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Publicity and the Limits of Mediation

by Jan Frankel Schau

From Jan Schau's blog.

Jan Frankel Schau


I had two interesting cases this week that hit me in the forehead with an "Aha" about the limits of mediation. The first was an employment case in which the employee had somehow become the recipient of a copy of the evaluation letter of the employer's attorney. When confronted with this apparent impropriety, she immediately returned the letter, but of course, could not "un-ring" that bell. In the second, the facts had already been highly publicized and the Plaintiff was not bringing the action for the award of damages, but rather the satisfaction of teaching a lesson to the errant defendants on how not to run their company. It occured to me only later that in that case a mediation was bound to be unsatisfying, because I couldn't offer the kind of publicity that the case demanded. To the contrary, because I am bound to strict confidentiality, I cannot offer the satisfaction that a trial can in instances like these.

In this mornings New York Times, there was an interesting article about a blogger in New York--who relishes the opportunity to privately "publicize" facts and impressions via her blog. I was struck by the contrast between my ability to "publicize" and my hard-earned lesson that the blogosphere cannot expect to be kept confidential. Thus, you will get no further disclosure from me on the case I failed to settle this week until the media properly reports it. Some cases need to go through that process in order to be fully "settled". Cases that are mediated are subject to strict confidentiality. Cases that need the traditional media to ultimately satisfy the litigants, will not likely be settled through mediation. That's the limit of mediation: and the promise of this mediator. Maybe I should have gone into journalism as a second career after all...

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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