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

March 25, 2014 1 Comment

by Glenn Loewenthal

This is my first in a series of mediation tips to help you get your cases resolved at mediation. The reason this tip is the first in the series is because this is sometimes the first dispute that comes up to derail a mediation session.
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March 17, 2014 No Comments
communication strategies

By John Miles

A. The Real Motivator

If you have suffered through an hour-long talk on mediation, you might rightly conclude that the speaker had been allotted too much time – by about 50 minutes. There simply are not that many ways to say that the defendant needs to pay more and the plaintiff needs to accept less. So it is that when I was asked to address a convention on the topic of mediation, I decided to try something different.

A few months prior to the speech, I began asking all my mediation participants to fill out surveys. The surveys were designed to identify what motivated individuals to mediate. While the purpose of the surveys was to provide a unique and entertaining topic for my presentation, the findings of those surveys radically changed the way I mediate.

I believed for years that people were motivated to mediate for one reason – money. I was not surprised when the surveys confirmed my supposition that plaintiff attorneys, defense attorneys and insurance claims representatives focus on the bottom line.
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March 11, 2014 1 Comment

By Joe Murphey

Miles Mediation founder and owner John Miles is the consummate movie buff. John can quote (extensively) from a variety of classic movies, but when it comes to The Godfather, I honestly believe he can recite the entire script from beginning to end.

So, when John asked me to put something together for the blog, I felt obliged to pay tribute to THE movie of all movies. And, as it happens, there’s a lot to learn about mediation from The Godfather. (Maybe this will be the first installment in a series.) Today’s lesson: Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli.

For anyone who just arrived on planet earth, or just woke up from a 30 year coma, watch this YouTube video first, then continue reading:

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March 2, 2014 No Comments

By Jamie Miles

A raven-haired woman whispered in her husband’s ear. He lowered his head, looked in her brown eyes and gave her hand a squeeze. The couple stood against the wall of a large bustling Atlanta office while lawyers, court reporters, men and women dressed in suits and silk blouses and ties stream to and fro.

It’s not unusual for parties involved in litigation to feel uncomfortable when walking into mediation. Having English as a second language only intensifies the anxiety.

February 26, 2014 1 Comment

 A excerpt from  A New Day in Court by John Miles

Many readers of this primer are already familiar with mediation. Perhaps you are a mediator. Perhaps you have mediated at Miles Mediation and could write this primer better than I. Should you resemble either of the above, please feel free to skip to the

Even the most cursory consideration of A New Day in Court provides the reader with one insight about the author. I am an unabashed movie fan. In the movie Philadelphia, Denzel Wash- ington says, “Explain it like I’m a fifth grader.”

This primer explains the nuts and bolts of mediation.

What?

Mediation is a process that enables parties to resolve disputes. Customarily used in legal disputes, mediation is a cost- effective alternative to trial by jury. In recent years, mediation has become the preferred method for resolving lawsuits.

Following are some of the identifying characteristics of typical mediation:

  1. Mediation is a voluntary process. Resolution requires that both parties agree to the terms of the settlement.
  2. A mediator facilitates the process, guiding adversaries through a discussion of the issues in an effort to find areas of agree- ment.
  3. While mediators are not required to have a law degree, most mediators are attorneys. Legal disputes require that mediators have a knowledge of the law and an understanding of jury tendencies.

Arbitration, on the other hand, is a process where parties contractually agree to submit their case to an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators—to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision.

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February 10, 2014 2 Comments


By Gregory J. Parent, Miles Mediation & Arbitration Services, Inc.

Historically speaking, paralegals are essential to a successful law firm. Depending on the type of law practice and the experience of the person, a good paralegal can be responsible for everything from meeting and signing up potential clients to helping keep abreast of the blood and guts of the case, including filing and scheduling. Paralegals are often the liaison between the attorneys and the clients, providing much needed support.

That role is doubly important when it comes to mediation, as the legal landscape slowly shifts towards more and more alternative dispute resolution. Mediation is a valuable tool for the resolution of cases. It provides a forum for the parties to work collaboratively to resolve cases through nuanced negotiation and discussions, moderated and shepherded by a trained mediator.

It is a valuable opportunity for parties to resolve their cases with their own input, rather than turn the decision-making over to a judge or jury. Since it is an opportunity to resolve a case and get some finality for the client, it should be given the utmost respect and prepared for in much the same way you would gear up for trial.

There are only two times when a case value can be determined. The first is when a jury awards a verdict. The second is when a defense attorney or an adjuster makes a final settlement offer. Those are the only two times that your case has true value. Everything else is purely conjecture and speculation based on past performance and experience.

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February 6, 2014 No Comments

By David C. Nutter

         “That was a miracle. I didn’t think we had a chance of settling this case.”  So the satisfied lawyer confides to the mediator after his client has departed with a settlement leaving behind a contentious multi-year litigation.  Now, I happen to believe in miracles. I’ve seen them. And whenever disputing parties voluntarily choose to put aside years of rancor and embrace peace, there is a touch of the Divine. But it is helpful to recognize that we, as lawyers and mediators, can take steps to improve the odds of a “mediation miracle.”

At the source of many conflicts is poor communication.  And proper communication, not surprisingly, is the key to unraveling a knotty conflict.  Indeed, mediation is all about communication: what to say, to whom, and when to say it.  And, when and how to listen. As we listen to our opponents and consider their needs, new solutions materialize and the entire atmosphere of a conflict is transformed.

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February 4, 2014 No Comments

Greg Parent’s kids enjoy the Atlanta snow!

IMG_1495 IMG_1501

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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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