Bowen completed all civil and domestic training requirements in order to be approved and qualified to mediate almost all civil and domestic disputes. By procuring his certification with the Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution, Bowen is eligible to handle both private mediations as well as court-ordered cases. In addition, this certification grants him the authority to formally adopt the Georgia Supreme Court ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) Rules as the procedural and ethical framework for his mediation practice. Wendy Williamson, Executive Director of The Mediation Center of Savannah, conducted the majority of Bowen’s training.
“Both statewide and nationwide statistics routinely reveal that well over half of all cases that are mediated result in a settlement during or shortly after the mediation process,” said Bowen. “In fact, mediation leads to the settlement of business disputes in 80-90% of cases.”
Mediation is an option available to anyone with a legal dispute as a faster and more cost-effective alternative to filing a lawsuit. If a case has already been filed, it provides another option rather than going all the way to trial. In a nutshell, the parties to the dispute meet with a neutral third party (the mediator) who tries to assist the parties to reach middle ground and settle the case cooperatively in a safe and stress-free environment. It is the mediator’s job to listen to the evidence, help the parties come to understand each other’s viewpoint regarding the controversy and then facilitate the negotiation of a settlement.
There are many benefits to attempting to mediate a dispute rather than immediately resorting to the filing of a lawsuit. More and more individuals and companies are turning to mediation to avoid the time, stress and expense of court. Unlike a trial, mediation is purely voluntary. Both sides are free to leave at any time and nothing is binding unless an agreement is reached and signed. The mediator’s role is not to rule upon the case like a judge or jury, but rather to help the parties fashion their own mutually-beneficial resolution. Studies have shown that agreements reached by parties working together in this manner are far more likely to be honored without the need for subsequent court intervention.
“In court,” Bowen said, “there are actually very few remedies available to the parties other than monetary damages. Mediation, on the other hand, gives the parties complete control over the settlement process, opening the door to creative solutions that are simply not available in court.”
In many cases—particularly in business disputes and domestic cases—there may well be an ongoing relationship between the parties following the mediation. Mediation provides an opportunity to resolve a dispute in a non-adversarial way so that important relationships can be repaired and preserved. Further, unlike court filings, mediation is a completely confidential process. Nothing discussed may be repeated outside the mediation and all of the mediator’s notes are destroyed following the session.
Georgia’s mediation certification is accepted and respected by ADR professionals and organizations throughout the country. However, the certification must be renewed at the beginning of each year by completing at least three hours of continuing education related to mediation and submitting to a background check.
To find out how the Georgia’s ADR system gives companies and individuals low-cost alternatives to settle disputes, visit http://www.godr.org/
MORE INFORMATION ON THE BOWEN LAW GROUP
The Bowen Law Group was founded in 2012 by Savannah business attorney Charles Bowen. Bowen received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and is a member of the Georgia Bar. Bowen opened The Bowen Law Group after running the Savannah branches of two large Atlanta law firms for eight years and previously serving for ten years as a partner in a respected Savannah litigation firm. The Bowen Law Group focuses on commercial, banking and manufacturing law and also offers comprehensive mediation services. Corporate law has deep ties to the Bowen family. Bowen’s great-grandfather (whose desk and other heirlooms are on display in the office) was an esteemed business attorney in New Orleans, a legacy that Bowen hopes to continue in Savannah. With panoramic views of the city and the Savannah River, The Bowen Law Group is located on the top floor of the Manger Building at 7 East Congress Street. For more information, call 912.544.2050 or visit http://thebowenlawgroup.com .
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