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Mediator Ethics

by Jan Frankel Schau

From Jan Schau's blog.

Jan Frankel Schau


It's an interesting thing, mediator ethics. I know that many mediators, particularly those that had a stint as Judges in prior lives, advise the parties before them that they will beat up on each side until they get a settlement. I, on the other hand, tend to prefer to cast the whole event in a more positive light, by letting the parties know I'm there to partner with them to get the best deal--while telling the same to the other side. In the end, we achieve the same result: a settlement that both parties can live with. But what I hope to achieve is a settlement in which both parties are satisfied, whereas those that take the "beating up" approach tend to go after the settlement where both parties are equally unhappy. Is that a violation of my mediators ethics? I attended a training this week with the LA Superior Court in which the Judge very plainly cautioned that we must never allow a litigant to have reason to believe we are biased towards (or against) them. Yet I know it is common practice in our community for mediators to treat clients to meals, sporting events and concerts. Even a bottle of wine or cigar at the conclusion of a settlement is not unheard of! So are our ethical constraints different than a Judges? And if so, is it time for us to revisit them? I'm still considering this one...with no answers this week, only questions.

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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