From the Director:
Registration Rules Take Effect May 1, 2012
The much-anticipated revision of Georgia juvenile code unfortunately
did not pass the General Assembly this session. Nonetheless, we are
continuing our work to roll out two new juvenile mediation categories
– delinquency mediation and deprivation mediation.
Last month I described delinquency mediation and deprivation mediation
and summarized the registration and grandfathering requirements for
the two new categories. This week, I’ll tell you about how to
register in those categories and how to apply to be grandfathered into
registration in those categories. Remember that General Civil
Mediation is a prerequisite for all other mediation categories.
To add a juvenile category to your existing registration: Take an
approved delinquency mediation training or an approved deprivation
mediation training. (Remember that delinquency training is a
prerequisite for deprivation training.) You do not need to submit a
new registration application. Instead, simply send us a copy of your
training certificate and a short letter asking that we add the
category to your registration. Once your request is processed, you
will see the category appear in your record in our public registry.
To be grandfathered into a juvenile category: For a period of 18
months starting May 1, 2012, registered mediators who are already
mediating juvenile cases or who have mediated juvenile cases in the
past will be able to apply to be grandfathered into either category or
both categories without taking additional training. You can request
to be grandfathered into one or both categories based on a combination
of your prior juvenile mediation training; prior juvenile mediation
experience; or a combination of both. Send us the required
information (for specifics, see the ADR Rules or the March 2012 issue
of Be Neutral). We will review it, and if in our judgment the
information satisfies our requirements for delinquency or deprivation
or both, we will process your request. You will then see the category
or categories appear in your record in our public registry.
There is no additional fee to add juvenile mediation categories to
If you’d like to view the rules before they take effect on May 1,
2012, they are posted on our website under “What’s New.” The new
portions of the rule pertaining to juvenile mediation are highlighted
PLEASE DO NOT SEND US YOUR JUVENILE REGISTRATION INFORMATION UNTIL
AFTER MAY 1, 2012.
Morokuma, Director, GODR
Train for the Cutting Edge of ADR Practice: Become an “E-Neutral”
E-discovery – the acquisition of electronically stored information (ESI)
such as texts and e-mails in the context of a lawsuit – is a $1.2
billion industry. You won’t be surprised that parties to lawsuits
frequently fight over what ESI they must share with the opposition.
These disputes have created the need for a new type of dispute
resolution professional – an “e-neutral” – who is expert in both ADR
and electronic discovery.
Want to work in this emerging area of ADR practice? Then sign up for
an upcoming training, “Putting the ‘E’ in Neutral,” May 11-12, 2012,
in Atlanta. Trainees will not only learn how to break impasse on
specific e-discovery issues, but also will learn how to adjudicate an
issue under current case law. Registration is $1,250. The course has
been approved for 13 CE credits and for 13 CLE credits (including 3
Professionalism credits and 1 Ethics credit).
Training location will be the Buckhead office of One Mediation,
70 Lenox Pointe NE, Atlanta, GA 30324.
Register by completing the training registration form at
www.acesin.com and an invoice will be sent to you. Contact
Jennifer Keaton at
firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the two-day seminar’s
“Putting the ‘E’ in Neutral” is offered by the American College of
e-Neutrals and is taught by Professor Allison Skinner, who teaches
e-discovery at the University of Alabama School of Law, and Professor
Peter Vogel, who teaches at the SMU/Dedman School of Law. For more
information on e-neutrals and e-discovery,
read this article by Professor Skinner from last month’s issue of
Professor Allison Skinner
Divorce Mediation Institute - Asheville, NC / May
35% off for GODR Members
Get the tools you need to amp up your domestic
mediation practice at this jam packed conference being held at the
Biltmore Estate Conference Center in mid-May. Featuring
Pepperdine's nationally renowned
divorce mediation trainer Nina
Meierding, MS, JD the
conference is a phenomenal training opportunity and great networking
Earn 15 GODR CEs and 15 GA or NC CLEs (including 1.5 ethics
hours) by attending this conference. To learn more, get your
special discount codes, and register click the link below. Don't
miss out - your competitors will be there !
Deadline is April 30, 2012
The on-time period for the 2011 renewal season ended December 31,
2011. We are now in the late renewal period. Renewal fees are now
double your normal, on-time fee. If you do not renew by April 30,
2012, your registration will become “inactive,” and you will not
longer be eligible to handle court-connected cases. Inactive
registrations can be reinstated for up to two calendar years from your
last renewal date, so in this case until December 31, 2013.
Registrations that are not reinstated by that date will become
archived, and those interested in re-registering will have to take
training all over again.
Complete instructions and renewal materials are available at
www.godr.org. Check your information by logging into your neutral
account. Find login instructions
The renewal application will be entirely online except for payment,
which can be made by check/money order or online by credit card via
PayPal. You do not need to have or open a PayPal account to pay your
fee through PayPal.
