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February 26, 2014 1 Comment

 A excerpt from  A New Day in Court by John Miles

Many readers of this primer are already familiar with mediation. Perhaps you are a mediator. Perhaps you have mediated at Miles Mediation and could write this primer better than I. Should you resemble either of the above, please feel free to skip to the

Even the most cursory consideration of A New Day in Court provides the reader with one insight about the author. I am an unabashed movie fan. In the movie Philadelphia, Denzel Wash- ington says, “Explain it like I’m a fifth grader.”

This primer explains the nuts and bolts of mediation.

What?

Mediation is a process that enables parties to resolve disputes. Customarily used in legal disputes, mediation is a cost- effective alternative to trial by jury. In recent years, mediation has become the preferred method for resolving lawsuits.

Following are some of the identifying characteristics of typical mediation:

  1. Mediation is a voluntary process. Resolution requires that both parties agree to the terms of the settlement.
  2. A mediator facilitates the process, guiding adversaries through a discussion of the issues in an effort to find areas of agree- ment.
  3. While mediators are not required to have a law degree, most mediators are attorneys. Legal disputes require that mediators have a knowledge of the law and an understanding of jury tendencies.

Arbitration, on the other hand, is a process where parties contractually agree to submit their case to an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators—to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision.

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February 10, 2014 2 Comments


By Gregory J. Parent, Miles Mediation & Arbitration Services, Inc.

Historically speaking, paralegals are essential to a successful law firm. Depending on the type of law practice and the experience of the person, a good paralegal can be responsible for everything from meeting and signing up potential clients to helping keep abreast of the blood and guts of the case, including filing and scheduling. Paralegals are often the liaison between the attorneys and the clients, providing much needed support.

That role is doubly important when it comes to mediation, as the legal landscape slowly shifts towards more and more alternative dispute resolution. Mediation is a valuable tool for the resolution of cases. It provides a forum for the parties to work collaboratively to resolve cases through nuanced negotiation and discussions, moderated and shepherded by a trained mediator.

It is a valuable opportunity for parties to resolve their cases with their own input, rather than turn the decision-making over to a judge or jury. Since it is an opportunity to resolve a case and get some finality for the client, it should be given the utmost respect and prepared for in much the same way you would gear up for trial.

There are only two times when a case value can be determined. The first is when a jury awards a verdict. The second is when a defense attorney or an adjuster makes a final settlement offer. Those are the only two times that your case has true value. Everything else is purely conjecture and speculation based on past performance and experience.

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February 6, 2014 No Comments

By David C. Nutter

         “That was a miracle. I didn’t think we had a chance of settling this case.”  So the satisfied lawyer confides to the mediator after his client has departed with a settlement leaving behind a contentious multi-year litigation.  Now, I happen to believe in miracles. I’ve seen them. And whenever disputing parties voluntarily choose to put aside years of rancor and embrace peace, there is a touch of the Divine. But it is helpful to recognize that we, as lawyers and mediators, can take steps to improve the odds of a “mediation miracle.”

At the source of many conflicts is poor communication.  And proper communication, not surprisingly, is the key to unraveling a knotty conflict.  Indeed, mediation is all about communication: what to say, to whom, and when to say it.  And, when and how to listen. As we listen to our opponents and consider their needs, new solutions materialize and the entire atmosphere of a conflict is transformed.

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February 4, 2014 No Comments

Greg Parent’s kids enjoy the Atlanta snow!

IMG_1495 IMG_1501

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February 4, 2014 2 Comments
walking the walk
By Jamie Miles

After a hard day facilitating a just resolution, mediator John Miles often enjoys strenuous physical exertion. Walking is Miles’ preferred way to wind down. But this isn’t your grandmother’s leisurely stroll around the block. No sir. John clips along Madison, Georgia’s scenic byways as fast or faster than many joggers his age.

He jokes that walkers don’t get any respect from runners and that his mission is to free walkers from their chains. Miles recently completed the Atlanta Hot Chocolate 15K (9.3 miles). He finished the distance in a little over two hours and enjoyed a stack of pancakes with a side of bacon afterwards.

Okay. He didn’t but surely he thought about it. What follows is a few scintillating excerpts from an interview with John, my husband — the walker, in between five mile loops from our house on a Saturday morning.

You are the big 5-0, what have you done athletically in the past?

First of all, I’m 51. In high school, I played football, basketball and ran track – sprints.

I hated long distance running.

I played one year of college football and after that . . . I never ran again. Until I started dating you, then I ran because you ran everywhere.

But I always hated running. First, because I associated it with organized athletics and I can’t ever seem to get a rhythm. I go too fast or too slowly.

Then as I got older, I got fatter. 

To combat that pesky mini inner tube that tends to gravitate around midlife midsections, Miles started running again using the Jeff Galloway run/walk method. After running a few half marathons and completing some triathlons using the run/walk method, my dear hubby admitted he still hated to run.

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