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

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.

MAKE  A DONATION HERE

 

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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!

MAKE A DONATION HERE

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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.

 

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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: mdickson@milesmediation.com

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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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March 21, 2017 No Comments

by John K. Miles, Jr., Esq.

Years ago when I practiced law, I worked for a client in the construction industry. The company required claims to be mediated – a fairly new concept at time. When one of their products turned out defective, I often found myself sitting around a table at mediation. Former Georgia Attorney General, Mike Bowers, was the mediator on a number of these cases. After we got to know each other, at one point he suggested that I would be a good mediator. Mike meant it as a compliment but I was offended. I was a litigator. Mediation was for those who couldn’t make it in the courtroom.

I did have a great deal of respect for Mike, so I couldn’t dismiss his suggestion entirely. After thinking it over, I asked why he thought I’d be a good mediator. He said I had the right personality. He explained how successful mediators need to be equal parts people pleaser and closer. He added, “One minute, you have to tell someone they are crazy as hell and the next, be willing to jump up and get them a cup of coffee.”

Over the years I’ve come to realize the wisdom in Mike’s observation. Attorneys do select a mediator based on the mediator’s ability to get a case settled but that mediator also has to be someone the attorney wants to spend the day with. There aren’t many personalities who share this unique blend of characteristics.

I enjoyed success as a litigator but I love mediating. The variety of cases always ensures you are learning new things. I’ve learned how highways and bridges are constructed, the complexities of the human brain and how to take a good idea and build it into a multimillion-dollar company.  Each day, I get to work with fascinating people. I’ve mediated with celebrities, politicians, sports stars and leaders of industry. I’ve even mediated cases for two episodes of reality television.

When practicing law, I loved calendar calls. Going to the courthouse gave me the opportunity to visit with my colleagues. At Miles we have seven to ten cases mediating every day. It’s a pleasure to catch up with old friends in the legal industry and make new ones.

How fortunate for me that I was able to turn a personality disorder – people pleasing — into a career. Every morning I go to work, I count my blessings making a living doing what I love.

 


John Miles is the founder of Miles Mediation & Arbitration Services. He has mediated over 2,000 cases and continues to mediate full-time, handling disputes in areas of personal injury, premises liability, insurance, construction, estates, fiduciary, contracts, commercial, business, employment, and subrogation. For more information about John or to schedule a mediation with him, click here. 

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