Miles Mediation & Arbitration Services

6 Concourse Pkwy., Suite 1950

Atlanta, GA 30328
(678) 320-9118

17 Park of Commerce Blvd.
Suite 301

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

July 12, 2017 No Comments
Mediator Jim Anderson

Mediator & Arbitrator Jim Anderson recently joined Miles in Atlanta. As a member of Team Wilson, Jim mediates primarily in areas of aviation, construction law, property damage, personal injury, contract law, estate, probate, and domestic relations. In addition to Jim’s law and ADR practices, he has logged thousands of miles as an experienced aviator. And as if flying national and international flights isn’t impressive enough, Jim is building an FAA-approved four-passenger airplane. Learn more about Jim’s fascinating pursuits below.
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June 29, 2017 No Comments
Mediator Wayne Wilson

by Wayne Wilson, Esq.


Miles Mediation & Arbitration has handled a wide array of premises liability cases.  And with good reason.  A premises liability case is probably more suited for the mediation process than any other personal injury claim.  Mediation is all about the elimination of risk for all parties concerned.  And there can be no doubt that premises cases carry the greatest risks for plaintiffs and defendants alike.

Whether the property involved is a personal residence, a commercial property or public property the liability issues of negligence, knowledge, comparative/contributory negligence, assumption of risk, apportionment, etc. almost always come into play. Ordinarily, it is the property owner who is the defendant in a premises liability case.  However, both commercial and residential property owners often lease all or part of their property to tenants, who may have responsibility, by the terms of a lease or otherwise, for property maintenance.  Contractors working on, or who have worked on, the property involved may have responsibility for premises accidents. Management companies are often additional parties, as well as vendors making deliveries of products to stores. All of these entities face exposure for creating or allowing conditions to exist that might result in potential liability for the parties as well.

Add to the equation the likelihood that you have a “target/deep-pocket defendant” that might be loved, or loathed, by the general public, and the concept of “risk” creates dark shadows of uncertainty.

As an attorney or claims specialist, you deal with the many issues present in a premises liability case on a daily basis. These matters become somewhat common place as just part of your daily routine. You have the luxury of “time” to sit down, study, discuss, and work through the issues in order to arrive at a proper decision. But what of a lay person on a jury being asked to deal with all of these legal and factual issues in the heat of battle, commonly known as a jury trial? It is no wonder that perhaps no other type of case involves more jury verdict uncertainty, for plaintiffs, defendants and insurers alike, than premises liability matters.

Does anyone really want to place the decision regarding responsibility in these confusing situations in the hands of 12 strangers?  If the answer to that question is “No”, then the mediation process wherein the parties with the greatest knowledge, interest, exposure, and fear have total control over the decision-making process is by far the best and most viable alternative for resolving the dispute in a timely and cost-efficient manner.

So why mediate the premises liability case at Miles Mediation?



The panel at Mile has mediators with many years of experience in dealing with premises liability mattrs, both as litigators and mediators. As litigators, we have had the “privilege” of great successes and “not-so great” defeats at the hands of juries. We have won cases we should have lost, and lost cases we should have won. And we have experience in matters (having either litigated cases of this nature and/or mediated such cases) including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Slip/Trip & Fall – defective surfaces or foreign objects
  • Defective stairways/steps/pavement
  • Parking lots (uneven/pot holes/signage) premises liability case
  • Deck collapses
  • Inadequate warning
  • Snow and ice
  • Swimming pools
  • Elevators/Escalators
  • Store displays/falling objects
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Inadequate hand-rails
  • Inadequate Security – nightclubs, bars, etc.
  • False arrest/imprisonment/malicious prosecution cases
  • Construction accidents
  • Physical assault, including sexual assault.
  • Hotel/Motels
  • Restaurants
  • Churches
  • Major shopping malls, and stores w/in the mall
  • Nursing homes
  • Schools
  • Public property (streets, sidewalks, government buildings, etc.)
  • Private residences


For many parties, an important advantage of mediation is the private resolution of their dispute.  This is often the case where the reputation of the parties involved, whether a business which wants to protect its good name, or a plaintiff who might prefer to keep his or her name private due to the personal nature of an event.  A related concern of some parties may be avoiding a reported decision where an adverse precedent would encourage the filing of additional cases against the defendant or create “bad law” for a plaintiff’s position.

Convenience- Eliminate Unecessary Time and Expense

The trial of a case is never at the convenience of the parties.  It is at the convenience of the judge.  Mediation provides the parties with the element of control.  The time, manner and method of the process is within the control of the parties. This is a factor that can be very important for a plaintiff who is unfamiliar with the litigation process and sees it as his enemy rather than his friend. It is difficult having to deal with the personal issues involving the event – it can be even more onerous having to deal with the world of litigation in which he now finds himself. 

For the Plaintiff – “Why has it taken me three years to get the case to trial?” For the Defendant – “I have a business to run.” For a witness – “This is not my fight. I don’t have time for this.” For everyone – “The costs are ridiculous.  The only people who win in this game are the attorneys, and I don’t like attorneys.”

Eliminate Uncetainty and Risk

The elimination of uncertainty/risk is the most important factor in mediating a premises liability case.  No other type of case involves more jury verdict uncertainty for plaintiffs, defendants, and insurers, than premises liability matters.  It is only at Mediation that the parties can study their relative positions as to liability and damages through a lens of compromise and eliminate any uncertainty and risk of an unfavorable jury verdict.

Team Leader Wayne Wilson, Esq is a mediator and arbitrator with Miles in Atlanta.  He has mediated more than 1,000 cases during his tenure with Miles. He specializes primarily in Premises Liability cases; Commercial Liability claims, Automobile/Trucking, Property Damage, and Subrogation Claims.  To schedule a mediation or arbitration with Wayne, please call 678-320-9118 or visit his online calendar.

