Miles Mediation & Arbitration Services

ATLANTA OFFICE:
6 Concourse Pkwy., Suite 1950

Atlanta, GA 30328
(678) 320-9118

SAVANNAH OFFICE:
17 Park of Commerce Blvd.
Suite 301

Savannah, GA 31405
(912) 417-2879
All Fax: (404) 389-0831

August 27, 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?

I grew up watching the old Perry Mason epidsodes on tv and was captivated by the drama of the trial scene. My favorite book was To Kill a Mockingbird. I loved debate and argument and relished the challenge of matching wits with others.

What did you want to grow up to be when you were a kid?

I wanted to be a major league baseball player or a lawyer. It turned out that the baseball player was not in my gene pool.
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Where did you grow up?

Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

What does “family” mean to you?

My wife, Susan, and I have five kids each of whom we consider to be a gift from God. Family for us means an oasis of joy, laughter, acceptance, enouragement and love.

Team Leader David Nutter and his family saw his daughter Jane off to GA College in Milledgeville this year.

Team Leader David Nutter and his family saw his daughter Jane off to GA College in Milledgeville this year.

Why do you love your job?

I love my job because every day I get to work with great people, I get to focus on positive solutions, I get to think about a wide variety of interesting legal issues, I get to help people work out their disputes, and sometimes I even get a hug. What’s not to love?

What is your favorite food?

Pizza

What would you say your spirit animal is?
A dove

What is your favorite sport?

Baseball

How do you unwind?

Watch movies, read books, run

What is your favorite thing about Atlanta?

David and his wife Jane

David and his wife Susan

To find out more about David or to book him for your next mediation, click here:

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August 20, 2014 No Comments

MEDIATION TIP #6 – WHAT’S GOING ON IN THERE?
by Glenn Loewenthal

I was speaking at a recent seminar where a question was asked by a Plaintiff’s lawyer: “Why do you spend so much more time in the defense room than in the plaintiff room; What are you doing in there?” I couldn’t help but laugh while thinking to myself that this is the same question, in reverse, from defense lawyers who think I spend more time in the plaintiff room. Before we discuss the answers to these questions, I first want to say that there is no pattern I have noticed in spending more time with one side than the other. Each case is different, and in some cases more time needs to be spent in the plaintiff room and in some cases more in the defense room.

Now, to answer the question. As mediators, we are doing many things in the other room. First and foremost, we are listening. We are listening to the lawyers, listening to the parties, listening to the adjusters, listening to anyone who has anything to say. In the initial caucus, it is the mediator’s job to learn as much as possible about the important facts of the case, the motives of the parties, and the objectives of the parties. Sometimes one or both sides don’t say much in the opening statement, though I think that is a mistake (see Mediation Tip #4). If the lawyers don’t provide much information in the opening, the mediator has to spend more time learning about their case. This is why the first caucus is the longest.

Another thing the mediator is doing is developing a rapport and relationship with the people in that room. For example, in the Plaintiff’s room, I want to make sure the plaintiff is at ease with the process and with me and my role. 99% of the time this is the first time the plaintiff has ever been through a mediation. It may be old hat to the lawyers and adjusters, but it is a nerve wracking experience for most plaintiffs. Not only do the plaintiffs need to be at ease with the process and the mediator, they need to know that their attorney is also on their side and the mediator can help with that. The mediator can also help the plaintiff to understand that the people in the other room are also invested in the process and that they are there in good faith to resolve the case. Once everyone in the plaintiff’s room is on board, the mediation will have a better chance to resolve.

In the defense room, the mediator is doing the same thing. We are building the relationship with the lawyers and adjusters and/or corporate representatives, many of whom we have never met before. While many defense cases are “round tabled” before the mediation, many are not. There are many mediations where the defense lawyer and the adjuster are not on the same page. The mediator needs to listen, ask questions, and find out why. One of the mediator’s most important jobs is to make sure that everyone in the defense room is on the same page.

A mediator’s job is much more than a courier of numbers between rooms. The mediator’s job is to build a consensus by the end of the day. In order to do that, we must time whatever time is necessary building relationships, listening to facts, ideas and concerns, and making sure everyone is on the same page and at ease. Tensions can build during a mediation session, and the mediator may need to spend more time in one room than the other keep things calm and running smoothly. We want to put out the fires, not throw more gasoline on them. Hopefully, this mediation tip will help you understand what is actually going on in the other room.

