a useful tool to resolve disputes.

Creating a comfortable and safe virtual environment can encourage parties to participate more in dispute resolution, where they may otherwise have avoided due to inter-relational conflict.

Elit Lawyers by McGirr & Snell is a fully integrated and automated law firm with superior expertise in online legal procedures. We possess a deep understanding in alternative dispute resolution and can provide you with representation at mediations, compulsory conferences and court hearings in all jurisdictions.

We encourage everyone reading this article to embrace the unexpected freedoms of COVID-19 and the successful technological advancements that have come with it.

Do not hesitate to contact our founding partners Robert McGirr and Danielle Snell to discuss how we can assist you with your dispute / legal case.

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Danielle Snell

CO-FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR

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Robert McGirr

CO-FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR

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"This was a “David v Goliath” fight as our dispute was with a large global corporation. The attention, compassion and guidance that Danielle and the team showed us was absolutely incredible."

CEO & Founder

National mental-health support organisation

We recently instructed Danielle from Elit Lawyers by McGirr & Snell to help with a legal dispute. As a small purpose led business, this was a “David v Goliath” fight as our dispute was with a large global corporation. This dispute was during a very emotional time as we were in the middle of a global pandemic, Melbourne’s sixth lockdown, homeschooling and no childcare – all while trying to keep our small business alive.

The attention, compassion and guidance that Danielle and the team showed us was absolutely incredible. I have 10 years legal experience myself and even with that, I was reluctant to litigate, especially during such a difficult time. However Danielle always gave us confidence in knowing that she was in our corner and always working for our best interests, so my reluctance was quickly appeased.

Today I am pleased to share that David defeated Goliath and we could not be more thrilled with the result we received thanks to Danielle and the team from Elit Lawyers. Danielle not only saved our company, but ensured that we could continue doing the good work we were previously and helping improve the lives and mental health of mothers across Australia.

I could not recommend Danielle and the team from Elit Lawyers more highly. I am *hoping* that I will never need their services again, but feel very reassured knowing they are there and always in my corner.

Thank you Danielle and team.

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"Danielle is a well-known and respected lawyer who knows how to handle difficult and intensive litigation."

Queens Counsel, Devers List

Victorian Bar

Danielle Snell is a very intelligent and impressive lawyer whom I have worked with in my role as senior counsel on various litigation matters.  She is a well-known and respected lawyer who knows how to handle difficult and intensive litigation.  Danielle combines a deep knowledge of the law across many practice areas with a practical approach to litigation, and is authentic and charismatic in her dealings with others.

"

"Danielle and Robert demonstrate outstanding expertise and approach all matters methodically with a clear and practical focus..."

Chief Operations Officer

Peak industry body for fire protection

As Chief Operating Officer it is extremely important to work with lawyers who are easily accessible, honest and trustworthy.  We have briefed Elit Lawyers by McGirr and Snell across various legal disciplines and now use them as our “go to” solicitors.  Danielle and Robert demonstrate outstanding expertise and approach all matters methodically with a clear and practical focus on achieving the best possible result.

"

"Danielle demonstrated a refreshing and unique ability to narrow the issues, and succinctly explain complex matters."

General Counsel

Leading home building company

Having worked alongside Danielle in litigation matters I have found her approach to be thorough and strategic.  In particular, Danielle demonstrated a refreshing and unique ability to narrow the issues, and succinctly explain complex matters.

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