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Garner receives award for her pro bono work

For Jana Garner, a local attorney, practicing law is not only a way to help support her family, it’s a way to give back to her community.

Garner is being recognized for her pro bono work through the mediation process. During the 2015 annual Alabama State Bar meeting Saturday, Garner was bestowed the Pro Bono Mediation award.

“It was really an honor to be considered and chosen for the award. There’s so many well-qualified, really skilled mediators in Alabama, and so to be considered for the award and nominated is always an honor,” Garner said. “I was very pleased and surprised and thankful for it.”

Garner has been practicing law for 18 years and is an attorney at Reeves & Stewart, P.C. in Selma. Throughout her time in law, she worked with clients that went through the mediation process.

Mediation is a process that allows people to resolve their disputes before they go to trial by meeting with their lawyers and a third party — mediator — that they choose or is court appointed for their case.

“It’s a real positive way to resolve legal disputes,” Garner said. “It really empowers people to resolve their own disputes.”

After working with clients that went through the process and seeing how well it worked for them, Garner decided that she too wanted to be a mediator.

“It was so beneficial, that’s why in 2010, I contacted the [Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution] and began to go through different training that was necessary to be on the roster so that I could mediate,” Garner said. “The reason I ventured into mediation in the first place is because I was representing clients who were participating in mediation, and I saw from that experience how my clients and I were really able to fashion a customized settlement at mediation that increased the rate of satisfaction of individuals in the legal process.”

Garner is now on the Alabama mediator’s roster, which means she has had sufficient training to be a court appointed mediator. In addition to the work she does on a normal basis, Garner also participates in pro bono mediation, meaning she mediates some cases for free for those that need a little extra help.

This was the first time that she had been given the award, and she said she was so excited to find out that she was chosen.