June 22, 2017 No Comments
Sally Atkins

Sally Akins was recently was recently installed as President of GDLA during the 50th Annual Meeting, held June 15-18 at the Breakers in Palm Beach, FL.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to serve as the President of the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association. GDLA is comprised of the very best civil defense lawyers in the state of Georgia. I am looking forward to an outstanding year as GDLA celebrates its 50th anniversary and reflects on all of our wonderfully talented past leaders who formed the organization and helped make GDLA what it is today.” said Akins.

Akins is based in our Savannah office and mediates and arbitrates in Atlanta and out-of-state, upon request. Sally handles complex cases in areas of Premises Liability; Automobile and Trucking; Professional Negligence (medical, legal and pharmaceutical); Litigation involving counties and municipalities, including Civil Rights cases and Zoning cases; Insurance Coverage Litigation and Products Liability. Furthermore, she is accustomed to handling significant 6- and 7-figure settlements.

To learn more about Sally Akins, click here. 


June 14, 2017 No Comments
Mediator Roy Paul

Miles is pleased to announce the addition of Mediator Roy Paul. He is based in our Savannah office and is the newest member of Team Leader Danny Cohen’s group.

Roy has served as a mediator for more than a decade and handles primarily business dissolution and business disputes, as well as estate & probate, construction, and personal injury matters. He is also a registered arbitrator.

“Roy has been a well-respected  litigator in the Coastal Empire for over 30 years,” said Team Leader Danny Cohen. “For the last decade, he has married his litigation practice with a successful mediation practice.  Roy certainly understands the litigation process, but undoubtedly his expertise in the area of complex  business disputes and in the  contested estate and probate arena make him a perfect fit for the Miles- Savannah office.  We are so pleased to have him on board, giving the Coastal office more options in the alternative dispute resolution area.”

To learn more about Roy, click here.

To book Roy for a mediation or arbitration, please call 912-417-2879 or click here.

June 13, 2017 No Comments
Cliff Cobb, Esq.

by Cliff Cobb, Esq.

I have participated in numerous mediations in my 30 plus years of law practice on both defense and plaintiff sides. The current attorney case load has become a challenge to case management and moving cases toward trial or settlement as soon as possible.  More emphasis has been placed on trying to resolve cases as early as possible.  Most cases settle prior to trial and at mediation as it has become the most effective and efficient method of resolving a case.

As a mediator, I reflect on my experiences from a different view, but with the purpose of maximizing the settlement potential.  The probability of a successful mediation outcome can be increased significantly with each party being fully prepared, viewing the case from the other party’ viewpoint, and being flexible in creating different potential settlement outcomes.  Reliance on the mediator to guide the process is important.  The absence of any one of these can prevent a settlement.


Mediation preparation requires that you not only know your case and have all necessary documents to support your position, but to also know the other party’ case and evidence to support their case.  Preparation for mediation should be treated similarly as trial preparation in proof of your case.  It is expected that each side has fully investigated the case and conducted sufficient discovery regardless of whether the case is in litigation.  The more information shared prior to mediation the better the probability for a successful mediation.  A case can be derailed before the mediation begins in the absence of complete information.  Also, a case can only be evaluated properly by the other side with the information provided.  “Last minute” information will not allow sufficient time for each side to evaluate for mediation.  This is especially true in the corporate and insurance arenas which can involve different management levels, depending on the size of the claim made, to provide the appropriate settlement authority.  In a personal injury case, that means having all medical records and evidence of lost income and any permanency of injury.  This affects both areas of special and general damage claims.  Experts are often relied upon to provide much of this information.  Expert information is normally found, on the issues of liability and damages, in the police or accident/incident report and medical records/bills. It is also important to have medical opinions on causation and specific medical/scientific information to “link up” or refute the relationship to the claim if causation is an issue.  While these statements seem self-evident, the required information is absent in many cases presented at mediation.  Lien information (Medicare, subrogation & ERISA issues) and litigation case loan funding to be repaid is important to know as it affects the case settlement potential.

Preparedness also means having all stakeholders present.  This means plaintiff, defendant, party representatives, and insurers (liability, UM, excess/umbrella).  Identification of all insurers and any insurance coverage issue is critical.  Other persons of influence that are not stakeholders should not be included in the mediation process (e.g., the family member, pastor, or friend).  These can only be detractors from the mediation process. Mediation

Preparedness also means preparation of your client(s) before mediation.  This includes a full discussion of the case, damages, and evaluation; mediation strategy and discussion of the opposing party’s case.  It is helpful to have a brief discussion with the mediator before the mediation date to include information intended to be provided at mediation and any pre-mediation demand and offer.  This helps the mediator develop a “blueprint” of how best to proceed with a mediation.  Any pre-mediation demand letter from plaintiff and offer from defendant should be reasonably related to the claimed damages and include exhibits referenced to highlight and support the claim.  The mediation can be affected when the pre-mediation demand or offer amount are not supported by the case facts.  It is also crucial not to increase the plaintiff’s pre-mediation demand or decrease the defendant’s pre-mediation offer without a change in underlying facts of the case.


