R. Wayne Thorpe

R. Wayne Thorpe, Esq.

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Lauryn Hall
T: 404-566-2157
F: 404-588-0905
One Atlantic Center, 1201 West Peachtree, Suite 2650, Atlanta, GA 30309


R. Wayne Thorpe, Esq. has acted as mediator, arbitrator, or other neutral in dozens of employment and employee benefit cases, including class and collective actions; age, disability, gender, race discrimination; FLSA; sexual harassment; wrongful termination of employee benefits; ERISA; breach of contract; non-compete, non-solicit, and trade secret disputes; whistle-blower; Sarbanes-Oxley; breach of fiduciary duty, theft of corporate opportunity; bonuses and stock options; law firm disputes with former partners; severance agreements. Many of these cases have involved financial services, health care, legal, academic, technology, energy, and government executives and professionals. He is a member of the Employment section of the State Bar of Georgia.

Mr. Thorpe has been a full-time ADR neutral since 1998. He has served as mediator, arbitrator, facilitator, special master, and case evaluator in roughly  2000  cases in at least 15 states, including many high stakes and complex cases, class actions, MDL’s, and other large scale multi-party cases, and more than 500 arbitrations as sole arbitrator, panel chair, or party-appointed arbitrator.

Mr. Thorpe was named by the Best Lawyers in America publication as the 2015 Atlanta Arbitration Lawyer of the Year and the 2012 Atlanta Mediation Lawyer of the Year, and he has been recognized by International Who’s Who of Commercial Mediation, Best Lawyers in America and Georgia Super Lawyers for a number of years.

He is Past Chair of the ABA Dispute Resolution Section, and he has been a leader in ADR ethics and other policy matters both nationally and in Georgia for many years. He has also served as an adjunct professor and guest presenter in ADR courses in several law schools. Before he became a full-time neutral, Mr. Thorpe was a litigation partner in a large Atlanta law firm.

Representative Matters

  • Mediation and arbitration of FLSA cases including collective actions
  • Numerous disputes involving non-compete, non-solicitation, trade secret, fiduciary duty and similar issues in employment and buy/sell agreements
  • Numerous race, national origin, age, disability, and gender discrimination cases (including reverse race discrimination)
  • Mediations and arbitrations of cases involving partner withdrawal from law firms, including AmLaw 100 firms, involving race and gender discrimination, retirement and accounting disputes
  • Multi-plaintiff, putative class actions alleging race and gender discrimination in pay, promotion, and conditions of employment
  • Arbitrations and mediations in contract disputes between employers and former executives over severance, stock options, bonus payments, pension and other issues
  • Arbitration of $100M claim by former CEO against Brazilian public company over severance payment
  • Arbitrations of employment contract claims by private equity professionals and counterclaim for breach of confidentiality agreement
  • Arbitration of employment contract claim by energy industry sales manager
  • Mediation of relator's retaliation case in Memphis, TN alleging illegal off-label pharmaceutical marketing
  • Sexual harassment cases (and cases involving terminations of employees for alleged harassment), some involving high profile individual defendants
  • Mediations of disputes between hospitals and physicians concerning terminations of physicians and various other business and financial issues
  • Sarbanes-Oxley claim against start-up biotech company brought by research physician employee
  • Several mediations and arbitrations of cases involving physician practice break-ups
  • Mediation/facilitation (with co-mediator) of corporate governance issues among officers and directors of large privately held health care company
  • Mediation/facilitation of workplace personnel and professional dispute between two officer-level employees in Fortune 50 company
  • Mediation of dispute between investment bank and senior management employees who left to start competing business and took most of their department with them; non-compete, non-solicit, and trade secret issues
  • Mediation of dispute between architecture firm and several employees who departed to form competing firm; non-compete, non-solicit, and trade secret issues
  • Age and gender discrimination case against media company brought by management/on-air employee
  • Age and gender discrimination case brought by high level female manager against large financial services company
  • Discrimination case brought by female broker against national securities brokerage firm
  • Discrimination cases against academic institutions, both academic and clerical personnel
  • Whistle-blower, defamation, and tortious interference claims against defense contractor
  • Fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claim by trucking company against management employee for allegedly directing multi-million dollar maintenance work to himself and relatives
  • Mediations of several high profile disputes involving senior management employees in federal and state government agencies
  • Disputes over benefits under employee benefit plans
  • EEOC case alleging ADA violation in industrial plant
  • Employment dispute between internet start-up company and terminated senior manager
  • Multi-plaintiff, national origin discrimination case against a bank
  • Employment discrimination claims by pharmaceutical reps
  • Suit by securities brokerage firm for collection on note arising from employment relationship, counterclaim for breach of employment contract
  • Arbitration of claims by salesmen against car dealer for underpayment on various commissions and incentives
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS. 