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August 11, 2014 No Comments

While catching up on old episodes of Mad Men, I heard one of the characters refer to the Three P’s of marketing (product, price and promotion). This got me thinking, “Are there three P’s of successful mediation?” While the mediations we conduct daily at Miles Mediation can be quite complex, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that my most successful clients follow the Three P’s of Successful Mediation: Preparation, People and Patience.

1. Preparation

First and foremost, a mediation is the most productive when both parties have spent some time preparing their case. It demonstrates to all involved that you are serious about finding a resolution and that you are there to devote your efforts to doing so. I’ve noticed over the years that the attorneys who get the most out of their mediation generally do the following:

Prepare their opening. There are many lawyers out there who have the experience and skill to “wing it.” The rest of us need to review, refresh and rehearse. Your opening statement should be like a movie trailer. Give the other side a glimpse into what they might see at trial in the unlikely event you don’t settle; but as I will discuss later, don’t do too much to antagonize the other side.

Prepare their client. If your client hasn’t mediated before, take some time to explain the process to them. Tell them what my role is. Discuss candidly their case’s strengths and weaknesses, and remind them where the parties stand going into the mediation so that when they hear the first offer, they aren’t surprised. If they are prepared, we can get right to business.

Prepare the mediator. While I always appreciate a well drafted a mediation statement, you don’t always have to prepare a formal document. You could call me beforehand to lay out the key facts, critical issues, the players and their personalities. The more I know, the more effective I can be.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

2. People

In many cases, one party often views the underlying dispute as a personal insult. They believe the other side has been indifferent to their needs, or worse, is out to “get them.” Whether justified or not, these feelings of resentment prevent them from analyzing their case objectively. As most mediations go to caucus immediately after the opening session, you need to make the most of the limited window of opportunity to address directly the other side. While preparing and delivering your opening, be mindful that your audience may be preoccupied with assessing blame or is harboring ill will toward your client. Don’t send them to the caucus room thinking that you were rude, adversarial or worse, disinterested.

Consider attempting to deflate the tension with a well-timed apology. Neither you nor your client have to give an elaborate mea culpa, or admit liability, but a simple, direct statement of sympathy, concern for their situation goes a long way to making the other side feel as if their concerns are being recognized and that they will be treated with respect.

If you do not feel an apology is appropriate then keep your opening neutral in tone and avoid making argumentative and potentially inflammatory statements. Save the discussion of how those facts might affect settlement for later, when I can present them and help take the sting out.

Remember Ben Franklin’s wise words, “Be not stingy in what costs thee nothing, as courtesy, counsel, and countenance.”

3. Patience

At some point in nearly every mediation I am asked, “Can’t we just cut to the chase?” Sometimes this frustration emerges early; other times it appears much later in the day. No matter when it arises, I always ask the parties to be patient and trust the process. It doesn’t sound like a very reassuring answer, but acceptance time is a key factor in mediation.
People resist change. They have certain expectations and as the process unfolds, those expectations are challenged. They may find these discussions unpleasant and as you might expect, they resist. It may take some time for the other party to come to terms with the compromise solution the parties are working toward. Closing the gap in one fell swoop may leave one party feeling as if they have conceded too much ground.

Have patience in the mediation process. Allow the parties time to digest the information that has been exchanged, fully understand the options presented, comprehend the potential results, and come to terms with settlement.

As Poor Richard himself once said, “He that can have patience can have what he will.”

Is there more to being successful in mediation than these three P’s? Surely there is. But these three basic principles can put you on the best path to achieving the results you and your clients want.

If you would like to schedule a mediation with me, please contact Mariam at (678) 320-9118 or schedule@milesmediation.com, or you can use the online scheduling app.

I look forward to working with you soon.

Chris

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August 6, 2014 No Comments

Miles Mediation is up for vote with the Best Of 2014. Click below to vote for us as the Best Mediation firm in Atlanta!

Thank you for your support!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Best_Of_2014?src=EMC-Email&cn=Incaseyoumissedit-DailyReport’s2014BestOf-officialballotenclosed&bu=DRO&pt=&et=promotion

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