Continuing Education: All renewing neutrals must submit
3 hours of continuing education. The CE you submit must have been
taken since your last renewal or since you first registered, whichever
came later. Carryover hours cannot be used.
and CJE qualify as neutral CE. Information on what
qualifies as CE and how to earn CE can be found under
“Help! I Need CE!” at
Renewal Fee: The base late renewal fee $250.
For neutrals registered in domestic relations mediation the late
renewal fee is $300. You can pay by check/money order
or online by credit card via PayPal. You do not need to have or open
a PayPal account to pay your fee through PayPal.
If you are a volunteer neutral – that is, you receive no
compensation, no matter how small, providing ADR services within or
outside a court program – you and your court-connected program
director can submit a sworn affidavit with your renewal application to
have your fee waived this renewal season.
be considered a volunteer, you must have provided ADR services to a
Georgia court program in the past year. 2011
volunteer affidavits can be downloaded from
“Forms and Applications” at
Background Check Authorization:
The GBI requires that GODR have hand-signed permission from each
neutral before we run background checks. GODR has begun using a new
long-term authorization form that eliminated the need for neutrals to
authorize us by signature each time. Once we have your long-term
authorization, you will never have to submit another background
check authorization again for as long as your registration status
Most neutrals have already sent us their long-term authorizations. If
you have not done so, please download, sign and send us the form,
“Forms and Applications” at
www.godr.org. Your renewal application cannot be processed
without authorization to complete the background check.
More Information: Renewal instructions and information
here on our website.
Most neutrals will be able to complete paperless renewals this
season. If you have documents to send us, we can accept them via scan
and e-mail, fax or mail. When mailing anything important to us, we
strongly recommend that you use a service that provides tracking and
delivery confirmation (certified mail/return receipt, Priority Mail,
UPS, FedEx, etc.)
If you have questions about renewal, please e-mail us at
email@example.com or call us at 404-463-3788.
CaseWatch for Mediators:
Just the Facts
Experienced litigators know that the fortunes of a case can sometimes
turn on the smallest of facts. They also know that trial judges have
broad discretion in their legal interpretations of those facts. Those
factors often make litigation outcomes hard to predict. In this
month’s CaseWatch for Mediators, Mary Ellen Cates, Esq., divorce
attorney and registered mediator, highlights one Georgia divorce trial
that helps make the case for the predictability of mediated
CaseWatch for Arbitrators:
Be Specific When Asking for a ‘Reasoned Award’
Arbitration awards can come in all shapes and sizes, from a mere
statement of the award to a full-blown legal opinion with findings of
fact and conclusions of law. In this month’s CaseWatch for
Arbitrators, John Allgood, Esq., veteran attorney, registered mediator
and arbitrator, shows us that it pays to be clear and specific with
the arbitrator about what you want in an arbitration award. It will
save you headaches later.
Optimize Your Website for Google’s New Backlinks Policy
Google has just
implemented a major change to its search algorithm that changes
dramatically the impact of paid “backlinks” on your website’s Google
search rankings. Backlinks are links to your site from another site.
How can you optimize your website to match the new Google algorithm?
Master marketer and mediator Michele Gibson tells you how, in this
month’s Marketing Tip.
Mediating with the
Most of us deal with the Internal Revenue Service just once a year
when we file our personal tax returns. And we hope we don’t have not
deal with the agency for another year. But if taxpayers do have a
dispute with the IRS, there are actually several opportunities for
them to mediate with IRS representatives. Bet you didn’t know that.
In this special article, tax attorney Daniel Britt explains how
taxpayers and the IRS can use mediation to resolve disagreements over
Movement on Motions Can
Boost Mediation Settlements
Imagine if you could legally and ethically improve your mediation
settlement rate by 1,100 PERCENT. Bet you’d take that pill in a
heartbeat. Well, a new study shows that it is indeed possible to
increase by a whopping 11 times the likelihood that a case will settle
in mediation by having the court rule on any pending motions in the
case prior to mediation. In this article, the study’s author, Jerry
Wood, director of the Fulton County Courts Office of Dispute
Resolution, explains why motions practice can have such a huge impact
on mediation settlement rates.
Verification of Lawful Presence Required
Under the new Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011 (O.C.G.A.
§ 50-36-1(e)), all people applying for registration, registration
renewal or registration reinstatement with the Georgia Office of
Dispute Resolution starting January 1, 2012, must verify their lawful
presence in the United States.
Therefore, as of January 1, 2012, before your registration can be
issued, renewed or reinstated you are required to:
a signed and sworn affidavit verifying your lawful presence in
the United States.
affidavit to use for this purpose can be found at the GODR
website under “Forms and Applications” or directly at this link:
with the affidavit a copy of a secure and verifiable document
issued to you by a state or federal jurisdiction or recognized
by the United States government and that is verifiable by
federal or state law enforcement, intelligence, or homeland
Examples would be a valid driver’s license or a passport. A
complete listing of acceptable secure and verifiable documents,
as determined by the Office of the Attorney General, Georgia,
can be found at the Attorney General’s website under “Key
Issues,” then “Immigration Reports,” or directly at this link:
Information and forms have also been appended to downloadable
and online application forms.
