Monthly Archives: September 2010

Sisters-In-Law Gather at JAMS

Forever Young by O.V. Brantley

Sisters-In-Law, the networking group composed of female attorneys with over 15 years of experience, gathered last night at JAMS Arbitration, Mediation and Alternative Dispute Services in Atlanta. The group has no other purpose or agenda except to stay in touch with each other and support each other.

JAMS hosted the event. JAMS has new offices in the One Atlantic Center Tower in downtown Atlanta.  The office is a state of the art mediation facility complete with calming colors and a waterfall. JAMS has several offices around the country.

If you are interested in receiving invitations to future Sisters-In-Law events, email me at

Disputes Involving Churches Cry Out For Mediation

By now, there is not  a person in the United States who has not heard about the allegations against Bishop Eddie Long. If you haven’t been on the planet this week, Bishop Eddie Long, leader of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, one of the largest congregations in Atlanta, has been accused of sexual abuse in lawsuits filed by four young men who were members of the church.

This is the kind of case that cries out for mediation. Maybe they tried it, and it failed. If not shame on them.

Not only is the confidentiality of mediation paramount in a case like this, but mediation can fashion remedies that a court may not be able to order. Remedies such as apologies, future training, future psychiatric care, new church policies or even resignations are all remedies to which  parties can agree, but a court could not order. In short, remedies beyond a financial settlement can often result in a greater good being accomplished.

Hopefully, if mediation has not been tried, it will be before the whole sordid mess progresses too far.

Mayor Kasim Reed Appoints Cathy Hampton as City Attorney

Cathy Hampton

Mayor Kasim Reed recently announced  Cathy Hampton is his choice to be  the next  City Attorney for the City of Atlanta. She must be confirmed by the City Council before she can begin her duties.

Ms. Hampton is a graduate of Spelman College and Harvard Law School. She was most recently the general counsel for RARE Hospitality International, Inc.

Having spent 16 years practcing law in the City Attorney’s Office before being appointed the Fulton County Attorney, I know Ms. Hampton will find her new position both exciting and fulfilling as she helps to shape the future of Atlanta. She will also have the opportunity to work with the finest legal community in the nation.


Judges Needed Now

Does Congress know the damage it does to the justice system when it does not find the time to confirm judges? The Northern District of Georgia has several vacancies that have been pending for months. Court dockets never move swiftly so I can only imagine how much worse things are now.

We all have a vested interest in a well-functioning justice system. Let’s hope for a speedy confirmation vote on all  judges.

Lawyers, Help Your Clients Move On

People who have actually served on juries love to share their experiences with other potential jurors. One of the universal threads running through the tales of trials past is that jurors are amazed at how long the case had been pending before the parties were actually assembled in the courtroom before a jury of their peers. Six or seven years is not at all uncommon. When I was actively practicing  law, I think I may have topped 10 years before one of my cases was finally resolved!

Think about that. For seven long years, the client has had to face each day with a nagging worry in the back of his mind. It is impossible to get on with his life until the lawsuit is resolved.

A quick resolution is one of the most beneficial aspects of mediation — just get together in a room and work it out!

Lawyers, make your clients love you. Resolve their case quickly so that they can move on with their lives.


Jury Duty

I have been summoned for jury duty tomorrow in the State Court of Fulton County. This is the third time for me, but I have never been actually chosen to hear a case. I find it fascinating to observe the process from the other side of the bench, however.

While I was tempted to try to get out of jury duty, at the end of the day I knew it was the right thing to do. Our system cannot work with citizens being willing to serve. Hopefully, by tomorrow, the lawyers will have mediated their case, and I won’t be needed.

Have you ever served on a jury? What was it like?

Practice Law To the Beat of A Different Drummer

A Different Drummer by O.V. Brantley

Law is a very traditional field. Change comes slowly. Litigation techniques are passed down from senior partner to junior partner to associates to interns.

Mostly that is a good thing. However, change can be good also. With court calendars clogged, hourly rates at all time highs and an increasingly litigious society, it is time to consider a better way to serve your clients and the legal community.

Mediation is a better way.

The quilt shown here is part of my series of quilts called A Different Drummer. This one, which is #15 in the series, is offered for sale in my studio store.

In Memory of a Great Client

Chief George Coleman

Chief George Coleman passed away this week. He was the police chief of Fulton County for much of the time that I was the County Attorney. We worked closely together on many issues, but not as many as you would expect because he ran a good department. I believe the tone and character of an organization is set by its leader, and he was a great leader. 

Even more importantly, Chief Coleman was a great public servant. He was a model client who always tried to do the right thing and who always sought and listened to advice. The county lost one of its best when he retired after 35 years of service.

He was a good man, and I was proud to be his lawyer.


Mediation Can Save a Marriage

I don’t mediate divorce cases, but I do mediate sexual harassment cases. By their very nature, sexual harassment cases are distasteful, embarrassing and tend to show people at their worse. They call out for confidentiality.

If sexual harassment cases are allowed to continue, even to the deposition phase of litigation, they can do irreparable harm to a marriage. Allowing a spouse hear the gory details of a sexual harassment case is sure to doom a marriage. In other words,  the less the spouse knows the better if the marriage is to survive.

Mediations are confidential, and a spouse can be kept out of the room. Help save a marriage. Don’t litigate your sexual harassment case. Mediate it.

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