Miles Mediation & Arbitration Services

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July 28, 2014 No Comments

By Miles Mediation mediator Steve Goldner

“A good settlement is when nobody is happy.” How many times have you heard that said? Well, I take exception to that notion. Primarily because it’s the wrong standard and a very negative expression of the mediation process.

Efforts to settle a case ought not to be judged by a “ happiness” index. I truly believe that the hallmark of every successful mediation is “ fairness”. Both sides want to be treated fairly, albeit for different reasons. A plaintiff who feels he has been treated fairly by the process is obviously more inclined to settle. Happiness is a subjective emotion which the defendant can do little to address, unless it’s a by-product of being fair. For the defendant, it’s the flip-side of the same coin. The defendant would be “happiest” if it didn’t have to pay any money at all. (Just like the plaintiff would prefer to have not been injured.) Those cards have been dealt and are no longer in play. So, what’s the best way to resolve your case, regardless of which side you’re on?

Be fair. It’s not conducive to a successful outcome for plaintiff’s counsel to talk in opening about hitting a home run or ringing the bell in the case at hand. You may well do just that, but that’s for the courthouse—not the mediation setting. Likewise, it is not helpful for defense counsel to dwell on the summary judgment motion that’s in the works or the potential for a defense verdict. It stands to reason that good attorneys are acutely aware of these possibilities and you have probably already talked about these things anyway. After conducting hundreds of mediations, I can promise that these kinds of comments don’t send the message that you intend to negotiate fairly. It’s very difficult for the plaintiff, or an adjuster, to accept that they are about to be treated fairly when the day begins with thinly veiled threats.

Invariably, one or both sides will make mention of wanting to be fair. It’s amazing, however, how quickly that notion can disappear when the opening demand is absurd or the initial offer is ridiculous, by any standard. Although the temptation is strong to respond in kind, remember why you and your client came to mediation in the first place. Don’t waste a lot of time sending “messages”. Be fair, even when the opposition seems to have lost its valuation compass. You will find that your mediations are shorter in duration and more successful overall.

At the end of the day if you are indeed “happy” with the outcome, I’ll bet you a dinner (or drinks…) that you would have to admit that both sides acted fairly.

Good luck!

To book Steve for your next mediation or to learn more about him, click here:

July 21, 2014 No Comments

By Jamie Miles

Mariam Palacios is often the first face greeting visitors to Miles Mediation. Since 2012, she has been busy with her job and also planning her destination wedding. Recently I caught up with the vivacious, raven-haired scheduling coordinator and learned a bit about her responsibilities at Miles, her Puerto Rican heritage and the dress that made her say “yes.”

What is your position with the Miles Mediation team?
“I am the scheduling coordinator and send out all the documentation: the what, when, where and why. If things need to be changed or rescheduled with the parties – I handle all that.”

What do you enjoy about your job?
“I love interaction with people. It’s interesting to meet the clients and attorneys. Especially since so much of business communication is through email, I can put a face with a name.”

She enjoys getting to know the regular customers and catering to their likes, such as a favorite room to mediate. “I know what people like and don’t like. Getting to know people that way. I like that part definitely.”

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Mariam’s mother and grandmother and other family still live on the island nation. Living in Puerto Rico until high school graduation, Mariam went to college in Indiana at Indiana Wesleyan University, a private school an hour north of Indianapolis. She never had stepped foot on campus till the start of her freshman year. “I submitted the forms and was accepted. I was like, ‘I’m out of here.’”

What did you think of America’s Heartland after knowing nothing but life on a tropical island?
“Culture shock. As a Hispanic person, I was like the super minority.”

Mariam quickly added that those were the best four years of her life. “I made the best of friends. I had the best experiences. I traveled a bit between states. I’d never been to Chicago or Ohio before.”

Mariam laughed how it is possible to drive the island of Puerto Rico in one day. “Going from that to driving 30 minutes to the nearest mall – I was like ‘what?'”

“All there is corn and farms, but the Midwest will always have a special place in my heart.”

How did you get to Atlanta?
The summer before my senior year of college, I had to do an internship for my communications major. I had applied to a few television stations in Indiana and Puerto Rico and I hadn’t heard back from them. My mom found out online that the Fox station in Atlanta had an internship program. It was one of the last ones I applied for and I got it.

My dad came with me to get settled because he went to school at Georgia Tech. That’s the summer I met my fiancé Danny.” Mariam’s soon-to-be-husband, Danny Palaicos was born in Puerto Rico as well but moved to Georgia when he was very young.

Do you missing living in Puerto Rico?
“I’m trying to get my mom and brother to move here,” she said with a laugh.

“One day I would like to live close to the beach. I want to hop in the car and in 10 minutes be at the beach.”

