Spotlight on Mediator Winter Wheeler
Miami…Madrid…Washington, DC…New Orleans…Atlanta. Winter Wheeler truly has lived, studied, and worked amongst some wonderfully diverse communities and cultures. So, it is no wonder that this neutral has the uncanny ability to appreciate people for who they are. Clients and colleagues alike have called this her “superpower,” and it forms the bedrock of her approach to mediation and arbitration.
“I listen to the words being used. I understand the feelings and the values they represent. I put that understanding to work, explaining and often educating both sides. Along with the overall resolution to the dispute, I help both sides achieve an emotional sense that in the end, the outcome was just. That is how I define a successful mediation.”
A Woman of the People…for the People
The product of a multicultural Florida family and community, Winter graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and put her fluency in Spanish to good use while studying in Spain. Her enthusiasm for mediation began upon her graduation from Tulane University’s law school when she returned to her home state of Florida to commence work as a newly minted civil litigator. Florida’s mandatory mediation rules dictated she litigate her cases with an eye toward both trial and alternative dispute resolution simultaneously. It required approaching opposing counsel with a “win-win” mindset that sees people and not just cases. The result of this exposure to diverse backgrounds and perspectives is that she operates under the premise that understanding where people are coming from will in turn tell her what they need to fully participate and benefit from dispute resolution.
Take for instance the Covid-19 quarantine, which shut down jury trials and in-person mediations. Strongly believing that attorneys should utilize online, virtual mediation to continue moving their cases to settlement, Winter recognized early on they could only do so if provided the right kind of support. For many attorneys, she understood that virtual mediation presented both a substantive and stylistic challenge to how they conducted their practice. To help these attorneys adjust to the new normal of the quarantine, she developed an honest and substantive webinar series that spoke to the strengths and challenges of virtual mediation. Each webinar was tailored to meet the needs of a particular group of attorneys, giving audiences specific information and strategies so they would succeed in their practice.
As an 11-year resident of Atlanta, Winter cares deeply about the community she serves and feels a responsibility to champion justice, especially for those whose concerns might otherwise go unaddressed. And her former litigation practice reflects this belief, as she regularly tackled, amongst others, cases involving wrongful death, catastrophic injury, malpractice in nursing homes and other medical settings, municipal liability, civil rights, false imprisonment, and construction defects. As a mom to four young children, she is also very invested in ensuring the positive mental health and well-being of Georgia’s legal professionals, especially for fellow working parents.
ABOUT WINTER WHEELER
Winter Wheeler mediates complex disputes in areas of wrongful death, catastrophic injury, personal injury, premises liability, legal malpractice, medical malpractice, products liability, automotive and trucking liability.