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What's Behind the Conflict?

by Jan Frankel Schau

From Jan Schau's blog.

Jan Frankel Schau


I had an opportunity to deliver a lecture on "Looking at Substance Abuse through a Different Lens: The impact of Drug and Alcohol Use on Legal Practice" this week. In preparation, I did considerable research on the subject. What I found, to my surprise, was that alcohol and drug abuse seemed to be a recurring, but always unstated theme as the driver of conflict and the impediment to resolution in many of the cases I've heard. Living and working in a large, metropolitan, expensive and competitive place like Los Angeles, I've seen evidence of substance abuse in business, real estate construction, employment and personal injury cases. It's no surprise, since the statistics suggest that abusers are generally both more aggressive and less likely to accept blame or responsibility for their own actions. Those that have access to attorneys to fight their battles consequently become regular clients in litigation. Whether the conduct is driven by substance abuse, or the litigation is confounded by it, mediator's and lawyers would be well advised to routinely investigate whether substance abuse plays into the conflict they're asked to resolve. The next time you have an inexplicable or intractable conflict, think about it through the lens of a drug abuser or alcoholic and see if that doesn't help you to understand why, for example, the story keeps changing, the recollection of facts has so faded, or the client refuses a reasonable settlement offer which will mean the end of their legal fight, representation and medical treatment on liens.

Biography


Attorney Jan Frankel Schau is a highly skilled neutral, engaged in full-time dispute resolution. Following a successful career spanning two decades in litigation, she has mediated over 700 cases for satisfied clients. Ms. Schau understands the nuances of trial and settlement practice as well as client relations and balancing the needs of their representatives with the risk and expenses of trial. Those who have used Ms. Schau’s services recognize excellence in her persistence, optimism, creativity and integrity.

Ms. Schau was the President of the Southern California Mediation Association in 2007 and is recognized as among the most outstanding mediators in Southern California in the mediation of civil disputes by her peers and clients. She also serves as a Trustee of the Board of Directors of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association, and has presided as Chair of it’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Section and Litigation Section. She holds a Certificate of Advanced Skills in Negotiation from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution of Pepperdine University as well as from the Western Law Center for Disability Rights at Loyola Law School.



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Website: www.schaumediation.com

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