Case information should be fully presented at the beginning of the mediation in the opening statement phase when in joint session.  The case outline of each party must include all claims made and essentially provide the same information as would be given on the witness stand at trial. This often allows for a party to vent and allows the focus to be on a party without distraction.  Some attorneys believe an abbreviated or summary opening statement is sufficient.  This approach can be counter-productive and result in the suppression of important information that the other party may need.  An opening statement also allows an attorney to show some of their trial skills.  Allowing the plaintiff to speak is another important part of the opening statement phase.  Hearing and seeing the plaintiff and how the accident affected him/her in the past, present, and potentially future, including any lost work opportunities or activity restriction, is part of the evaluation process needed to be presented early in the mediation process.  Disclosure of pre-existing conditions is important even if not directly involved in the claim.  This creates an atmosphere of “full disclosure” and credibility.  All information is especially needed for the liability insurance adjuster.  Conversely, the insurance adjuster should speak to show empathy and the committed attitude to the mediation process.  Other topics for the opening statement should include identifying any apportionment and indemnity issues, the potential for summary judgment, discussing venue, potential juror evaluation/bias, and judge assigned to the case.  The result is making an appearance of “trial readiness”, but with a mediation “mind set”.


Each party should view the case from the other party’ perspective.  The mediator can assist with evaluating the case information when in private caucus.  This often involves answering the questions of what a jury would do with the information provided and how 12 people compromise to reach a verdict.  The “mind set” at mediation is different than at trial.  Attorney advocacy “mind set” transitions into counselor “mind set” during mediation.  The client’s “mind set” must be controlled with assistance from attorney.  Forget hardened positions, flexibility and a rational “mind set” is required. This includes a compromise mentality with a reasonable settlement attitude, and patience in the mediation process.


Maximizing the benefit of a mediator begins with the tone of mediation.  Each party must exercise the utmost professionalism at all times during the mediation.  The advocacy mentality and language used must remain non-insulting or include any challenging behavior.  The order of the day is for courtesy, politeness, and respect for and by each side during any joint conference.  This allows for the crucial transition of position from “advocate” to “counselor” by counsel for each party during the mediation process.

The mediator’s role is crucial to a successful mediation.  The mediator will provide a “welcoming mentality” to all.  While the comments of a mediator in the opening session are for all, they are normally directed toward the plaintiff and other persons who have not previously participated in a mediation.  The mediation process will normally emphasize to the parties that the litigation process is on hold, benefits of mediation versus trial, control and finality of outcome with removal of doubt on trial outcome, cost and time savings, confidentiality, monetary value/exposure, and relationship preservation as applicable.  The mediator will collaborate with the parties individually to evaluate plaintiff/defendant type bias.  The various party type bias includes whether the case involves an individual or corporation (cab or trucking company, premises owner), pedestrian, vehicle driver, motorcyclist, race and gender type, physical qualities (obese, attractive), and youth.

The individual private caucus sessions allow the mediator to identify the information that can be shared with the opposing party as confidentiality is always of utmost interest and concern.  The mediator will recommend information to share with opposing party.  “Reality” testing for each side that is open-ended and non-judgmental is a crucial part in individual caucus sessions.  This includes a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses to each party’ case to evaluate risks associated with each case.  Discussion of opposing party’ expectation with the other party and reasoning for the expectation is helpful to discuss and evaluate the impact of the opposing party case.  This may include a discussion of a potential jury outcome if this case were tried a certain number of times.  The mediator will assist the parties in thinking/developing creative solutions for mutual gain.  Identifying costs of trial versus mediation resolution and attorney fee difference in demand and offer are important considerations.  Other important points of mediation are to trust the mediator to know if mediation should continue or end, allow time for each party to evaluate all shared information, and identify a potential settlement opportunity during the mediation process by being prepared to accept an offer which makes sense for your client.

Last, the mediator role of facilitating/assisting parties is to develop their resolution outcome.  The mediator experience as an attorney can be used as a resource by parties and serve in assisting each party with a case evaluation and negotiation strategy.  Understanding that no legal or financial advice is provided, the mediator’s role is to have empathy with each party and to build trust.  This includes identifying and discussing the needs and interests of each party in settlement and to reveal any party agenda that could affect the potential for a mediation settlement.  The emphasis is on interests versus positions of the parties, needs versus wants associated with party positions, tangible-dollars and/or property interest, and perception of fairness in the mediation process.  There are many mediation tools to know that may be used including (1) hard numbers exchanged separately or in combination with a bracket, (2) bracketing-traditional and reverse, (3) meeting with only the attorneys, and (4) a mediator number (silver bullet).


Terms of settlement are included in a mediation settlement memorandum.  This process cannot be taken lightly or as routine, as problems can later develop in agreeing to certain language within the settlement documents (e.g., release, lien affidavit) drafted by the attorneys from the mediation settlement memorandum.  Specificity of settlement terms in the mediation settlement memorandum is needed and should identify all material terms from the case settlement.  This includes naming all parties to the settlement, non-monetary terms (e.g., adoption of new policies, taking or refraining from certain future conduct or action, written or oral private or public apology, placement of warning signs in a premises case), monetary terms of amount to be paid  including when paid, and the paying party and to whom paid; lump sum and/or structured settlement payment(s), apportionment issues resolved, claims released and those claims preserved (e.g., tort and worker compensation cases from same incident; non-parties), mutual release of claims as applicable, indemnification by plaintiff to defendant(s), mediation costs shared or paid by one party, attorney fees, confidentiality terms applicable, medical and insurer lien responsibility, and the timing of filing the dismissal.  Last, the cooperation of all parties to settlement document implementation must be included.


Mediation doesn’t end at the mediation table, but includes mediator/party attorney contact after mediation.  For a settled case the mediator will want to have an objective review of mediation process—reflection with comments and client input/comments—(favorable and unfavorable).  For an unsettled case, there should be an exit strategy developed by each side.  Don’t be discouraged if the case doesn’t resolve at mediation.  There should be mediator/party involvement that continues the mediation process with specific interest in discussing new information expected which can be shared with all.  The point is to continue efforts as case information normally does change.


