Douglas J. Witten
Attorney, Mediator, and Arbitrator
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Expertise | Corporate & Public Sector Excellence | Healthcare Background
Highly experienced attorney, ADR professional, and founder of dispute resolution company. Offer 24 years of legal expertise, including nearly 13 years working in increasingly senior roles for the State of Georgia’s workers’ compensation agency with focus on ADR and administrative law. Savvy legal strategist and negotiator; served as primary legal liaison to various departments and governing bodies regarding tactical direction for wide range of legal matters affecting state's rights and responsibilities as well as complex policies and procedures. Effectively build consensus and foster compromise among competing interests to influence favorable outcomes on diverse legal issues.
Have also cultivated extensive background in healthcare law, starting with early roles in healthcare practice groups at prominent law firms and current affiliation/training with organizations such as the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) and American Bar Association (Healthcare Committee, Dispute Resolution Section; Task Force on ADR and Conflict Management in Healthcare, Health Law Section). Speak English and Spanish with fluency.
Key Strengths & Proficiencies Include:
Leadership | Team Oversight | Legal Plans of Action | Compliance | Legal Research & Analysis | Contracts
Due Diligence | Negotiations | Mediation and Arbitration (ADR) | Employee Presentations & Trainings | Legal Issues & Trends
Executive & Team Collaboration | Public Sector Liaison & Education | Oral & Written Communication | Drafting ExcellenceCaseload Management | Policy & Contract Work (Drafting, Review & Negotiation) | Team Hiring & Oversight | Mentorship
RECENT PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE & SELECTED MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
BAY Mediation & Arbitration Services, LLC: Atlanta, GA | Mediator and Arbitrator 2016 – Present
Neutral panel member of fast-growing regional dispute resolution company. Areas of focus include healthcare, medical, business and commercial, workers’ compensation, and other disputes. Offer English-Spanish ADR services.
Innovative ADR International LLC: Atlanta, GA | Founder 2015 – Present
Founding member of dispute resolution firm, mediator, and arbitrator. Areas of focus include healthcare, medical, business and commercial, workers’ compensation, and other disputes. Offers English-Spanish neutral services.
Healthcare and Medical: Extensive education, training, and legal experience representing physicians, hospitals, home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, technology and pharmaceutical companies, insurers, and others in healthcare and medical matters allows for in-depth understanding of disputes and opportunities to resolve them efficiently and effectively.
Business and Commercial: Background and practice as corporate and M&A lawyer, handling sophisticated transactions involving local, national, and international clients, provides unique insight into resolving business and commercial disputes.
Workers’ Compensation: Years of mediating workplace injury cases, managing ADR teams, and reviewing and analyzing thousands of appeals throughout the state delivers specialized experience and unique insight into resolving workers’ compensation claims.
State of Georgia (SBWC): Atlanta, GA | Multiple Roles 2003 – 2016
Division Director / Attorney General Liaison: Appellate Division 2013 – 2016
Deputy Director / Attorney General Liaison: Appellate Division 2007 – 2013
Deputy Director / Chief Mediator / Attorney General Liaison: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Division 2005 – 2007
Attorney Mediator: ADR Division 2003 – 2005
Initially hired to work in mediation area for State of Georgia workers’ compensation agency; identified for exemplary strengths in field of complex mediation as well as case management, team oversight, and legal writing. Promoted often.
Mediation Success: Presided as mediator in 1200+ cases with approximately 90% success rate. Trained as general civil mediator, registered with GA Commission on Dispute Resolution. Assist parties close cases efficiently and cost-effectively.
Departmental Process Oversight: Managed appellate process and enhanced review procedures.
- Exceeded strategic goal by publishing appellate decisions within 90 days of appeal presentation in 95% of cases.
Executive Collaboration: Worked closely with Board of Directors and provided comprehensive legal analysis, statutory, rule, and policy recommendations. Also served as Liaison to Office of the Attorney General and assisted agency's Legislative Committee.
- Provided agency legal guidance regarding general counseling, litigation, insurance liability, provider reimbursement, healthcare information privacy and confidentiality, etc. Oversaw inter-agency collaboration as well as contract drafting and review.
Legal Strategist: Spearheaded agency litigation and pre-litigation strategies and employed effective negotiation tactics.
Team Hiring & Management: Directed hiring, training, and performance review of employees; supervised staff work and growth.