GODR MEMBER BENEFIT SPOTLIGHT – HEALTH INSURANCE
Advantage - hybrid health insurance package available for GODR
Advantage is a new hybrid plan concept that can often save you money
on premium dollars without sacrificing the quality of your benefits.
You may select a package that combines high deductible major medical
coverage with an association group medical expense indemnity plan.
This hybrid of multiple coverages often results in comparable benefits
as stand-alone lower-deductible major medical plans, but with premium
savings. Included with all HealthPlan Advantage packages:
• Major Medical
Expense indemnity Coverage
Get a customized proposal for
yourself/and family >
Get a customized proposal for your
major medical applications are fully underwritten and may have
limitations and exclusions. Please speak with a Member Benefits
Insurance representative with questions about medical underwriting.
Health insurance plans only available in Florida and Georgia.
If links in
this email are not working, please visit
and serviced by BPC Financial, the administrator of the Georgia Office
of Dispute Resolution (GODR) Insurance Programs. GODR is not a
licensed insurance entity and does not sell insurance.
Commission Meeting in
The next meeting of the Commission on Dispute Resolution is scheduled
for Thursday, May 10, 2011, at 2 pm, in Meeting Room 1 of the
State Bar of Georgia Conference Center, 104 Marietta St. NW,
Atlanta, GA 30303. Meetings are open to the public. Upcoming
Commission meetings, agendas and minutes are always posted on our
Resources for Georgia ADR Professionals
We encourage you to visit the
blog created by Georgia State University law professor Doug Yarn
and GSU law students Alex Salzillo and Alicia Mack to inform and
encourage discussion. Please add it to your reading list, send the
link to your colleagues, and visit often. The address:
don’t forget the
Georgia Mediators Network, a great Facebook resource for the
latest mediation news and articles from around the world. The page
has been visited tens of thousands of times in just the few short
months it’s been around. Use the information there to pump your own
professional web pages and your expertise. The Georgia Mediators
Network is the brainchild of registered mediator Michele Gibson, our
marketing columnist and newsletter producer.
Insurance Products for Registered Neutrals
Georgia-registered neutrals are entitled to participate in several
insurance and retirement programs that have been designed specifically
for them. If you need insurance, are planning for retirement, talk to
the experts at
BPC Financial. They manage our new exclusive insurance and
retirement program, and they can advise you on your insurance needs
and help you find good deals on major medical insurance, healthcare
savings accounts, dental and vision insurance, term life insurance and
more. Registered neutrals receive the benefits of underwriting
concessions, enhanced benefits, or reduced premiums and fees compared
to shopping for similar products on the open market. Check out the
GODR Registered Neutrals Insurance and Retirement Programs website.
We’ve also arranged for special benefits on professional liability
insurance for registered mediators and arbitrators with
Complete Equity Markets. See our
website for more information or contact
Betsy Thomas, 800-323-6234, ext. 472, and tell her you’re a
Georgia registered neutral!
Upcoming CE and Training Offerings
Check frequently at our
website for the latest CE and training offerings. Remember, any
ADR-related training you take counts as CE as long as you took it
since your last renewal or your initial registration, whichever comes
later. Lawyers, any CLE you took during that same time period counts
as CE. Likewise, judges and CJE. Accountants and other professionals
with CE requirements, same thing.
And remember, we posted three videos on our website that registered
neutrals can watch for free to earn CE credit. Each video is one-hour
long. Neutrals are free to watch the videos as many times as they
wish, but we can only award 1 CE hour credit for each video once a
renewal season. Please note the date you finished viewing each video
so you can report it on your renewal form. Remember, registered
neutrals are required to take at least 3 hours of CE each year in
order to renew their registrations. Look for the link,
“Continuing Education Videos,” in the main menu of our website.
For more information on what qualifies for CE, please see the
“Help! I Need CE!” link on our website,
Back Issues Available Online
is sent monthly to all registered neutrals, generally at the beginning
of the month. If you missed an issue, our back issues are posted at
the bottom right of our website, under
“Newsletter Archive.” Please take a look. If you know people who
want Be Neutral, please direct them to our subscription box at
the bottom right of our
website, where they just need to enter their e-mail addresses.
Please forward this newsletter to anyone who might be interested in
ADR in Georgia courts. Forward it just as you would any other
e-mail. If folks who are not registered neutrals want to receive the
newsletter free of charge, they can submit their e-mail addresses in
the subscription box at the bottom right of our
website. And sending us feedback is easy – just reply to this
e-mail as you would any other e-mail. We want to hear from you!
Spread the Word
Please forward this newsletter to anyone who might be interested in ADR in Georgia courts. Forward it just as you would any other e-mail.
If folks who are not registered neutrals want to receive the
newsletter free of charge, they can use the subscription box at below this
text or submit their e-mail addresses in the
subscription box at the bottom right of the home page of our
website. And sending us feedback is easy – just reply to this
e-mail as you would any other e-mail. We want to hear from you !