Qualifications as mediator for your benefit

There is way too much information here, but I want you to know me as a person as well as a lawyer/retired judge/mediator. The purpose of this article is to convey to the reader my qualifications that I believe will enable me to help you turn conflict into productive conversation and result in settling your case.

Related pages:

My practice

My practice is solely as a certified mediator and in other areas of dispute resolution such as arbitration. I do not practice law nor do I any longer sit as a visiting judge because I feel that focusing on conflict resolution is the best use of my experience and skills. I have worked hard to combine my 24 years of law practice and 16 years on the bench with mediation-specific education and experience to produce qualifications to be a productive problem-solver for you.

I am a Credentialed Distinguished Mediator (TMCA). What is the significance of being a credentialed, i.e. certified mediator? Being credentialed through the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association (TMCA) indicates that the mediator adheres to a strict code of conduct, undergoes substantial continuing education, and has meaningful levels of experience. The “Credentialed Distinguished” mediator designation is the highest designation by the TMCA.

Associations

 

 

Mediation Qualifications, Certifications & continuing education

Credentialed Distinguished Mediator, Texas Mediator Credentialing Association (since 1-1-2016)

Basic Mediation:  40-hour course with Hill Country Dispute Resolution Center, 2012.

Advanced Family Mediation: 30-hour course with Hill Country Dispute Resolution Center, March, 2013.

Credentialed Distinguished Mediator, Texas Mediator Credentialing Association (since 1-1-2016)

Current State Bar Transcript:  MCLE 1-1-13 to 4-30-17

Fellow, Texas Bar College for 23 consecutive years.

Experience added to qualifications

Objective qualifications such as credentialing, formal courses, and continuing education comprise the core of qualifications to become an effective mediator. Actual, on the ground experience is where one becomes truly effective as a mediator.

As of April 30, 2017 I have conducted 1497 hours of mediation in 242 mediations across many different subject areas, with an overall settlement rate in excess of 90%.

Recent conferences and courses:

Detail Credit Ethics
3/24/2017 Transfer on Death Deeds, Lady Bird Deeds, & Survivorships 1.00 0.00
2/24/2017 2017 Annual TAM Professional Development Conference 8.25 2.75
1/27/2017 Alternative Dispute Resolution 6.50 3.00
1/20/2017 18th Annual Building Blocks of Wills, Estates and Probate 3.00 1.50
1/18/2017 Ethical Issues in Attorneys Use of Social Media 1.00 1.00
12/24/2016 Alternative Dispute Resolution 2013 with Nina Meierding: 6.75 2.00
12/14/2016 Now that You Are in Arbitration: Top Ten Tips 1.00 0.25

Education

Texas College for Judicial Studies, 2004 graduate of first class

Juris Doctor, 1973, University of Texas School of Law.

BBA (Accounting), 1966, University of Texas.

 Judicial experience

  • District Court bench 16 years, 1997-2012, 33rd Judicial District of Texas.

    Photo of Judge Jones

    Judge Gil Jones

  • District Judge since January 1997. Retired on 12/31/2012 after 16 years to take Senior Judge status and continue sitting as an assigned judge and to serve as a private mediator.
  • Presided over 100’s of trials, both juries and before the Court, including complex civil cases, family law, felonies, juveniles and juveniles certified to stand trial as adults.
  • First required a seminar for divorcing parents in order to encourage better communications for the benefit of children during and following the divorce of the parents.
  • Member, Texas Supreme Court Task Force on Foster Care which was responsible for the Court Improvement Project which resulted in the specialty courts with associate judges presiding over child protection (CPS) cases.
  • Expanded the mediation process for the district to include a formal association of local mediators.
  • Was one of the first courts in Texas to require mediation in CPS cases involving termination of parental rights, thus reducing the angst of difficult trials and saving taxpayers 100’s of thousands of dollars.
  • Past president, Texas Association of District Judges (TADJ).
  • Re-elected without opposition in 2000, 2004 and 2008 after a contested race in 1996.
  • Served as Chairman of multi-county juvenile board since 1997.
  • Reputation as hard-working, always attempting to be fair and impartial with a judicial temperament to be courteous and respectful of all who come before the Court.

Notable trials

Judge Jones has presided over a couple of interesting cases of first impression including Wilderness Cove, Ltd. v. Cold Spring Granite Co., 62 S.W.3d 844, 160 Oil & Gas Rep. 908 (Tex.App.-Austin Nov 15, 2001) declaring granite to be a mineral – not as crazy as it sounds; the decision is fact-specific.  Interestingly, the 3rd Court of Appeals quoted a letter ruling from the trial court, but then in a footnote stated “[a]lthough we quote portions of the letter ruling, we acknowledge that it has no legal effect.”

Then there was the case involving an internet domain address – horseshoebay.com – with alleged trademark infringement and dilution which turned in part factually on the Hurd cousins having named Horseshoe Bay while strolling the lowered waterline and discovering … a horseshoe. Horseshoe Bay Resort Sales Co. v. Lake Lyndon B. Johnson Imp. Corp., 53 S.W.3d 799 (Tex.App.-Austin Aug 09, 2001) (NO. 03-00-00384-CV), rehearing overruled (Oct 04, 2001), review denied (Jun 06, 2002).  The case was one of first impression in Texas.

Legal experience

Judge Jones earned both of his degrees from the University of Texas, a BBA in Accounting (1966) and his Doctor of Jurisprudence (1973). He initially practiced law in Austin with the firm of Hilgers, Daugherty, Fielder, Golden and Kupperman; and later with the Law Office of Bill Hilgers which eventually became Hilgers and Watkins in Austin. In 1975 he reluctantly left the Hilgers firm to return to his hometown and practice law with his father both in private practice and for a private oil and gas producer.