Case Management Improvement: Collaborated with IT team and Division staff on overhauling and significantly improving case management and review system; all necessary legal personnel gained shared access to networked decisions.
Document Drafting Expertise: Known for exemplary writing capabilities; drafted documents for internal and external legal needs. Regularly drafted impactful appellate decisions ultimately upheld by higher courts.
Spanish-Speaking Assistance: Identified need to increase Hispanic clientele access to accurate legal info as well as mediation process benefits. Overhauled and translated state-mandated forms and performed bilingual mediation when appropriate.
Legislative Lobbyist: Partnered with agency leaders, lawmakers, and legislative committee members on legislative strategy and ensured successful session. Monitored state legislation/initiatives to guarantee interests are represented and protected.
King & Spalding, LLP: Atlanta, GA | Associate 2000 – 2002
Member of corporate & healthcare departments for large, international law firm. Handled litigation matters and transactions.
Healthcare Attorney: Served as key legal advisor on range of cases focused on health systems and organizations, skilled nursing providers, hospitals, physicians, insurers, pharmaceutical companies, Medicare & Medicaid reimbursements, etc.
HIPAA Knowledge: Took initiative in learning highly technical area of new HIPAA regulations; condensed hundreds of pages of documents and made presentations to various audiences seeking guidance on compliance with intricate requirements.
Long, Aldridge & Norman LLP (n/k/a Dentons): Atlanta, GA | Associate 1997 – 2000
Member of corporate & healthcare departments; handled range of transactional, litigation, and regulatory matters.
Healthcare Attorney: Successfully represented healthcare clients across sector spectrum; developed deep and broad expertise in state/federal laws, rules, regulations, administrative rulings, case law, and more, affecting healthcare operations.
- Also defended Certificate-of-Need decision in favor of healthcare provider client; served as second-chair in appeals process. Victorious in first administrative hearing and ensured client retained right to build new healthcare facility.
Latin American Law Focus: Counseled large South American technology company expanding into LatAm region; advised on multiple transactions. Ongoing representation allowed firm to successfully grow business and achieve company goals.
Firm-Wide Success: Played integral role in in closing one of firm's then-most historically significant deals.
FORMAL EDUCATION & SELECTED PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON LAW CENTER: Houston, TX | LL.M. in Health Law & Policy 1997
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW: New York, NY | J.D. 1996
EMORY UNIVERSITY GOIZUETA BUSINESS SCHOOL: Atlanta, GA | B.B.A., with Highest Distinction 1993
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES: Sydney, Australia Summer/Fall 1991 (study abroad)
SELECTED PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) and You (2020) | Learn to Mediate Online (2020) | Ethical Considerations for Use of Online Tools for Dispute Neutrals in the COVID-19 Era (2020) | Mediating Online Disputes, Silicon Valley Summer Institute (2019) |AAA Healthcare Dispute Resolution Innovation and Strategy Conference (2018) |Business Mediation Basics 101 (2018) | Considerations for Arbitrating Payer/Provider Disputes (2017) | The Future of Binding Arbitration in Long Term Care (2017) | AHLA Health Care Arbitration (2016) | ABA Mediation FAQ (2016) | What is ADR in Health Care? (2016) | Health Law Neutrals (2016) | Hot Topics in Managed Care Litigation (2016) | Arbitration Agreements with Nursing Home Residents (2016) | Utilizing Mediation to Navigate the Perils of Electronic Discovery in Arbitration (2016) | The Role of the Organizational Ombuds in the Healthcare Setting (2015) | ABA Advanced Mediation and Advocacy Skills Institute (2015) | Representing Clients in Mediation: A Master Class in Mediation Advocacy (2015) | AHLA Annual Practice Group Leadership Training (2015-17) | Transforming Peer Review through Mediation (2015) | Mediating Disputes in Accountable Care and Value-Based Health Care Settings (2013) | AHLA: Advanced Mediation Training (2011) | Advanced Mediation: Beyond Process to Skills (2011)
ADDITIONAL LEGAL EXPERIENCE & RELEVANT CORE COMPETENCIES
NOLO: Berkeley, CA | Contributing Writer 2018 – Present
- Contributing writer for one of the web's largest libraries of user-friendly legal information, with the goal of helping consumers and small businesses find high-quality answers to everyday legal and business questions.
LEAP FORWARD GROUP: Atlanta, GA | Counsel 2004 – 2013
- Aided company president on range of legal matters, including contracts, employment issues, and litigation management.
