From the Director:
Commission Membership and Leadership Change
The September 27 meeting of the Georgia Commission on Dispute
Resolution was marked by ceremony, as two long-serving members bid
farewell, two new members joined the Commission, and the chairmanship
Longtime Commission members Alan Granath and Martha Kitchens stepped
down from their posts as their terms ended. Both Mr. Granath and Ms.
Kitchens served on the Ethics Committee and the Budget and Personnel
Committee. Mr. Granath served on the Rules Committee and chaired the
ADR Court Program Liaison Committee, of which Ms. Kitchens was also a
member. Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Sara Doyle presented each with
a plaque recognizing their nearly six years of service.
Mr. Alan Ganath
Succeeding Mr. Granath and Ms. Kitchens are Timothy Hedeen, Ph.D.,
associate professor of conflict management at Kennesaw State
University; and Vjollca Prroni Young, a securities and corporate
litigation analyst in the Atlanta office of Bryan Cave LLP. Both Dr.
Hedeen and Ms. Young are registered mediators. They were appointed by
the Georgia Supreme Court to serve five-year terms on the Commission
and were sworn in by Judge Doyle.
Edith B. Primm, Esq., who has served as Commission chair since June
2009, stepped down as chair and resumed her role as a Commission
member. Judge Doyle presented Ms. Primm with a Supreme Court
resolution in which the Court thanked her for her steadfast leadership
of the Commission during “the most difficult budgetary times in its
19-year history.” (To
read the full text of the resolution, please click here.) Outside
of her work on the Commission, Ms. Primm is executive director of the
Justice Center of Atlanta and is considered by many ADR professionals
to be among the founders of ADR in Georgia.
Ms. Primm accepts Supreme Court resolution
Succeeding Ms. Primm as chair is Judge Charles E. Auslander III of
Athens-Clarke County State Court. Appointed to the Commission in
September 2006, Judge Auslander served for several years as chair of
the Ethics Committee. After he was sworn in as chair by Judge Doyle,
Judge Auslander thanked Mr. Granath and Ms. Kitchens for their
service, and he thanked Ms. Primm for her leadership, particularly in
helping the GODR survive its funding crisis. He then outlined his
three goals for his term as chair of the Commission:
Judge Charles E. Auslander III
Service: Continue to focus on the Commission’s core mission to
serve its constituents, by efficiently registering neutrals,
offering training, assisting court programs, providing strong
ethics regulation and education, and publicizing the benefits of
Jurisdiction: More clearly define, clarify, and communicate
the jurisdiction of the Commission by establishing a jurisdiction
task force, chaired by Judge Doyle;
Registration: Promote the value of registration and the use of
registered mediators among lawyers and judges, by establishing a
communications/public relations committee that will strategize how
to create and promote a Georgia registration “brand” and how to
effectively communicate the message.
It’s my privilege to continue to serve under such dedicated and
thoughtful Commission members who are committed to the promotion of
ADR in Georgia courts. The future looks bright indeed.
Morokuma, Director, GODR
On-time Renewal Season
Runs November 1-December 31
The 2012 registration renewal season will begin November 1, with an
on-time renewal deadline of 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 registered neutrals must renew, except those with a
registration expiration date of 1/1/2014.
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
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
application online after December 31, 2012, 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, 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.
All renewing neutrals must show on their renewal applications that
they have taken at least 3 hours of continuing education in 2012. You
cannot carry over CE hours from previous years or toward future
years. See the
“Help! I Need CE!” link for information on all the ways you can
earn CE credit.
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 do so. 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. Please see the article
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.**
Verification of Lawful Presence Required for Renewal -
The Georgia General Assembly did not amend the 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.
Under the 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.
The 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.
Save the Date!
2012 ADR Institute December 14
The 19th Annual ADR Institute and 2012 Neutrals’ Conference will be
held Friday, December 14, 2012, at the State Bar of Georgia Conference
Center in Atlanta. This year’s conference will once again present an
agenda of engaging local and national presenters on a broad variety of
topics in the ADR field. At least 6 hours of CLE and 6 hours of CE
will be available. Look for more information in this newsletter.