How do you stay connected to Puerto Rico?
I like to cook and I consider myself a pretty okay cook. But I’m still working on my Puerto Rican cuisine. I could never do it like my mom or grandma does.” If she has a craving for a native dish, she’ll call her future mother-in-law and ask, “Mom. Can you cook for me please?’

Mariam also misses the Christmases in Puerto Rico. “The traditions are different. It’s very colorful. The Christmas carols have more of a salsa, tropical sound. And the tradition holiday food is a roast pig, beans and rice.”

Interests and hobbies.
“I do like to cook. I love to bake. Because I’m trying to slim down for the wedding, I haven’t been baking as much as I ordinarily would,” she laughed.

Mariam and Danny share a love of movies or just hanging out and watching television. And occasionally the dance floor calls and the couple goes salsa dancing.

“When I was younger and agile (laughter), I took dance from three years old till I went away to college. I’ve been toying with the idea taking an adult jazz or hip hop class.”

After a year of planning, Mariam and Danny are getting married in Puerto Rico on July 26.
Though her anticipation grows as the big day nears, she is also aware of the mounting tension. “

“I’m definitely excited but . . . this needs to be over,” Mariam admitted with a laugh.

Gonzalez Family 002

Wedding preparations took longer than expected as a result of the unexpected, very sad passing of her beloved father last year. “After my dad passed away — I was like – no way. What wedding? It pretty much rocked my entire universe. I didn’t want anything.”

“But it’s funny. The one person who would have been excited all the time and who would have wanted bigger and better would have been my dad. My dad was a free spirit, which is where I’m sure I get it. He’d be like “WooHoo,” let’s have a party.”

Mariam agreed with her dad’s philosophy when planning. “Especially when you ask people to travel like this, I want them to have a good time. And have the event be a big party. I’m excited.”

On the big day, Mariam’s brother will have the honor of walking her down the aisle.

The wedding dress.
Mariam wanted to shop for the dress with her mother, but with her mother in Puerto Rico, she needed a back up plan. Her best friend flew in and the two went back to the boutique the pair had found the friend’s wedding dress.


As the search began, Mariam had an idea what she wanted and of a budget. “I tried on five dresses and it was number 5. I took pictures and my face kept getting happier and happier. When I tried on the last dress, I was like – yep. This is it.”

“Just like the wedding dress T.V. shows, I laughed. I cried and thought I’m really getting ready to spend all this money?”

After the ceremony, the newlyweds are honeymooning in the Dominican Republic staying at an all-inclusive resort. After a more than a year of planning her nuptials, Mariam sighed, “I’m excited to be on the beach and do nothing.”

We all wish Mariam and Danny, the wedding of their dreams and look forward to posting pictures of the festivities soon.


An easy Puerto Rican dish is one of the couple’s favorites. “It’s what you’d call a peasant dish but Danny really likes it and I make it all the time. The flavor is Puerto Rico. “


“Pastelillos de Guayaba” (Guava filled Pastry)


* 1 or 2 Sheet of Puff Pastry (at room temperature) (if you make 2 sheets, you will have about 24)
* Cooking Spray or Butter
* Guava Paste (you can find it in Hispanic/Latin food section at grocery store)
* Powdered Sugar


* Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
* Place puff pastry in a lightly greased cookie sheet.
* Cut puff pastry into 12 even-sized squares. You can make them bigger if you like, so you will end up with about 8 squares.
* Place puff pastry in the oven and bake for about 15-18 minutes or until they are puffed up and golden brown. (Depending on your oven, they may be done baking sooner, so just keep an eye on them)
* While they bake, take the guava paste and cut out about half of it. (Use half if you only baked 1 sheet, if you baked 2 sheets, then use all of it)
* Cut the paste into smaller pieces (so it melts faster) and place it in a microwave-safe bowl.
* Microwave the paste for about 1 minute or until the paste melts and turns more into a purée.

Take puff pastry out of the oven and let them cool down.

Once cooled, take a pastry and carefully open it in half with your hands. Then spoon some of the guava paste on to one side of the pastry and then place the other half on top.

Repeat that process until all of the pastries are filled.

To finish, sprinkle as much or as little powdered sugar on top as you want.

July 14, 2014 No Comments

At Miles Mediation, we believe in creating a culture around family. When you walk in our doors, we want you to feel welcomed like you’re family and make yourself at home. So come on in, and get to know us better…

Why Did You Want To Go Into Law?

Initially, I just wanted to get back to Chapel Hill without having to deliver pizzas for a living, so I figured that getting another degree would buy me some time to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Well that and the prospect of two more Final Fours.

What Did You Want To Grow Up To Be When You Were A Kid?