Mediation cannot be taken lightly or regarded as a routine matter by placing heavy reliance solely on the mediator.  Mediation takes commitment by all parties.  Mediation should only be used after the case has been fully investigated by all parties and after a fair exchange of information for each party’s case. Merely filing a lawsuit or making a time limited demand and then setting the case for mediation does not increase the probability of a successful mediation.  Mediation is a “mind set” which depends on not having hardened positions.  Party negotiating must be with the “mind set” focused on the potential gain and achievement and not on what you might lose or give up.  Outcomes must be beneficial to all parties recognizing that each party does not prioritize every issue the same way. This recognizes that money is not the only benefit of a successful mediation, but also includes the benefits of finality, cost, control of outcome, and respect.  Respect is shown in a successful mediation by each side having acknowledged and understood each party’ point of view and having negotiated in good faith during the entire process.  An understanding and appreciation for the many moving parts in the mediation process and each party role will result in a higher probability for a successful mediation.

Cliff Cobb, Esq. is a mediatorAtlanta.  He mediates commercial, personal injury, premises liability, product liability, auto and trucking accidents, and workers compensation disputes.  To schedule a mediation with Cliff, please call 678-320-9118 or visit his online calendar.

June 8, 2017 No Comments

What made you want to become a lawyer?
I have always enjoyed problem solving.  From an early age, I would take things apart and put them back together, such as our family computer.  That curiosity fueled a need to learn how things worked, and how to come up with ways to fix things when they did not work.

After college, I was fortunate enough to get a job tasked with developing software for a company’s internal use.  The same concepts applied – take apart what was there and improve it as it was put back together.
I viewed becoming a lawyer in much the same way.  I could help people by taking apart their situations or problems, and finding solutions that add value.  I enjoy contributing to solutions, which, in turn, means I enjoy helping people.

What is your area of expertise?
I am a business lawyer.  Throughout my career, I have assisted businesses in various ways, whether through ongoing business advice or through advocating in various forms of litigation.  I enjoy contract law, which is the lifeblood of business dealings.

What are you most proud of on your resume?
I really do not have a good answer for this question.  I look at my resume as a whole, as opposed to separate parts.  Each of the experiences contributed to who and what I am today.   Overall, I am proud of my client’s achievements, as opposed to items on my resume.  I am most proud of the fact that many of my clients view me as a valued advisor to their businesses, knowing that I am truly a part of their team.

Why did you become a mediator?
Through my litigation experience, I have seen the disruption litigation causes to businesses, distracting them from what they do best.  As an advocate, I learned to appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of both sides of each dispute.  I became a mediator to assist in finding solutions to business disputes, to help minimize this disruption.  The best resolutions most often occur when they are not provided by the judge or jury, and I enjoy helping parties and their counsel find those solutions.

What is the value of Alternative Dispute Resolution?
Only what the litigants are willing to put into it.  ADR can provide litigants an opportunity to streamline their disputes.  If they come to mediation with an interest in resolving their case, mediation can offer them the opportunity to craft a resolution that would not likely be able to be done through the courts.  Moreover, a mediated resolution provides the parties the ability to control their outcome, as opposed to “taking their chances” with a judge or jury.  Arbitration provides an opportunity to minimize the public eye on disputes, and provides litigants a means and a forum to have a decision maker that has knowledge and experience in the area of law pertinent to their dispute.  Arbitration also provides a litigation format that is aimed at efficiency.

What is the most challenging part of being a mediator?
Helping come up with solutions that may not have been considered prior to mediation.

What is your mediation style/approach?
I look to facilitate solutions through understanding and applied problem solving.  I want to understand the parties’ respective positions, what they have already done to try to resolve the dispute, and what they are trying to accomplish.  I will then work to help remove the parties from the battlefield mentality so that they can hammer out the details of a deal that will allow them to get back to business.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania.  Sharpsville is a small town sitting on the Ohio boarder in Western Pennsylvania about halfway between Pittsburgh and Lake Erie.

What’s your favorite book?
I enjoy reading to learn something new, but also enjoy an occasional fiction.  I have many favorites, but the one that came to mind first is One Second After by William R. Forstchen.

What do you like to do in your spare time? How do you unwind?
I enjoy spending time with my family.  My wife and I are the proud parents of two little boys, ages 7 and 9, and our household is very active.  When not working, we are usually running around from soccer, to Cub Scouts, to swim team, etc.  Having the opportunity to be a part of their lives is the most rewarding part of mine.

Do you have a favorite quote?
I had a hard time picking between three of my favorites, so I provide three in response to a request for a favorite:
1.   “Everything is figureoutable.” – Marie Forleo

2.   “Start by doing what is necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi

3.   “Be sure to put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” Abraham Lincoln

What’s something your clients wouldn’t expect of you? 
I played the part of King Herod in my college’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

What movie or novel character do you most identify with?
This is “somewhat” aspirational.  I identify with the determination of Maximus from Gladiator, the loyalty of Chewbacca from Star Wars, and the adventurous intellectualism of Indiana Jones.

What characteristic do you most admire in others?

If you could have dinner with anyone living who would it be and why?
My dad, Robert Thiry.  My parents and grandparents are my foundation.  I have learned so much from my dad, and continue to learn from him all of the time.  Over the years, he has given me so much to look up to and be proud of.  We speak very regularly, but, because we live so far apart, we see each other infrequently.

June 7, 2017 No Comments

John Miles recently presented at the Litigation Management College at Emory Conference Center. The seminar was put on by the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC). John spoke to a packed auditorium on “Successful Mediation: Tips & Techniques.” In addition to his presentation, John participated in mock mediations with the seminar participants.

