From the Director:
What are We to Do?
The inevitable year-end countdowns of the most significant moments of
2012 will undoubtedly begin and end with the mass shooting at Sandy
Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
We learned the horrifying news that Friday morning during our ADR
Institute, the day each year that Georgia neutrals gather around our
common passion for conflict resolution. Like the rest of the country,
our stunned minds and broken hearts could at first muster only the
most simplistic thoughts. Who? How? Why?
Now, almost two weeks later, more helpless questions float through the
fog, though the answers are no closer to grasp: What are we to do
when the inconceivable is born into horrible reality? How should we
respond when the unimaginable solidifies into confounding fact? What
is the remedy when the inviolable is ripped asunder?
The Nation, there have been at least 16 mass shootings in 2012,
leaving 84 dead. FBI statistics show that the annual rate of mass
shootings has stayed steady over the last 30 years, according to the
Los Angeles Times. But the death toll this year has been
particular high. In fact, the
Washington Post reports that two of the deadliest shootings in
U.S. history took place this year – in Aurora, Colo., and now Newtown.
Sadly, conflict, and its constant cousin, violence, are inevitable
So what are we in the
peace profession to make of this latest tragedy? I don’t have an
answer. I doubt any one individual does. But as in any crisis, there
are opportunities for action for those of us who identify ourselves as
First, many of us peace
professionals have our roots in the healing professions. Our
training, our skills, our intuition, are invaluable in times of pain
and crisis. We are in a position to help people to talk, to share, to
be, to help every child and every adult make their own sense of this
Second, our attention –
and sometimes the finger of blame – have been pointed at the possible
causes of this latest mass shooting: easy access to assault weapons;
the eroding American family; poor treatment for mental illness;
socialization of boys and men; bullying in schools. Regardless of
your positions on these issues, we can promote communication,
compassion, collaboration, and conciliation in ways that create honest
and productive dialogue about what happened in Newtown and what our
society can do to keep something like that from happening again. We
can help our diverse citizenry to find common ground in a vision of a
society that still values peace and still abhors violence.
Please keep your friends and families close as we mark the end of
2012. May the new year be remarkable for how peaceful it is.
Morokuma, Director, GODR
On-time Renewal Season
Runs November 1-December 31
The 2012 registration renewal season ends December 31, 2012. Any renewal
applications submitted after December 31, 2012, will be considered
late, and late fees will apply. The late renewal deadline is April
30, 2013. Neutrals who do not renew by that date will be considered
inactive. All neutrals will need to renew, except those with a
registration expiration date of 1/1/2014. Check your information by
logging into your neutral account. Find login instructions
Just as last year, only online renewals will be accepted in order to
streamline the renewal process. Online renewals should take most
neutrals 5-10 minutes to complete.
Online renewal access will be available through your personal online. The online renewal application is
already populated with your personal information, so most of you will
need only to enter your continuing education information before
proceeding to payment.
Find login instructions
The basic renewal fee is $125; it is $150 for those registered in
domestic relations mediation. Note: if you submit your
application online after December 31, 2012, it will be considered
late, and your renewal fee will double to $250 ~ $300. We don’t want
you to have to pay the late fee, so please submit your online
application before December 31, 2012.
You will have the choice of
paying your renewal fee with a credit card through PayPal or by
submitting a check. You do not need to have or create a PayPal
account to use the PayPal function.
Note: If you are a volunteer neutral – that is, you receive
compensation, no matter how small, providing ADR services within or
outside a court program – you and your court-connection 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.
2012 volunteer affidavits are available under
“Forms and Applications.”
Continuing Education Requirements:
All renewing neutrals must submit 3 hours of continuing education that
they have taken in 2012. You cannot carry over CE hours from previous
years or toward future years.
and CJE qualify as neutral CE as long as they were earned and not
carried over. See the
“Help! I Need CE!” link for information on all the ways you can
earn CE credit.
Online Renewal Instructions:
Renewing online is fast and easy because most
of your personal information is already filled in online.
All registered neutrals have an online neutral account created
automatically for them. If you have never logged in to your online
must activate your account before using it the first time. Please
see how to activate your existing neutral account by going to
"Neutral Account Login Help" link. Then proceed as directed
To renew online, click on
“Login To Your Neutral Account” at the top of the web page. The
login page will appear in a new browser window. Enter your login ID
and password. Your login ID is the first four letters of your last
name and the last four digits of your SSN (i.e. smit1234). If your
old password does not seem to work, try “password” (without quotation
marks). If you have forgotten your personalized password, choose
the “Forgot Password” function on the main login screen. After you are
logged in, select “Renew Registration” in the menu. Follow the prompts
and instructions carefully. Once you fill out and submit your online
A summary of your online renewal form will be created in your
browser. Please print a copy for your records;
If you paid through PayPal, please print a receipt of your PayPal
renewal fee payment for your records.