STATE BAR OF GEORGIA (Transition Into Law Practice Program): Atlanta, GA | Attorney Mentor 2006 – 2007
- Counseled new attorneys on developing effective practices as they begin legal career following law school.
LATIN AMERICAN ASSOCIATION: Atlanta, GA | Volunteer Attorney 2002 – 2003
Served as volunteer in legal department of group dedicated to assisting constituents from LatAm countries. Advised on family immigration matters and other legal areas; interfaced with Spanish-speaking clientele and bilingual staff.
Early Legal Experience included an internship at Flagler Hospital in the Administration & Finance Department, and Law Clerkships with the Honorable Jerry A. Funk and the North Shore University Health System.
Legal Healthcare Knowledge & Sector Experience: Reimbursement | Healthcare Litigation | Medical Staff Issues | Insurance Liability | Corporate & Transactional | Provider Reimbursement | HIPAA | Fraud & Abuse | Information & Technology| False Claims Act | Healthcare Systems & Organizations | Hospitals | ADR | Physicians | Insurers | Pharmaceutical/Biotech | Home Health & Skilled Nursing Providers
Drafting Knowledge: Transactional & Corporate Documents | Service & Management Agreements | Employment & Contractor Agreements | Administrative Awards & Orders (Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law & Legal Citations) | Legal Memos & Briefs | Administrative Rules & Regulations
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS / SELECTED LEADERSHIP ROLES & GROUP AFFIILIATIONS
AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION (ABA)
- Member, Dispute Resolution Section (Committees: Healthcare; International; Mediation; Technology in ADR)
- Mediation Committee
- Subcommittee Co-chair, Just Resolutions Publication
- Subcommittee Co-chair, Special Projects
- Welcome Committee, Annual Spring Conference, April 10-12, 2019, Minneapolis, MN
- Mediation Committee
- Member, Health Law Section (Task Force on ADR and Conflict Management in Health Care)
- Past Member, Business Law Section (Dispute Resolution Committee)
- Member, ABA Advisory Panel (2011 – 2014)
AMERICAN HEALTH LAW ASSOCIATION (AHLA)
- Chair (2016-2018) and Vice Chair (2015-16), ADR Affinity Group
- Panel Neutral, Dispute Resolution Service
ATLANTA BAR ASSOCIATION
- Board Member, Dispute Resolution Section
- Member, Workers’ Compensation Section
FORO INTERNACIONAL DE MEDIADORES PROFESIONALES (FIMEP)
- Embajador a EE.UU. (U.S. Ambassador)
GEORGIA ADR INSTITUTE PLANNING COMMITTEE
GEORGIA GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE COMMISSION (Registered Lobbyist 2012)
GEORGIA HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION
GEORGIA OFFICE OF DISPUTE RESOLUTION, SUPREME COURT OF GEORGIA (Registered Neutral, General Civil Mediation, Domestic Mediation & Arbitration)
- Civil Mediation Training, Resolution Resources Corporation (2003)
- Arbitration Training, Henning Mediation & Arbitration Service (2016)
- Divorce Mediation Training, Justice Center of Atlanta (2017)
- Domestic Relations Mediation Practicum, Henning Mediation & Arbitration Service (2017)
HISPANIC NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION
INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR ONLINE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
ADDITIONAL RELEVANT INFORMATION
MEDIATION COACH: Georgia State University School of Law, Civil Mediation Training (2018) |John Marshall Law School, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Mediation (2019-20)
SELECTED HONORS: Nominee: Daily Report ALM “Best Of” Survey, “Individual Mediator/Arbitrator” Category (2020) |Certificate Recipient: Georgia Leadership Institute, “Leading Others” (2009) | Recipient: Governor’s Faithful Service Award (2008 & 2013) | Winner, First Prize: American Health Lawyers Association Year-in-Review case summaries contest (2002)
STATE BAR ADMISSIONS: Georgia (Dispute Resolution, Health Law, Workers’ Compensation Sections); admitted to practice in Georgia Supreme Court and all Georgia courts | Florida (Dispute Resolution Section); admitted to practice in Florida Supreme Court and all Florida courts
OF NOTE: Skilled musician; can play guitar, bass, ukulele, mandolin, keyboard, piano and harmonica | Avid runner, including multiple marathons | Authored 300-page manuscript titled Musings on the Links
Addendum of Selected Publications, Presentations & Civic Involvement Available by Request