Miles Mediation & Arbitration Services

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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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January 26, 2014 No Comments
subtitles of mediation

Early in my career as a mediator, I believed that participants in mediation were motivated by money. The defendant wanted to settle for as little as possible, and the plaintiff wanted to get as much as he could. Certainly lawsuits involved emotional issues, primarily for plaintiffs. However, if the defendant offered enough money, the emotional issues vanished or were at least greatly minimized.

As mediator, my role was to create uncertainty on both sides. Juries are unpredictable. They may award more than the defendant wants to pay and less than the plaintiff is willing to accept. Better to compromise at mediation than to receive a disappointing verdict. While this strategy was often successful in assisting parties to settle their disputes, it failed to offer many participants what they really needed: the opportunity to be heard.

Before court dockets became clogged and litigation became too expensive, parties were heard at trial. Jury trials were a cost-effective way to resolve disputes. Trials not only resulted in closure but allowed parties to have their say. The purpose of this book is to demonstrate that mediation has become a superior method for allowing parties to present their claims and reach closure. Mediation has become A New Day in Court.

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January 22, 2014 No Comments
communication strategies

Communication drives mediation. Both the plaintiff and the defendant need to speak and be heard. Resolution requires that both parties use positive language.

Research has demonstrated that positive language enhances the mediation process. Conversely, negative language hinders mediation’s effectiveness. Negative language is particularly harmful to mediation because negotiation and mediation are essentially a process of joint decision making. The participant using negative language affects the emotions and decision making of the other parties. Negative language reduces the

other side’s willingness to cooperate and may even encourage the opposition to terminate the mediation just to avoid the negative energy. Defense attorneys and insurance adjusters who use positive language are more likely to bring a mediation to a successful conclusion, particularly when dealing with a plaintiff who is motivated by anger or justice. The defense can benefit from positive language even if the mediation does not reach a successful conclusion.

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November 20, 2013 No Comments

ScottDeliusMost lawyers want someone from their background, but picking from ‘the other side’ can be smarter

How do litigating parties pick a mediator? Everyone has ideas about mediation strategy, but how does the selection of a mediator affect the outcome of the negotiations? The answer may surprise you.

Litigating parties often have a preconceived notion of who their mediator should be. The defense lawyer usually wants a mediator with a defense background, whereas the plaintiff’s attorney generally wants a mediator with experience representing plaintiffs. Opposing counsel sometimes refuse to use a particular mediator because of the kind of work that the mediator does in private practice. The implication, and it’s not really implied at all, is that the mediator is incapable of being neutral because of his or her practice area. Read More    »

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