When asked about his involvement in the seminar, John said, “I enjoyed presenting about mediation at the FDCC Litigation Management College. I always learn something new from the excellent faculty which this year included Matthew Moffett and Michael Schroeder. I hope the students walked away with an appreciation with how to effectively communicate with the opposite side at mediation.”

This year’s seminar included an impressive group of faculty–from Atlanta-based attorneys to distinguished national speakers.

For more information about FDCC Litigation Management College, click here.





June 5, 2017 No Comments

We are proud to announce that Miles was voted the #1 Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Firm by Daily Report’s Best Of Survey for the fourth year in a row. The Daily Report’s Best Of Survey is a compilation of Georgia lawyers picks for the best legal services and products. Voting was conducted online and garnered several thousand responses. The Daily Report is the foremost publication for Georgia’s entire legal community.

Miles founder John Miles said, “I’m deeply honored that Miles has once again been voted the number one ADR firm in Georgia for the fourth year in a row. We work very hard to earn the trust and respect of the legal community and it’s gratifying to be recognized as the best by our peers.”

In the same survey, Team Leader Greg Parent was voted the No.1 Mediator in Georgia for the second year in a row, and John Miles was voted the No. 3 Mediator. This is the second consecutive year John Miles was voted among the Top 3 mediators in the state.

Team Leader Greg Parent said, “It’s great to be part of an A+ organization whose sole focus is providing the best mediation and arbitration services we can to our valued customers. It is wonderful to be recognized as the top firm in that field for four straight years.”

For more information and to see a list of this year’s complete results, click here.

June 5, 2017 No Comments

Team Leader Greg Parent was voted the No.1 Mediator in Daily Report’s 2017 Best Of Survey for the second year in a row. The Daily Report’s Best Of Survey is a compilation of Georgia lawyers picks for the best legal services and products. Voting was conducted online and garnered several thousand responses. The Daily Report is the foremost publication for Georgia’s legal community.

“I continue to be amazed by Greg’s commitment to his craft,” said John Miles. “He works hard to be the best, and I’m pleased he has once again been selected as the best mediator in the state.”
Greg joined Miles in 2012 and quickly ascended to the level of Team Leader. He mediates and arbitrates cases involving high-end personal injury, premises liability, trucking liability, toxic torts and employment. He also manages a team of seven neutrals who specialize in mediation, arbitration and special master services.

Regarding his award, Greg said, “I am honored to be recognized by my peers as being the best while doing something that I love and work so hard to improve and study each and every day. It is humbling and something I share with everyone at Miles Mediation because I believe it is our shared brand of excellence that makes my successes possible.”

Miles Mediation & Arbitration Services was voted the Best ADR Firm for the fourth consecutive year in the Daily Report Best Of Survey. Founder John Miles was voted the No. 3 Mediator in the same survey. This is the second consecutive year John Miles was voted among the Top 3 mediators in the state.

To view the complete 2017 Daily Report Survey results, click here.

May 28, 2017 No Comments

Miles is pleased to announce the addition of Matthew Thiry, Esq. to Team Nutter in Atlanta. Matt is a registered mediator and arbitrator with significant commercial litigation experience. At Miles, he will mediate and arbitrate disputes in the areas of business, ficuiary, real estate and probate. He will continue to maintain his law practice, Matt Thiry Law, LLC.

“I am delighted that Matt has joined our team. Matt brings many years of commercial litigation to the mediation process with the understanding of what it takes to push a case through to compromise,” said Team Leader David Nutter.

Matt graduated from Michigan State University College of Law in 2004. He has received an AV® Preeminent™ rating from Martindale Hubbell, and on multiple occasions he has been selected by other lawyers and by Georgia Trend magazine to be included in the list of “Legal Elite.” He has also been selected on multiple occasions by other lawyers and Georgia Super Lawyers magazine as a “Rising Star” in the list of Georgia Super Lawyers. Matt is a member of The Lawyers Club of Atlanta, the State Bars of Georgia and Pennsylvania, and The Atlanta Bar Association.

“It is truly an honor to join Miles Mediation & Arbitration Services,” said Thiry. “Not only have I been provided the opportunity to be a part of an award-winning ADR provider, I have been provided the privilege to be a part of a well-known and respected team led by David Nutter.”

To learn more about Matt, click here.

To schedule a mediation or arbitration with Matt, click here.

May 27, 2017 No Comments

Mediator Parag Shah was recently recognized as a 2017 Rising Star by the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association (GAPABA). He accepted the award at GAPABA’s Annual Gala, held at Fernbank on May 27, 2017 .

Parag is member of Team Forsling at Miles and mediates primarily personal injury cases. In addition to his mediation practice, Parag also manages his own law firm: The Shah Firm, where he specializes in personal injury and criminal defense. Furthermore, he has served as a Pro Hac Judge to the City of Atlanta Municipal Court since his appointment by Mayor Kasim Reed in 2016.

Parag is also serves as an adjunct professor at Ohio Northern University Law School where he teaches jury selection and cross-examination. He is also a faculty member for the Bill Daniel Trial Advocacy Program. Additionally, he oversees a criminal defense externship program through John Marshall Law School in Atlanta.

Parag has been acknowledged as Georgia’s Top 40 Under 40 by the Daily Report, a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine & Georgia Trend Magazine. In 2011, he was featured as an expert in criminal defense on NPR‘s “This American Life”, Episode 430 – Very Tough Love. In addition, Shah regularly provided legal commentary on CNN’s Nancy Grace.

