Did you know that, on average, arbitration cases are resolved 12 months faster than U.S. district court cases that proceed to trial? Arbitration has earned a reputation for being faster, cheaper, and less complex than litigation. Of course, if you’re feeling unprepared for your next remote arbitration, you might be dreading every minute.
In this article, we’re going to share some tips, tricks, and best practices to help you tackle dispute resolution. Let’s get started!
1. Secure & Prepare the Virtual Room
Whether you’re hosting a remote deposition, mediation, or arbitration – cybersecurity is crucial! Each virtual meeting should be password protected and have a unique meeting identifier. Dual authentication helps prevent accidental mishaps, as well as malicious attempts to gain unauthorized access. To maximize security, we recommend distributing the meeting password separately from the meeting identification number. By taking the additional precaution, you can reduce the likelihood of someone breaching your security.
2. Build Your ‘Studio’
At a movie studio, actors have the benefit of professional lighting, makeup experts, and experienced cameramen. While you may not have access to all of these tools, you can still create a home ‘studio’ with a bit of preparation.
First and foremost, choose a filming location with plenty of natural light. Most standard webcams struggle to provide a clear picture in low-light conditions, which can result in grainy footage and sharp shadows. Try to test out the video quality in your filming location at roughly the same time of day that you’ve scheduled the arbitration. This will provide the most accurate picture of lighting conditions. If you notice that your screen is still too dark, consider purchasing a small mounted light for your computer or laptop. These inexpensive gadgets can dramatically improve lighting quality.
Next, turn your attention to your desk and the filming background. Before your arbitration, you’ll want to clear any distracting items from your desk. When the foreground is clear, take a look at the objects visible in the background. You should always ensure there is no inappropriate or distracting clutter in view of the camera. If you can’t find good lighting in a location with an appropriate background, consider virtual backgrounds if your conferencing software supports them. If you’d prefer to avoid the hassle of a virtual background, you can also purchase a foldable room divider. These flexible screens are inexpensive and they can be placed almost anywhere to create a solid background for filming.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
Technology can be unpredictable, so you’ll want to be prepared for anything. Test out your sound quality, WiFi strength, and be sure to disable incoming notifications and alerts. When your equipment is working properly, you’re free to focus on yourself. For the most thorough preparation, record a short video of yourself talking through some of the points from the upcoming arbitration. When you playback the video, you’ll be able to identify issues like excessive hand gestures, low sound quality, or poor visual framing. These simple preparations will give you the confidence you need to focus on your key messages on the day of the arbitration.
In addition to these solo practices, our deposition experts will be happy to assist with your preparation. We frequently schedule and administer mock depositions, in addition to ‘day-before’ practice sessions. Whether you’re a remote arbitration expert or brand new to the scene, the team at First Legal Depositions is available to support you.
4. Professionalism from Start to Finish
Webcams may not capture 4K footage, but in any legal proceeding, you’ll want to present a professional appearance. Try to dress in solid colors that contrast with your background, and avoid wearing flashy jewelry. If you are wearing a suit jacket, pause before sitting and pull it down at the back, ensuring it does not bunch up or shift around. As a rule of thumb, you should plan to arrive early to the remote session. This practice gives you the opportunity to resolve any log-in issues before the arbitration begins.
5. Make Eye Contact & Speak Clearly
Last but not least, it’s hard to overstate the importance of eye contact! In recent months, research has shown that people can get fixated on their own screen appearance during a virtual meeting. When you’re speaking, make it a point to focus on the camera. To help you hold your gaze, consider taping a photo near your webcam.
Furthermore, we recommend paying special attention to the audio record. To ensure an accurate transcript, be sure to enunciate and speak clearly. You’ll also need to avoid speaking over other participants whenever possible. Cross-talking makes it very difficult for your court reporter to capture the full record.
Thanks for reading! We hope that we’ve given you some useful tips for your next arbitration. If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it on social media.