When I was in 6th grade I wrote an essay that said I wanted to be a lawyer. When I was in junior high, I wanted to be the President of the United States. When I was in high school, I wanted to be the next Bryant Gumbel and make a career in broadcast journalism. I am a lawyer and I’ve been on The Weather Channel as a guest speaker. Fortunately, I have found my perfect niche as a mediator, so I do not anticipate forming an exploratory committee and hitting up all my friends for campaign donations anytime soon. I’ll leave the White House pursuits to someone else. Two out of three childhood dreams ain’t bad.

Where Did You Grow Up?

I was born in Texas but grew up in Gastonia, North Carolina and Fayetteville, North Carolina before spending 7 years in Chapel Hill and one year in Charlotte. I moved to Atlanta in 1998. My family moved several times when I was a kid. All that moving made it very easy for me to meet new folks, adapt to new surroundings, and make friends. Those skills have served me well throughout my life.

Greg's Dad with Greg's Daughter

Greg’s Dad with Greg’s Daughter

What Does Family Mean To You?

Because I grew up in North Carolina, far away from my extended family, I always appreciated my folks and my younger sister, Melanie. She was my first friend and the one person I sought to entertain the most. I also learned how to develop a sense of marketing and business planning from watching her in her career as a pharmaceutical sales rep. I talk to my folks several times each week. My father was my best man in my wedding and I seek the wisdom and counsel of my folks as often as they are willing to dispense it. My dad inspires the practical side and my mom inspires the dreamer in me. The older I get the more I appreciate everything they did for me and continue to do for my family. The greatest gift I ever gave my folks was grandkids. They seize every opportunity to visit with my kids and share in their worlds. They are my model for being a husband and a father, as they recently celebrated their 46th anniversary. My wife is the one who encouraged me to seize the dream of becoming a mediator. She’s my biggest fan and keeps me grounded. And my kids are the best accomplishment I ever did.

Greg and his wife on Cumberland Island

Greg and his wife on Cumberland Island

Why Do You Love Your Job?

There’s an old adage that says, “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”. Although I prepare diligently every day and remain disciplined in what I try to do with every single mediation, the requirements of my job fit my personality so perfectly that it comes easy to me. And I get invigorated doing what I do. So I love it. I look forward to coming to work each and every day and I never get those dreaded Sunday afternoon blahs on the eve of another work week. I don’t know if many people can say that. I know I am lucky and I pinch myself often so that I never take it for granted.


Favorite Food

I love jambalaya, a cajun rice dish that was best prepared by my late grandfather. The best out there is from the booth nearest the Acura stage at the New Orleans Jazzfest, but I am always willing to sample anyone’s attempt. Like pizza, there is BETTER jambalaya, but there isn’t really any bad jambalaya.

What Would You Say Your Spirit Animal Is?

I took a quiz I found online and it revealed that I’m a WOLF. The explanation was as follows: “You have strength and stamina and ‘family comes first’. You form deep connections with close friends and family members and they know you’d do anything to protect them. You’re loyal, devoted, and passionate.”

That’s pretty accurate. But I also think I’m cuddly like a koala bear.

Greg's  Mom with Greg's Daughter

Greg’s Mom with Greg’s Daughter

What Is Your Favorite Sport?

In high school I played tennis and soccer. I last played ALTA in Atlanta until my kids were born. My favorite sport to watch, however, is Carolina basketball, followed closely by NFL football (partially owing to lazy Sundays and Fantasy Football). Some would argue that UNC hoops is like a religion for me. When played properly, it’s a beautiful game and you can apply so many lessons from the game to life. I coached both of my kids on their respective basketball teams, where I tried to instill the tenets of teamwork, selflessness, and good sportsmanship through the fundamentals of the game.


How Do I Unwind?

I enjoy hanging out with friends and family. There are usually large gatherings where the kids are outside running around while the parents sit around and sip tasty BEvERageS and play corn hole. I usually end up playing DJ with an app on my iPhone, where I have more than 6,400 songs at my disposal. I love either getting folks dancing or waxing nostalgic if I play a song that hits them in their wheelhouse.

Greg and his kids at the High Museum in Atlanta

Greg and his kids at the High Museum in Atlanta

What Is Your Favorite Thing About Atlanta?

I love that Atlanta can be all things to everyone. As a father, I love that in the past three weeks my kids have been to Six Flags, Six Flags Whitewater, and Stone Mountain park—three completely different experiences, all no more than a half hour from the house.

To book Team Leader Greg Parent for your next mediation or to learn more about him, click here:

July 10, 2014 No Comments

We have exciting news!

Because his calender fills up quickly, Joe is making himself available weekdays between 8 a m and 10 a m — even on days when he has a mediation beginning at 10 a m. Call today to reserve your morning with Joe! (678) 320-9118