He is the author of three Georgia pocketbooks: The Code Criminal, The Code Civil and The Code Evidence. The Code is currently published by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia.  In November 2017, Parag is planning to debut a new series of “How To” books and a book on mediation best practices.

To learn more about Parag and to view his calendar, click here. 

May 20, 2017 No Comments
Mediator Jim Anderson

We are proud to announce the addition of James M. Anderson to Team Wilson in Atlanta.  Jim is a registered mediator and arbitrator with extensive experience in areas of aviation, construction law, property damage, personal injury, contract law, estate, probate, domestic relations.

“Jim brings a wealth of experience to Miles Mediation as a litigator, judge, and mediator with over 35 years of experience. He’s a man of character, integrity, empathy, and understanding of complex issues who has the ability to assist parties in reaching resolutions of disputes in an amicable fashion. His expertise in construction law, contract disputes, personal injury claims, probate,  and domestic relations matters will serve his clients well,” said Team Leader Wayne Wilson.

Jim has served as a Municipal Court Judge in Sandy Springs (2005-2014); a Magistrate Judge in Fulton County (2010-2015); and has currently served as a Municipal Court Judge in Norcross since 2015. He served as President of the Georgia Council of Municipal Court Judges from 2013-2014 and has served as a Chairman of the Georgia Board of Court Reporting since 2013. He is also a frequent lecturer for Municipal and Magistrate Court Judges Continuing Judicial Education.

Jim has served as a registered mediator since 2009 and certified civil arbitrator in Fulton County since 1986. He received his Juris Doctorate cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1980 and his Bachelor of Science in General Management from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1974.


To learn more about Jim, click here.

To schedule a mediation or arbitration with Jim, click here.

May 18, 2017 No Comments

We are proud to announce that Miles won the “Legal Organization-Total Pounds” category in this year’s Georgia Legal Food Frenzy. We finished the competition with 54,074 total pounds, the most computed pounds (including bonuses) of any legal organization.

In total, we raised $10,655 and 146 pounds of food for the Atlanta Community Food Bank and America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia. Our contributions helped the Georgia Association of Food Banks to raise a record-breaking 1.34 million pounds statewide. This record is a tremendous accomplishment that will have a real impact on the children and hardworking families served by state food banks every day.

Attorney General Carr will recognize Miles and other winners at the Annual Bar Meeting on Jekyll Island- Friday, June 9 from 9 a.m.- 12 p.m.

For more information about the competition’s final results, click here. To learn more about the Georgia Food Bank Association, click here.

May 2, 2017 No Comments

Atlanta law firms and legal organizations raised more than $190,000 online donations over the course of two weeks for the 6th annual Legal Food Frenzy. The competition ran April 17-28.  For the past six years, the Attorney General and the State Bar have partnered with Georgia’s eight regional food banks to host the Legal Food Frenzy, a food and fund drive competition among all of Georgia’s law firms and legal organizations to see who can have the biggest impact on hunger.

Miles finished third in this year’s competition behind King & Spalding and Alston & Bird.  Other top law firms include  Troutman Sanders, Serta Simmons Bedding Legal Department, Taylor English, Smith, Gambrell & Russell, Kutak Rock, Jenkins & Roberts, and Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton.

Although this was the first year Miles participated in the Frenzy, our panel of neutrals embraced the challenge of hitting our initial online donation goal of $5,000. Not only did our neutrals surpass the $5k mark, but they rallied clients and friends to donate as well, which enabled us to raise our goal to $10,000. Mediator Parag Shah was the highest contributor at Miles, with a generous donation of $1,000. Parag’s early contribution enabled Miles to maintain the top spot for most of the competition’s first week.

Another highlight of our campaign was the unexpected donation on behalf of Attorney Tarek Aleem, of the law firm Joseph, Aleem & SlowikMr. Aleem donated $2,500 to catapult Miles into 3rd place on the final day of the competition. When we reached out to Joseph, Aleem & Slowik to offer gratitude, they responded:

“Philanthropy is a core part being for us over at the Aleem firm. Whether it’s helping the hungry or representing the underprivileged, I’ve always found it necessary to protect the rights of the less fortunate. We donate to orphanages, schools, and food banks across the Country and world and are humbled that we were allowed to participate in this cause.”

Everyone at Miles is grateful for the generosity of the law firm Joseph, Aleem & Slowik, our clients and friends. Additionally, we appreciate the opportunity to participate in this year’s Food Frenzy. We are inspired by the vision of the Atlanta Community Food Bank; Attorney General, Chris Carr; and all of the hard-working attorneys, staff, and volunteers who make this fundraiser possible every year.

For more information about Georgia Legal Food Frenzy, click here.

April 19, 2017 No Comments
mediation training

by Wendy Williamson, Esq.

I have trained hundreds of non-lawyers in civil mediation and participants frequently tell me that they wish they had trained earlier. I encourage you to complete mediation training sooner rather than later for the following reasons:

