From the Director:
Thanks, To a Dedicated Colleague
take a moment to acknowledge a debt of gratitude we Georgia ADR
practitioners owe to Jill Radwin, staff attorney to the Georgia Child
Support Commission. Jill died Friday, September 30, after a
three-year fight with lung cancer. Georgia mediators, arbitrators,
lawyers – in fact anyone who has dealt with child support here in the
last six years – should take a moment to honor Jill’s memory.
didn’t write the 2005 Georgia child support law. But she helped to
make the maddeningly complex law more accessible and helped develop
the tools that we ADR professionals use every day to calculate child
support here in Georgia. Jill and her small staff studied the law,
tested calculators, worksheets, collected feedback, suggested and
oversaw improvements. She took phone calls and e-mails at all hours
from people who were struggling to understand the child support
guidelines, worksheets and calculators. She worked closely with our
office to ensure that registered neutrals were always up to date on
the latest developments in the child support field. I can’t emphasize
enough how important Jill has been to our expertise with the child
support laws. Without her guidance, we would be lost.
office was just a few doors down from mine in the Administrative
Office of the Courts suite. Her work ethic here set an example for all
of us. She worked throughout her strenuous cancer treatments and
clinical trials. She never complained, never asked for pity or
sympathy, never asked to work part-time or to cut her workload. Save
for an occasional request to reschedule a meeting or a deadline around
her treatment, you wouldn’t know she was embroiled in a fight for her
colleagues, we remember Jill also for her love of – and encyclopedic
knowledge of – world travel, gourmet cuisine, and musical theatre.
Vacation in Paris? She could recommend fabulous restaurants to try
while you were seeing the sights in the City of Lights. Weekend in
New York? She knew all the Broadway shows, which ones were worth a
try, and where to catch a great post-show dinner.
approached her personal and professional lives with passion and
intellect. She could have worked anywhere, in any field, and would
have been successful. Yet she chose to dedicate her work to ensuring
the rights of children and their entitlement to adequate financial
support. For that choice, we here in Georgia have been most
you’d like to read more about Jill, here are links to her obituaries:
more mundane note, registration renewal season is coming up. This
begins the busy time of year when we get a lot of phone calls and
e-mails about continuing education, application deadlines, fees, etc.
There are only two staff members here. So if we don’t answer the
phone right away, it’s probably because we’re already on another line
talking with another neutral, or replying to an e-mail. Please leave
a message. We try to respond within 24 hours to all phone and e-mail
Morokuma, Director, GODR
On-time Registration Renewal Season: November 1-December 31
The 2011 registration renewal season will begin November 1, with an
on-time renewal deadline of December 31, 2011. Any renewal
applications submitted after December 31, 2011, will be considered
late, and late fees will apply. The late renewal deadline is April
30, 2012. Neutrals who do not renew by that date will be considered
inactive. All registered neutrals must renew, except those with a
registration expiration date of 1/1/2013.
To streamline the renewal process, only online renewals will be
accepted. Online renewals should take most neutrals 5-10 minutes to
complete. Our database vendor has addressed the technical issues that
prevented a few of you from completing the online renewal process as
smoothly as expected.
Online renewal access will be available through your personal online
accounts on November 1. 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.
The basic renewal fee is $125; it is $150 for those registered in
domestic relations mediation. Note: if you submit your online
after December 31, 2011, it will be considered late, and your renewal
fee will double to $250 or $300. We don’t want you to have to pay the
late fee, so please submit your online application before December 31,
2011. 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.
All renewing neutrals must show on their renewal applications that
they have taken at least 3 hours of continuing education in 2011. You
cannot carry over CE hours from previous years or toward future years.
Background Check Authorization:
We’ve switched to a “permanent” authorization form so you don’t have
to send us a form every year giving us permission to run a GBI
background check. See article below. Your application will not be
processed without a signed authorization form. Mail, e-mail, or fax
your signed form to us.
If you are mailing us something important, first make copies and file
them, then send the material via a service that provides tracking and
delivery confirmation. If you are faxing us something important, keep
the fax transmittal confirmation. If you are e-mailing us something
important, 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-mail.
Frequently Asked Questions for information on renewal fees, what
counts as neutral CE and how to earn CE.
**Always send important documents to GODR via a service that offers
tracking and delivery confirmation.**
Send in Your New Background Check Authorization Form
reminder that we need a new background check authorization form from
all registered neutrals.
