It is likely that you are at least nominally familiar with what the US court process looks like, even if you have never set foot inside of a courtroom yourself. Many daytime television shows focus on the civil courtroom, and there are plenty of criminal dramas. However, mediation is a little less flashy and as a result it does not get nearly as much screen time.
However, mediation sessions tend to be more individually unique as compared to litigation as mediation does not concern itself as much with courtroom rigmarole. According to FindLaw, you may choose whether or not to have a lawyer with you at a mediation session, and it is possible that after an initial meeting further sessions will happen over the phone.
The presence of lawyers
Whether or not the feuding parties retain their own legal counsel for a mediation session is up to them. Keep in mind that the mediator, even if he or she is a lawyer, will stay neutral throughout the process. Depending on the nature of your dispute, you might find it useful to have a personal lawyer to give legal advice.
However, many mediation sessions happen with just the mediator and representatives from each party. Keep in mind that a mediator is not a judge. This means that the majority of mediation sessions are non-binding.
Long distance negotiations
It is possible for mediation to happen entirely virtually. In fact, after an initial face-to-face meeting, it is not unusual for mediation sessions to then continue over the phone. The mediation process is much less formal than litigation. This is part of the reason why many business owners find mediation an affordable and flexible version of dispute resolution.