  1. To Minimize Attorneys in your Lives. Hiring an attorney to fix a dispute is like using money for home repairs rather than home improvements. Minimizing disputes allows you to hire attorneys for growth rather than damage control.  No matter your occupation, if you interact with people, your peace and success will depend upon your communication skills and your ability to manage difficult conversations effectively and efficiently.  Mediation training uses current research, hands-on exercises and role plays to exercise communication skills, to develop the ability to manage conflict and to build solutions through team work and agreement. Developing mediation skills enables you to spend your precious time, energy and resources on making a better life, business or relationship.
  1. To Manage your Stress Level. We live in very stressful times. Stress impacts on our ability to listen, think clearly and communicate effectively. In mediation training, we learn to create safe spaces where people can listen and reason. We learn how impactful location, timing, planning and written details can be on our productivity and success. We study how people think and make decisions, how to effectively be agents of reality, how to respectfully deal with emotions and expectations, how to manage our own emotions, how to practice active listening to avoid misunderstandings and develop trust and critical knowledge. The greatest threats to working relationships are miscommunication, unrealistic or unmet expectations and the perception of disrespect. The skills honed and practiced in mediator training will help you avoid these pitfalls and the resulting stress.
  1. A Proven Communication Weapon for a New World. Someone posts on Facebook, co-workers communicate by email copying “up the chain,” bosses text liberally at all hours or we join a conference call with faceless people from around the world. We can no longer rely upon workplace conversations taking place face-to-face or even at the workplace. How do we manage this communication blob? Strategically. Purposefully. Carefully. In mediation training, we learn to structure communication so that people can be heard and understood. We practice skills such as reframing, restating and brainstorming which compensate for the dangers inherent in conversations laden with opinions. Mediation is designed to bring back civil conversations in a world leaning toward voice-to-voice combat.
  1. Life Management. If you are like me, you find yourself having more difficult conversations in your daily life outside of work. Have you had a discussion about national politics or the Affordable Care Act lately? Whether we are in parent-teacher conferences, at our bank or dealing with co-workers, we have an increasing need to manage conversations wisely and productively. Mediation training is an invaluable life skill.

I hope I have the privilege to train you in the life skills of negotiation and mediation. Please join a class by registering here.

Why Should Non-Attorneys Complete Mediation Training
Wendy Williamson, Esq. is a mediator and instructor with Miles in Savannah and Atlanta.  She has over 20 years of mediation experience and is widely considered one of the top mediation trainers in Georgia.  
To schedule a mediation with Wendy, please call 678-320-9118 or visit her online calendar.

April 17, 2017 No Comments
2017 Legal Food Frenzy

Miles is excited to participate in this year’s Georgia Legal Food Frenzy competition.  Our firm goal is to raise $5,000. Online donations may be made on Miles’ team page. To make a donation, click here.

Legal Food Frenzy official description:

The Office of the Attorney General, the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia, and the Georgia Food Bank Association have joined forces to create a friendly food and fund drive competition among Georgia law firms, law schools, legal organizations, and corporate, in-house counsel to support the Georgia Food Bank Association, which is comprised of 8 Regional Food Banks who serve all 159 counties. In its first five years, this competition has raised the equivalent of 5 million pounds of food for the Food Banks.
Georgia’s Food Banks work through a network of nearly 2,400 partner agencies and faith-based organizations to distribute 140 million pounds of food annually to Georgians who need it the most.

The Legal Food Frenzy comes at a critical time for the Food Banks. Nearly 60% of Georgia’s public school children are eligible for free and reduced lunch. The Legal Food Frenzy provides a much needed supply of food and funds to Georgia’s regional Food Banks to help the families of those kids during summer months when schools are closed. The 2017 goal is to raise the equivalent of 1.35 million pounds of food for the Food Banks to distribute.

For more information about the Georgia Food Bank Association and the Legal Food Frenzy competition, click here.



April 14, 2017 No Comments
2017 Legal Food Frenzy

Miles proud to participate in this year’s Georgia Legal Food Frenzy. The annual competition benefits the Georgia Food Bank Association’s eight regional Feeding America Food Banks. Collectively, the food banks distribute more than 140 million pounds of food each year.

Along with other competing Georgia law firm and legal organizations, Miles is committed to raising as much as possible. We would love to win the competition, but our primary goal is to help those in need and help combat the prevalence of hunger and poverty among our fellow Georgians.

Everything we raise will benefit Atlanta Community Food Bank, the regional food bank that serves our community, and America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia in Savannah.  And for every $1 donated, the food bank can distribute 5 meals worth of food into the community.

How can you help?

1 in 4 children in Georgia live in households that can’t regularly put food on the table. Here’s how you can partner with us to do something about it:

  • Pledge to match monetary donations – you will be recognized on the Legal Food Frenzy website and publications!
  • Drop off canned goods at our offices in Atlanta and Savannah (APRIL 17- APRIL 28 only)

Let’s rise to the challenge and do our part to reduce hunger in our very own community!


April 13, 2017 No Comments

John Miles was invited to be a panelist at the Liability Claims seminar at the Atlanta Claims Association Annual Conference on April 27 at the Northeast Hilton Atlanta.

John’s panel, “Settling Our Difference in Bad Faith,” also includes distinguished Atlanta attorneys Jonathan Adelman of Waldon Adelman Castila Hiestand & Prout; David Atkinson of Swift Currie McHgee & Hiers; and Jay Sadd of Slappey & Sadd.

The seminar also features panels that will include President of ACA, Pamela Glick; host of the Liability Section, Kim Jackson of  Bovis, Kyle, Burch & Medlin; and the following respected attorneys:

Billy Davis of Bovis, Kyle, Burch & Medlin
Brian Jackson of Drew Eckl Farnham; Mark Levinson of Hawkins
Marty Levinson, Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young
Drew Timmons, Swift Currie McHgee & Hiers
Dan Prout, Waldon Adelman Castilla Hiestand & Prout
Matt Barr, Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young
Douglas Chandler of Chandler & Moore
Michael Werner, The Werner Law Firm

For more information about the seminar and ACA, click here.


April 7, 2017 No Comments
Mediator Wendy Williamson

Earlier this week, Wendy Williamson appeared on a panel at the University of Georgia’s Law School in celebration of the launch of its newly formed Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Society. The panel was assembled for the continuing legal education seminar, “Ethics and Professionalism in Dispute Resolution: Where Standards and Practice Collide.”