GODR has begun using this
new “permanent” form through which you can authorize us to check your
background whenever necessary, without your having to authorize it by
signature each time. Once we have your permanent authorization,
you will never have to submit another background check authorization
again for as long as your registration status is active or
This new form simplifies the registration renewal process and
eliminates several trees’ worth of paperwork.
The form is posted on our website under
“Forms and Applications.” If you haven’t done so already, please
fill it out, print it, sign it, and send it to us via e-mail, fax,
post or express delivery as soon as possible so we can have it on file
well before the 2011 renewal season starts November 1. We
recommend that you always send important documents to GODR via a
service that offers tracking and delivery confirmation.
Quick Question and Answer
Why is there so much
variation among local ADR programs in qualifications/requirements for
neutrals and how they are compensated?
Local court programs have the authority under the Supreme Court ADR
Rules to set requirements for their local neutral rosters beyond the
statewide standards set by the Georgia Commission on Dispute
Resolution. They also have the authority to determine what types of
cases are sent to the ADR program, when they are sent, and how
neutrals in their program are assigned cases and compensated.
Local programs can and do design their local ADR rules to meet the
local needs of their citizens, the courts, and the bar. That’s why
one program may have an open roster from which the parties pick a
neutral for their case and with whom they directly negotiate dates and
fees, and another program may have a limited roster of neutrals who
are assigned cases by the program and are paid by the program for a
certain number of hours.
A court’s local ADR rules are reviewed and approved by the Commission
before the program starts. That’s done to ensure that the local rules
do no conflict with
ADR Rules Appendix A, which constitute the Uniform Rules for
Dispute Resolution Programs. (The Uniform Rules have been passed by
the leadership councils of all of the levels of court in Georgia, and
they are the rules that all Georgia courts must abide by in their
local ADR programs.)
Questions and comments about local ADR rules are best addressed by the
director of the local court program or the board of trustees for the
local ADR fund. A current list of local ADR programs and contact
information is always posted on our website under
“Find a Local Court Program.”
Exclusive 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!
CaseWatch for Mediators:
“Magic Words” Can Make or Break Mediated Agreements
“Please.” “Thank you.” “Open the pod bay doors, Hal.” We know that
the right words can make all the difference in life. The same is true
in mediated agreements. In this month’s CaseWatch for Mediators, Mary
Ellen Cates, family law attorney and registered mediator, shows you
how the existence or absence of one key legal term can make an
agreement enforceable or unenforceable – despite the supposedly clear
intentions of the parties.
Disclose Repeat Customers to Avoid Accusations of Bias
We all have people we enjoy working with more than others. And
regular users of arbitration often have favorite arbitrators. It’s
particularly important for arbitrators, however, to ensure that their
frequent selection by a particular party does not taint their
reputation for fairness. In this month’s CaseWatch for Arbitrators,
John Allgood, Esq., veteran attorney, registered mediator and
arbitrator, highlights a New York trial court decision that offers
important ethical and practical lessons for Georgia arbitrators who
are interested in protecting their professional credibility.
Building Your Referral Engine
Anyone who buys or sells knows that word of mouth is more powerful
than advertising. The same is true when marketing your ADR practice.
What other people say about you carries more weight than what you say
about yourself. So how do you get people to say good things about
you? And how do you turn those positive comments into increased
business? Our marketing maven and registered mediator Michele Gibson
tells you how to pump up your referrals, in this month’s Marketing Tip
The next meeting of the Commission on Dispute Resolution is scheduled
for Thursday, November 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
GODR MEMBER BENEFIT SPOTLIGHT –
Neutrals may receive a discount on auto insurance through MetLife Auto
& Home. This benefit is made available by BPC Financial, the
administrator of the GODR Registered Neutrals Insurance & Retirement
Visit program website to receive a No
Obligation quote today >
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.
Save the Date: 2011 ADR
The 18th Annual ADR Institute and 2011 Neutrals’ Conference will be
held Friday, December 9, 2011, at the State Bar of Georgia Conference
Center, 104 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta. We set an attendance record
last year, and based on the speakers we are lining up, we think this
year’s conference will be even more popular. At least 6 hours of
neutral continuing education and 6 hours of CLE (including 1 Ethics
Hour) will be available. More details and conference registration
will be available through
www.iclega.org in November. Stay tuned!
Resources for Georgia ADR Professionals
We encourage you to visit the
blog created by Georgia State University law professor Doug Yarn
and GSU law student Alex Salzillo 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.
Upcoming CE and
Don’t wait until the 2012 renewal season to get your CEs. 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 recently posted two 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 !