GSU College of Law to Open Investor
Advocacy Clinic that Uses ADR Processes
Georgia State University
College of Law plans to open the first law clinic in Georgia dedicated
to serving small investors. The Investor Advocacy Clinic will assist
small investors who cannot afford or find private legal representation
because of the size of their claims. Under faculty supervision, GSU
law students will provide legal services and representation for
eligible clients whose brokers may have made unsuitable investments,
excessive or unauthorized trades or otherwise failed to adhere to the
Participating law students
in the Investor Advocacy Clinic will use conflict resolution processes
such as negotiation, mediation and arbitration to resolve investor
cases. In addition, the Investor Advocacy Clinic will educate
investors on how to prevent and resolve potential disputes.
retirement packages become a thing of the past, more people turn to
investment professionals, and sometimes find themselves in devastating
circumstances. As the need for investor advocacy and legal
representation grows, so will GSU Law," said Doug Yarn, law professor
and executive director of the Consortium for Negotiation and Conflict
Resolution, who will serve as director of the Investor Advocacy
Scheduled to open in late
spring or summer 2013, the clinic is supported by a $250,000 grant
from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, the largest foundation
in the U.S. dedicated to investor education. FINRA is the Financial
Industry Regulatory Authority, the largest independent regulator for
all securities firms doing business in the U.S.
For more information on
the Investor Advocacy Clinic, call 404-413-9270, e-mail
GODR MEMBER BENEFIT SPOTLIGHT – AUTO
A group discount is available to Georgia Registered Neutrals, on auto
insurance through MetLife Auto & Home. This benefit is made
available by BPC Financial, the administrator of the GODR Registered
Neutrals Insurance & Retirement Programs.
The following peace-of-mind benefits are provided:
group rates that could save you up to 10%.
Deductible Savings BenefitSM1
Driver Discounts up to 12%2
without a deductible
Protection Services at no additional cost3
Visit program website to receive a No Obligation quote today >
Deductible Savings Benefit is not available in all states. New York
insureds must pay a state-required minimum deductible before using
Discount varies by state
Identity Protection Services are not available to auto customers in NC
or NH nor with all policy forms. Identity Protection Services are
available in NC homeowner policies with the optional “Identity Theft
Expense and Resolution Plus” endorsement for an additional premium.
See policy for restrictions. Coverage not available in all states.
Some losses settled at actual cash value. Losses may be subject to a
Not available in all states
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.
CaseWatch for Mediators:
Without Key Facts, Mediation May be the Best Bet
Parties in a case can assert and allege until they’re blue in the
face. But if they can’t back up their claims with facts, their
chances of winning in court are slim to none. In mediation, the
willingness of parties to arrive at a mutually agreeable settlement
may overcome a lack of key legal facts. In this month’s CaseWatch for
Mediators, Mary Ellen Cates, Esq., divorce attorney and registered
mediator, focuses on a fact-light divorce case that perhaps should
have been settled in mediation rather than going to trial.
CaseWatch for Arbitrators:
11th Circuit: Ga. Contract Law Compels Arbitration
Folks don’t like to be told that they’re wrong. The U.S. District
Court for the Southern District of Florida tried twice to find that a
bank-fee arbitration clause was unconscionable under Georgia law.
Both times, it has been told by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that
it was wrong. And both times, it has been told to compel
arbitration. The district court’s loss is our gain, as the decisions
will help Georgia litigators dealing with arbitration clauses in
contracts. John Allgood, Esq., veteran attorney, registered mediator
and arbitrator, summarizes the latest appeal in this CaseWatch for
PPC Advertising – a Marketing Idea Worth Considering
If your idea of marketing
is limited to highway billboards and print advertising, read on. The
online universe can be a ripe market for your services, if you’re
smart and targeted with your advertising. In this month’s Marketing
Tip, master marketer and mediator Michele Gibson shows you how to use
Pay-Per-Click and Charge-Per-Click advertising through internet search
engines to sell yourself in cost-effective ways.
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 !