His private law practice, which ended in 1996 when he was first elected to the 33rd District Court bench, utilized his combined licensure as both attorney and CPA in the areas of taxation, estate planning, business planning and business litigation among all of the varied other areas in which small-town lawyers typically practice such as divorce and custody matters, consumer protection, collections. He estimates that there were well over 100 substantive areas of the law in which he had been involved in litigation and had practiced in both state and federal courts.

Other work experience

Certified Public Accountant (CPA) on the audit staff in the Houston office of Arthur Andersen & Co., one of the “Big 8” international accounting firms of the 60’s. (1966 upon graduation, then late 1969 – summer 1971)

Personal

Gil is a native Texan who grew up in the West Texas cattle, oil and cotton town of Big Spring where he learned early-on about hard work and self-sufficiency. He’s been around the court system all his life due to his father having been the District Attorney. His folks, Guilford, Jr. (a/k/a “Big Gil” as opposed to Gil’s continuing hometown nickname of “Little Gil”) and Bette, reared him and his sister Jan (who formerly also lived in Marble Falls) in Big Spring where he graduated high school.

After trying hard to do “his own independent thing” he found his roots in the law in his second career after one in public accounting as a Certified Public Accountant in the Houston office of an international accounting firm. That career was partially interrupted by a stint in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam after which he returned to public accounting before later attending law school.

Moving to Marble Falls in 1984 was the beginning of the eventual trek to the bench. At first intending to live in the Hill Country and maintain his primary practice in Big Spring, Gil quickly became too busy in the Hill Country to continue the practice in Big Spring and the 250 mile commute it entailed. He’s often been heard when people “back home” asked “how could you just shut down your fine law practice in Big Spring to go down there?” to quip “if you have to ask the question, you just won’t understand the answer.”

The Marble Falls area is like home to Gil from his having spent many boyhood summers in Marble Falls with his grandparents, G.L. and Jeannette Jones. They were long time residents of Marble Falls having moved there in 1921. G.L. was once the mayor of Marble Falls and Jeannette taught school there for many years and taught several generations of Marble Fallsians, many of whom are still around.

Community and Church

Judge Jones has a long-standing and broad history of worship and helping others.

Church

  • Member, Trinity Episcopal Church, Marble Falls, vestryman 1997-99 (Sr. Warden 1999),
  • past Chair of long-range planning commission,
  • past Treasurer, and
  • past Chancellor.
  • past Director of Trinity Benedictine Center (an educational resource center) at Trinity, Marble Falls.
  • Lector (sometimes referred to as “lay reader”).
  • Frequent presenter of “The Seven Trials of Christ,” an analysis of the trial of Christ from the viewpoint of a lawyer and judge.
  • At St. Mary’s, Big Spring
    • Past vestryman (Sr. Warden 2 years), St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Big Spring.
    • Past board member, St. Mary’s Episcopal School.
    • Past Chancellor, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and School.
    • Founding Chair of a workgroup to design and construct “Canterbury” — a 120 unit elderly retirement complex.

Community:

  • Rotary Club of Marble Falls – Daybreak (founding President 2003, currently membership chair).
  • Former member of the Rotary Club of Marble Falls (the “noon” club),
    • International Director (1992-93),
    • Treasurer (1993-94),
    • Vice-President (1995-96,
    • President-Elect for 1997-98, did not take office due to being elected to the bench).
  • Advisory Council Boys and Girls Club of the Highland Lakes, Burnet Unit (2007 – 2009).
  • Board of Trustees, Marble Falls ISD (1995-96), resigning upon election to the bench.
  • Chairman, Industrial Committee, Marble Falls/Lake L.B.J. Regional Tri-Commission for Economic Development (1987-89, President 1992-95).
  • Chairman, Health Evaluation, Liaison and Planning Committee (County Court appointed citizens task force on strategic planning for rural healthcare, 1992-94).
  • Co-founder and President, Highland Lakes Healthcare Foundation, Inc. (1992-95).
  • Advisory director, Security State Bank and Trust – Fredricksburg, Marble Falls Branch (1993-96).
  • Previously in Big Spring
    • Past board member (and Vice President) Dora Roberts Rehabilitation Center, Big Spring.
    • Past board member (and Treasurer) Big Spring Chamber of Commerce.
    • Past coordinator and lecturer for Personal Financial Planning sponsored by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Big Spring.

Military

Vietnam Vet, U.S. Navy

  • U.S. Navy 1966-1969 (Ltjg, USNR)
  • Served aboard the attack aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) in two combat tours to Southeast Asia during the Vietnam conflict.
  • Responsibilities included that of Communications Watch Officer and ultimately as the “Traffic Officer” in charge of the entire communications message center and all watch officers providing support for the ship and also the embarked 3-star admiral, Commander Attack Carrier Task Force 7th Fleet.
  • Also served as combat-qualified Officer of the Deck, Tactical Communicator during General Quarters and later as the Emergency Conning Officer of the Deck during General Quarters (controls the ship in the event the bridge is destroyed).
  • Honorable release from active duty and still hold my commission as a reserve officer.

Other

Judge Jones has many personal interests ranging from his family and church to photography, long-distance motorcycling and camping, bicycling, internet technology and usage, amateur radio (especially in emergency communications), jogging, hiking, kayaking and fishing, and the construction and flying of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or, incorrectly, “drones”). He also blogs on a variety of topics including his hobbies at Musings of Captain Justice which can provide both light-hearted and serious reading.

 

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