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Mediate.com

Beware the Bully Negotiator

by Jan Frankel Schau
November 2013

View From the Middle of the Road Blog by Jan Frankel Schau

Jan Frankel Schau

I have just finished reading Professor Dwight Golann's excellent book, "Sharing a Mediator's Powers". It was timely in that last week I mediated a contentious wrongful termination case in which one of the advocates was a notorious "bully". The case ended with a mediator's proposal which was accepted by both sides. But I have to say that I was very concerned that the bully advocate had hijacked the mediation and would be gaining an unfair advantage as the result. I was so relieved and gratified when both sides accepted the proposal and the weight of the balance was taken off my shoulders.

As Professor Golann details, the mediator gains all of her power from controlling the process of the negotiations, but the advocates can in fact achieve a better outcome for their clients if they are successful in getting the mediator to help them, for example, to make sure that all necessary parties are at the negotiating table, that a joint session is either intentionally held or omitted, that the mediator avoid "reactive devaluation" by delivering key messages instead of delivering them yourself directly to your adversary, and so on.

The integrity of the process is sacrosanct. As Golann concludes, "mediation is an active process, capable of almost infinite variation. Good lawyers know a mediator can help them negotiate effectively, and are not bashful about asking for help." Just be careful to maintain your balance!

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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