Monthly Archives: October 2010

In Memory of My Friend Chuck Floyd

Chuck Floyd

My friend Chuck  Floyd died October 27, 2010. We will celebrate his life today at the Dogwood Church in Tyrone Georgia at 2:30 p.m.

His wife Deborah Floyd and I practiced law together as young lawyers in the City of Atlanta Law Department. We became lifelong friends.

I know the entire legal community will miss him. In addition to being the Chief Magistrate Judge in Fayette County, Chuck maintained a private practice for many years. He helped thousands of people get through some of the most difficult times of their lives.

Although Chuck was a brilliant trial lawyer with a gift for storytelling, most of us will remember all the times he made us laugh. What a priceless gift to leave behind.

Atlanta Goes Green

Mayor Kasim Reed

Mayor Kasim Reed plans for Atlanta to become one of the greenest cities in the nation. Yesterday, he unveiled a plan called Power to Change which will guide Atlanta toward its goal of becoming one of the top 10 sustainable cities in the nation. Mandy Mahoney, Director of Sustainability, will lead the city’s efforts.

“I believe the City of Atlanta should be a leading example of how a major urban municipality can take greater responsibility for efficient energy and water use, the conservation of green space, and the promotion of a healthier, cleaner and greener environment,” Mayor Reed said. “It is vital we take concrete, measurable actions around sustainability now to protect the future of our city.” 

With change comes conflict. Hopefully, the City will avail itself of mediation or other alternative conflict resolution processes  when conflict arises and not litigation.

Kudos to Mayor Reed!

A Conversation – Women of Courage and Conviction Who Changed the Law

Rosalind Newell, Marva Brooks and O.V. Brantley

I have always felt very proud and fortunate to have been mentored by Marva Jones Brooks, the first female and the first African American City Attorney for the City of Atlanta . Marva hired me  in 1983 at the City of Atlanta Law Department, and working for her shaped the rest of my life. Marva is a brilliant lawyer filled with grace. As I navigated my career in the political arena, I was often guided by the single thought of  “what would Marva do?”

So when I learned that she was going to be one of three panelists on a program at Spelman College  sponsored by the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys  and  Former Mayor Shirley Franklin, I knew I could not miss it. Mayor Franklin, who moderated the discussion,  rightly named the program A Conversation — Women of Courage and Conviction Who Changed the Law.  It was a fabulously inspiring night.

Marva spoke about her pioneering work with Mayor Maynard Jackson in the area of female and minority contracting. Her work made a difference in the lives of so many people in Atlanta and around the nation. Aside from the wonderful program, I saw so many old friends from my City of Atlanta days.

I hope you are lucky enough to have a wonderful mentor. If not, find one!

Small World

African Starry Night by O.V. Brantley

Atlanta has always fancied itself an international city, but it was truly in rare form last week when it hosted the “Experience America” tour for visiting ambassadors. A welcoming reception was held at the  McKenna Long law firm, and many local dignitaries attended. I attended primarily so that I could continue to promote my mediation practice that focuses on local government issues.

Mayor Kasim Reed was on hand to welcome the ambassadors, and most of the Atlanta City Council was present, including City Council President Ceasar Mitchell. Attorney General Thurbert Baker and Police Chief George Turner were also there to welcome the international visitors to Atlanta. It was truly an inspiring evening as Atlanta sought to  build ties of friendship and business with other nations.

The evening was particularly poignant for me because the two loves of my life (quilting and mediating) intersected in a most unexpected way. A mere three days before the reception, the American Embassy in Quito, Ecuador purchased one of my handmade quilts for an upcoming exhibit. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the ambassador from Ecuador was at the reception. I was able to meet him as well as local staff members from the Ecuadorian  Embassy here in Atlanta.

The quilt that made such a memorable night possible is called African Starry Night. Apparently, it may serve as my introduction into international mediations as I plan a trip to Ecuador next year.

What I Am Reading

We should never stop learning, and I love adding to my library. This week I am reading How to Make Money as a Mediator (and Create Value for Everyone) by Jeffrey Krivis and Naomi Lucks.

Whatever your profession, it is good to talk to those who have done it successfully. If you cannot talk to them in person, getting advice from a book is the next best thing. 

How to Make Money as a Mediator (and Create Value for Everyone) has advice and tips on how to build a successful practice  from 30 top mediators. It is available on Amazon in traditional book format and on Kindle.

Will Litigate For Food

Will Litigate For Food by O.V. Brantley, 2006.

Writing about power lunches made me think of my quilt Will Litigate for Food. Hopefully your marketing or lack thereof has not reduced you to litigating for food.

This quilt is a signature quilt signed by the staff of the Fulton County Attorney’s Office. As with all my signature quilts, it is a lot of fun to read the creative messages left by the staff.

Will Litigate For Food was featured in a quilt exhibit held at the Art Station in Stone Mountain, GA. Unfortunately, the picture does not do justice to this beautiful quilt.

Power Lunch

Networking is key to any successful career, and marketing seems to be the new watch word for law firms. I tend to prefer less traditional ways like sharing my quilts. This week, however, I found myself doing it the old-fashioned way. I had lunch at the 191 Club.

If you, too, were out having a power lunch at the 191 Club, you may have spotted Steve Labovitz of McKenna Long and me having a joyful lunch. We had so much catching up to do.  Aside from being a University of Pittsburgh alum which is where my daughter is in school, Steve makes it his business to know everything happening on the local government scene. That is invaluable for a person like me who specializes in local government mediations. On the way out, we ran into Connie Stokes, DeKalb County Commissioner and unsuccessful candidate for Congress, and Michael Coleman  of Epstein Becker and Green and former City Attorney of Atlanta.

Networking and client development does not have to be a chore. It can actually be fun. Spend a few minutes each day re-connecting with people. The work will be there when you return.

Win is What We Do

Win is What We Do by O.V. Brantley, 2007.

I always tried to instill in my staff that it is possible to win without being angry, to win while having fun, and to win while having balance in your life.

Win is What We Do was the last signature quilt I made for my staff at the Fulton County Attorney’s Office. Each staff member signed a block.

This quilt is part of my personal collection of heirloom quilts. It serves as a reminder that winning with joy is far better than winning wth anger.

Why Are Lawyers So Angry?

Do they teach a course in law school called “How to be Angry All the Time?” Sometimes it seems so. They definitely do not teach anger management or civility. I suppose they think it is encompassed in the Professionalism course, but if so, the lawyers are not getting it.

Many lawyers just seem mad all the time. They refuse to agree on the smallest things as if disagreement is a measure of smarts or success. Will being disagreeable change the facts of your case? No!! Will being disagreeable change the law that is applicable to your case? No!!

Lawyers, please stop being angry when it is not necessary. Do not be disagreeable when there is no point. Do not kick your dog, and do not be mean to your colleagues or adversaries.

Some of the most brilliant, successful lawyers I know are civil and agreeable. Join the club.

Conflict Resolution Academy will Offer Environmental Mediation Training

Conflict Mediation Academy announced at its Brown Bag Lunch series last week that it is adding Environmental Mediation to its lineup of training classes. The class has not been scheduled yet, but it will likely be held early next year. They envision that this class will teach the mediator skills to deal with various stakeholders such as businesses, governments and citizens when they are confronted with issues affecting the environment.

Visit the Conflict Resolution Academy web site for updates.

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