The event was co-hosted by the Association for Conflict Resolution, and the panel featured Wendy Williamson; Tracy Johnson, Executive Director of the Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution; and mediation trainer Raye Rawls of the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development.

Mediator Wendy Williamson appears on ADR and mediation panel

Wendy Williamson shared her thoughts on the honor of being asked to serve on the panel:

The most exciting aspect of my experience was meeting the new generation of future lawyers who are committed to growing ADR and mediation not only in their practices but also in our communities. It was exhilarating to feel hope and excitement about the future of mediation which has come so far in my lifetime but has even greater potential in the courageous and innovative hands of UGA Law School’s future graduates. Thanks to the efforts of Professor Lanier and Jeremy Akin, a 2nd year law student, UGA Law has its first ADR Society linked to the Georgia Chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution. I watched Jeremy Akin grow up and Jeremy served as an intern at the Mediation Center in Savannah during his college years. Jeremy went on to conduct research as a Fulbright Scholar around mediating land disputes in Uganda for three years. It was especially moving for me to see Jeremy take a leadership role at my beloved alma mater to promote mediation education and community. 


To request Wendy Williamson as a speaker at your next event, please email:

March 31, 2017 No Comments

by Burke Johnson, Esq.

Litigation of disputes related to decedents’ estates is increasing.  The assets over which many baby boomers are now fighting, left by frugal depression era parents, can be significant. This older generation saved money and as a result, many estates are larger, and each child wants his or her “fair share.”  Family dynamics have also changed. Families are no longer as close as they once were. Siblings move from their homes of origin across the state or even across the country.  They do not stay in touch.  It is often easier to fight with a family member not seen in years than with one who lives in the same. Similarly, with the increase of divorce and second marriages, there is more willingness to fight with a deceased parent’s surviving second spouse or step-siblings.  Finally, for many people, an inheritance has become something that they expect.  They have been counting on it and will fight for it.

The idea of using “alternative dispute resolution” to settle estate disputes is not new.  Indeed, no less than the Father of our Country, George Washington, included a provision in his own will for resolution of any issues that might arise:

“But having endeavored to be plain, and explicit in all the Devises, even at the expence of prolixity, perhaps of tautology, I hope, and trust, that no disputes will arise concerning them; but if, contrary to expectation, the case should be otherwise, from the want of legal expression, or the usual technical terms, or because too much or too little has been said on any of the Devises to be consonant with law, My Will and direction expressly is, that all disputes (if unhappily any should arise) shall be decided by three impartial and intelligent men, known for their probity and good understanding; two to be chosen by the disputants, each having the choice of one, and the third by those two. Which three men thus chosen, shall, unfettered by Law, or legal constructions, declare their Sense of the Testator’s intention; and such decision is, to all intents and purposes to be as binding on the parties as if it had been given in the Supreme Court of the United States.

The use of mediation to resolve estate disputes is preferable to litigation for many reasons.

  1. Control
    Mediation allows participants to control the outcome.  Litigation puts it in hands of judge or jury.  No matter how experienced the attorney, none has the ability to predict exactly how a judge or jury will find in any given case.  Resolving issues at mediation provides the clients with total control over the outcome.
  2. Time and Expense
    Mediation can achieve results much more quickly than litigation.  As the saying goes, “time is money.”  The longer litigation lasts, the more expensive it becomes. Consider, for example, the “Gaines Cases” rooted in a bigamous marriage that occurred in eighteenth century New Orleans.  The estate litigation spanned approximately fifty years and generated multiple opinions from the United States Supreme Court.  More recently and closer to home, the death of a successful Georgia businessman in  2004 generated litigation that has spanned over seven years and resulted in three opinions from the Georgia Supreme Court.
  3. Privacy
    Except in certain limited cases, documents filed with Georgia’s courts are public record.  Similarly, Georgia’s courtrooms are open, and except in certain limited cases, all of the evidence presented in a trial or hearing is subject to becoming public knowledge.  In estate litigation cases, this can result in the “airing of dirty laundry” that a family might prefer to keep private. In contrast, mediation is a private process.  The parties can control the release of information and the mediation session is attended only by those involved and is not open to the public, provides the advantage of privacy.
  4. Confidentiality
    Similar to the privacy issue, nothing that is contained in public filings or revealed at a hearing is confidential.   Except in very limited circumstances, nothing that is said in the mediation session can be revealed outside of the mediation or used by or against either party at a later date in the event that the mediation does not result in a settlement.  This gives the parties the incentive to share openly.
  5. Preservation of Relationships
    Many estate litigation cases involve parties who are adverse to each other and who have no significant past relationship and no desire to continue in any future relationship.  However, many cases involve siblings or other family members who were fairly close to each other until the death of the family member giving rise to the estate dispute.  In these circumstances, typically, the longer the litigation goes on, and the more negative charges are hailed at each other, the relationship suffers.  Mediation can help avoid this and allow the parties to repair the relationship.

In conclusion, everyone who practices in the area of estate litigation should encourage their clients to use mediation as the preferred method of resolving their disputes.

Mediator Burke JohnsonBurke Johnson, Esq. is a mediator with Miles Mediation in Atlanta.  He has over 30 years of experience handling cases of all complexities and sizes, including  automobile, motorcycle and trucking wrecks; premises liability actions (including cases involving claims of negligent security); product liability claims; construction defect claims; commercial general liability claims; professional liability claims; insurance coverage matters; life, health and disability insurance claims; ERISA benefit claims; business and commercial disputes; elder care and adult guardianships; probate and estate litigation; and family law matters.  

To learn more about Burke or to schedule a mediation, please call 678-320-9118 or visit his online calendar.

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