Monthly Archives: August 2010

Mediation Is Useful After the Verdict

Even after  a case  goes to trial, the skills of a mediator can be useful. In the case where a large monetary verdict is rendered, many issues often remain. One party may need a payment arrangement such as an annuity. One party may be willing to give up part of the monetary verdict in exchange for no appeal. There may be tax consequences that can be worked out. In a personnel case where reinstatement is ordered, there may be a myriad of issues that could be mediated.

Just because the verdict is in, do not discount the  need for  the services of a mediator. A mediator can help resolve  many issues post verdict.

Read My Blog on Kindle

You can now subscribe to this blog on Kindle!  That way you will never miss a post as I promote the virtues of alternative dispute resolution and post news that is of interest to the legal profession.

The subscription fee is $1.99 per month.  Just search Overtis Hicks Brantley to find it.

As a book lover, I must admit I absolutely love my Kindle. I hope that as time goes on, there will be more books on mediation, school law and other professional topics that interest me, that can be read on Kindle.  I feel like I am doing my part by publishing this blog.

Did You Take a Vacation This Year?

Destiny in the Bahamas by O.V. Brantley

Lawyers tend to be very driven.  So much so, that many of us refuse to take a vacation. I am a big believer in vacations. I think they allow an opportunity to recharge and restore creativity. Fatigue means mistakes.

My personal vacation of choice is cruising. When I first started cruising, it was very difficult for anyone to reach you on a cruise ship. Now with the proliferation of wireless technology, cruise vacations are less cloistered from the outside world. I still recommend them highly.
 
Destiny in the Bahamas is a quilt I made to commemorate my 2009  cruise during my daughter’s spring break. We sailed to the Bahamas and other ports on the Carnival cruise ship Destiny.

If you haven’t taken a vacation this year, seize the summer and take one.

Cities and Counties Must Mediate Service Delivery Disputes

Dealing with local governments and the people who run them is my specialty. I happen to be very good at working with people with a very large sense of self and purpose. This is a special skill set acquired by working with elected officials for over 25 years in the City of Atlanta Law Department and as the Fulton County Attorney.

The Georgia Service Delivery Strategy Act requires cities and counties to reach agreement on how services will be delivered to citizens so that there is no duplication of services. In the event the parties cannot agree, the law requires that the parties mediate.

The Georgia  Department of Community Affairs maintains a  list of mediators who are available for this very specialized type of mediation.  As a certified mediator with a stong background in local government issue, I am proud to be on that list.   

If your city or county is about to mediate your service delivery agreement, please contact me if you need a mediator.

Patsy Porter Named Chief Judge of Fulton State Court

Judge Patsy Porter

Judge Patsy Porter was recently named Chief Judge of Fulton State Court after Judge Albert Thompson retired. Judge Porter has shown herself to be a hard-working, fair judge during her many years on the bench.

The Fulton State Court also works closely with the Justice Center of Atlanta to mediate disputes. The Justice Center of Atlanta  was a pioneer in the area of alternative dispute resolution.

Congratulations!

Networking at Wine and Words

Networking is important in all careers, and the legal field is no different. Whenever I can, I combine networking, quilts and the law.

Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up on the lives of  several  young women who are former staff members of the Fulton County Attorney’s Office. They joined me for Wine and Words at Hammonds House Museum. The Wine and Words program features an opportunity to network and to meet a featured author up close and personal.

On this particular occasion, the author was Irene Latham, author of Leaving Gees Bend. The program was part of the 2010 Atlanta Quilt Festival and was a collaboration between Written Magazine, Hammonds House and the Clara Ford Foundation. What a surprise when, in addition to other close friends,  former staffers  June Green, Rolesia Dancy, Brenda Woodard, Valerie Ross, Paula Nash, and Carmen Alexander. All of these people own quilts I made for them,  so you know they must be special.

Seeing them, I could not help but reminisce about the early days in the Fulton County Attorney’s Office. They graciously allowed me to practice my quilting on them and always acted as if everything I made was beautiful. Shown here is my quilt Fulton County Attorneys, the first of many office signature quilts that graced our conference rooms. All of these ladies signed a block in this quilt.

Fulton County Attorneys, by O.V. Brantley

Calm Reflection

Calm Reflection, 38 x 45 inches, by O.V. Brantley, 2009.

I think one of the most important character traits of a mediator or a hearing officer is the ability to remain calm when chaos is swirling all around you.  

Calm Reflection is a quilt I made to remind me to maintain a calm spirit. Although this quilt was purchased by a collector, I think of it often. 

This quilt also reminds me to be patient. It was quilted by hand, which takes a very long time. Patience is valuable in mediations as well. When everyone is tired and ready to leave, having the fortitude to remain and try one last time is usually what gets the case resolved. 

Animated personalities work in some situations, but as for me, I think calm reflection works best.

Beverly Harvard Nominated for U.S. Marshall

Beverly Harvard

 President Barack Obama recently nominated my friend and former client Beverly Harvard to the position of United States Marshall for the Northern District of Georgia. Ms. Harvard rose through the ranks of the Atlanta Police Department to ultimately become Chief.

For many of those years, our respective career paths intersected since I was the Senior City Attorney assigned to public safety matters.  I represented her in many matters including litigation, policy decisions and a myriad of personnel issues. During that time we also became friends and later “girlfriends”.

 Congratulations Beverly! The nomination is well deserved.

Update on the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution

Yesterday, Shinji Morokuma, Director of the Georgia Office of Conflict Resolution, spoke at a Brown Bag Luncheon sponsored by Conflict Resolution Academy. He gave a brief overview of the office and discussed some of the budgetary issues facing the office. The office is transitioning to a membership organization in order to become financially self-supporting and will offer member benefits such as group insurance.

 However, Mr. Morokuma was upbeat about the future of the mediation field and about Office of Dispute Resolution. He asked all who had suggestions about the future of the office too feel free to contact him at morokumas@godr.org.

City/County Attorneys Gather For 57th Institute

The City and County Attorneys of Georgia will gather for the 57th Annual Institute for City and County Attorneys September 16th and 17th. This  event is the highlight of the continuing legal education year for city and county attorneys. It will be held at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education in Athens. 

Karen Thomas

Gwinnett County Attorney  Karen G. Thomas is the seminar chair this year. She has put together an informative program that includes the following topics:

• After the Census:  Local Option Sales Tax and Service Delivery Strategy Act
• Property Tax Update
• Property Tax Issues in the Courts
• Summary of §1983 Law and Ratification as an Exception to the Causation Requirement
• Telecommunications Issues Confronting Georgia Local Governments
• Attorneys and “It”:  The Consequences of Not Taking “It” Seriously
• Legislative Update
• Judicial Update
• Massage Parlor Ordinances
• The Voting Rights Act and the Redistricting Process Following the 2010 Census
• Ethics for City and County Attorneys
• Professionalism in Dealing with the Legislative Process
• Open Records/Email
• Social Networking Technology and Its Labor and Employment Law Ramifications

The program qualifies for 12 CLE Hours including 1 Ethics Hour, 1 Professionalism Hour and 3 Trial Practice Hours. For additional information and to register for this program, visit the ICLE website at www.iclega.org.

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