  • 2017 Recipient of The Chief Justice Harold G. Clarke Annual Award, presented by the Georgia Supreme Court Commission on Dispute Resolution and the State Bar of Georgia Dispute Resolution Section, In Recognition of His Outstanding Contributions to Dispute Resolution in Georgia
  • Co-Author, What Is…ADR in Health Care Disputes?, ABA Book Publishing (Health Law Section), 2015
  • Recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America, 2019-2022
  • Identified by The Best Lawyers in America as the 2020 Atlanta Arbitration Lawyer of the Year
  • Identified by The Best Lawyers in America as the 2015 Atlanta Arbitration Lawyer of the Year
  • Identified by The Best Lawyers in America as the 2012 Atlanta Mediation Lawyer of the Year
  • Named in International Who’s Who Legal, Mediation; Georgia Super Lawyers; and The Best Lawyers in America for several years
  • ABA, Dispute Resolution Section. Section Chair, 2010-2011; Officer or Member of Section Council, 2001-2012; Co-Chair, ABA Task Force on Improving Mediation Quality, 2006-2008; Drafting Committee, Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators, 2003-2005
  • Liaison from DR Section to ABA’s Ethics 2000 Commission (providing testimony on the Model Rules of Professional Conduct provisions relating to mediation and arbitration), 2000-2002; Chair, ABA DR Section Ethics Committee, 1997-2002
  • Member, Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution, 1997-2002, appointed by Supreme Court of Georgia
  • State Bar of Georgia, ADR Law Section. Chair, 2003-2004; Officer, 2000-2004; Executive committee, 2009-2012; Chair or Co-Chair, annual ADR Institute, 2000, 2003, planning committee, 2000-present; Atlanta Bar ADR Lawyers Section, past member, Board of Directors; Georgia Annual Arbitration Institute, Chair, 2018 and multiple prior years
  • Fellow, College of Commercial Arbitrators; Fellow, American College of Civil Trial Mediators
  • Adjunct Law School Professor, University of Georgia and Georgia State University, Alternative Dispute Resolution Courses, 1998-2004; guest presentations in ADR classes at GSU, Emory University, Mercer University, and John Marshall law schools
  • More than 150 speaking presentations to Bar and ADR professional groups in more than 20 states; faculty member ABA Annual Arbitration Institute, 2010-2012, 2016 (and Co-Chair, 2010); faculty member ABA Annual Advanced Mediation Institute, 2010, ’11, and ’13; dozens of articles and papers on ADR topics
  • Member, American Health Lawyers Association, Panel of Dispute Resolvers; US Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution National Roster; CPR Panel of Distinguished Neutrals; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Roster of Mediators
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation; Fellow, Atlanta Bar Foundation
  • Principal Benefactor, JAMS Foundation
  • JAMS, ADR Neutral, 1998-present
  • Litigation Partner and Associate, Alston & Bird, 1981-1998
  • Law Clerk to Chief United States District Judge Charles A. Moye, Jr., United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, 1979-1981
  • J.D., cum laude, University of Georgia Law School, 1979; Georgia Law Review, Research Editor
  • B.A., with distinction, University of Virginia, 1976
  • Wayne is married to Jane Thorpe, who retired as a partner at Alston & Bird in 2014. They have two adult children and two grandchildren. Wayne and Jane own a cabin in West Yellowstone, MT near Yellowstone National Park, where they flyfish and hike as much as they can.

Counsel Comments

    • "Mr. Thorpe brings to his ADR work the same degree of energy, creativity and perseverance that good lawyers bring to their representation of clients."
    • “[Mr. Thorpe] did an outstanding job mediating our dispute…he clearly had a firm grasp of the issues, and worked relentlessly to help the parties resolve a hard-fought case.  I believe [he] facilitated open lines of communication that ultimately allowed the parties to settle. I would welcome the opportunity to have [Mr. Thorpe] mediate for me in the future and look forward to doing so.”
    • "[Mr.] Thorpe was an excellent mediator who was instrumental in moving both sides towards a mutually beneficial settlement.”




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