Background Check Authorization:
If you’ve already submitted your “permanent” authorization form, you
don’t have to send us again. If you haven’t submitted your permanent
authorization, please download, sign and send us the
"Forms and Applications." Scan and e-mail, fax or mail us the
signed form. Your application will not be processed
without a signed authorization form. Mail, e-mail, or fax your signed
form to us.
Lawful Presence Affidavit and ID: The lawful presence
affidavit and supporting ID are required again this year,
even if you submitted them with your last application. The General
Assembly did not amend the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement
Act of 2011 (O.C.G.A. § 50-36-1(e)), during the 2012 session. That
means that all renewing neutrals will once again have to submit
documentation that they are in the U.S. legally.
Therefore, as of January 1, 2012, before your registration can be
issued, renewed or reinstated you are required to:
1. Execute a signed and sworn affidavit verifying your lawful
presence in the United States. The affidavit to use for this
purpose can be found at the GODR website under “Forms and
Applications” or directly at this link:
2. Include 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 security agencies. 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:
In addition to a professional credential issued by the Georgia
Supreme Court, your registration as a neutral entitles you to several
other exclusive benefits that can save you money, time and
aggravation. These include group-rate
professional liability insurance for neutrals; group
and individual health, vision, and dental insurance, retirement
products, and more. You will also continue to receive our new
monthly e-newsletter, which is designed to enhance your knowledge and
practice as a neutral. We are working to create more value-added
programs for neutrals, courts and trainers.
If you are mailing us important information, first make copies and
file them, then send the material via a service that provides tracking
and delivery confirmation. If you are faxing us important
information, keep the fax transmittal confirmation. If you are
e-mailing us important information, request a return receipt when your
message is delivered or read (many e-mail programs allow this) and
save it. Or save our responses to your e-mails.
For More Information:
Please contact us at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-463-3788 if you have further questions about
the renewal process.
2012 Renewal Season Key Dates
Submitted November 1-December 31, 2012: On-time renewal, fees $125
(non-domestic), $150 (domestic), 3 CE hours required.
Application Submitted January 1-April 30, 2013: Late renewal application
required, fees double to $250 (non-domestic), $300 (domestic),
neutral in “lapsed” status until renewed, can still handle
court-connected cases through April 30, 2013.
Application Received/Post-Marked May 1, 2013, and later:
Reinstatement application required, fees double to
$300 (domestic), 8 hours of CE required, neutral
in “inactive” status until reinstated,
cannot handle court-connected cases starting May
Alert: Renewing neutrals will have an opportunity to give us feedback
on the registration renewal process and on their contacts with our
office. Please look for the link to the online survey in the e-mail
confirming that your registration has been renewed. If you can spare
a moment, please take the survey and tell us your thoughts. Thank
**Always send important documents to GODR via a service that offers
tracking and delivery confirmation.**
CaseWatch for Mediators:
Financial Help from Family Could be Considered ‘Income’
of us have received financial assistance from family members from time
to time, and we probably have given some assistance also. It’s a
natural thing to do. But when it comes to the financial calculations
around divorce, those loans and gifts of money might just be counted
as income for purposes of child support. In this month’s CaseWatch
for Mediators, Mary Ellen Cates, Esq., divorce attorney and registered
mediator, highlights a recent case when a mother’s long-term support
of her adult son affected his child support obligation when he
divorced his wife.
CaseWatch for Arbitrators:
Arbitrate Can be Struck as Sanction for Discovery Abuses
Trial courts have various sanctions at their disposal to punish
plaintiffs and defendants who violate the rules of litigation fair
play. In this CaseWatch for Arbitrators, John Allgood, Esq., veteran
attorney, registered mediator and arbitrator, discusses a Georgia
Court of Appeals case in which a party was denied a contractual
opportunity to arbitrate claims as a sanction for discovery abuses.
Marketing Your Mediation Practice Ethically
regular readers of this column are well aware, a concise and creative
marketing plan is critical to the success of any ADR or legal
practice. But mediators need to be particularly careful that their
marketing efforts don’t inadvertently lead them to violate ethical
obligations such as confidentiality. In this month’s Marketing Tip,
master marketer and mediator Michele Gibson offers you examples of
what to do – and what not to do – when selling yourself as a mediator.
GODR MEMBER BENEFIT SPOTLIGHT –
Georgia Registered Neutrals have access to health plan specialists
that have extensive experience in working closely with professionals.
Our hybrid plan concept can often save you money on premium dollars
without sacrificing the quality of your benefits. We build you a
package that combines high deductible major medical coverage with our
association group medical expense indemnity plan. This hybrid of
multiple coverage's often results in comparable benefits as
stand-alone lower-deductible major medical plans, but at significant
premium savings. Included with all HealthPlan Advantage packages:
||Major Medical Coverage
||Optional Dental /
Get a customized proposal for yourself/and family >
Get a customized proposal for your firm >
Individual 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
Products sold 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.
Available 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
Renewal season is right around the corner, and everyone needs 3 hours
of CE to renew. Check 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 have 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. 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 !