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Mediate.com

Leaning Into Conflict

by Jan Frankel Schau
October 2011

Schau's Mediation Insights by Jan Schau

Jan Frankel Schau

Last evening we spent a magical evening in my sister's Sukkah. This week marks the Jewish harvest festival where it is tradition to share our joy and bounty by inviting strangers to dine with us in impermanent tents or booths, which are decorated with fruits and vines from the season's bounty. Because the tradition is that only one wall may be used, it is often necessary to lean in to engage one another in conversation. It occurs to me that the same is true in mediation. There, the physical "leaning in" can have several beneficial effects. First, by leaning in, you can gently push up against and ultimately penetrate those fictitious walls that have been erected around the person in conflict, literally, breaking down barriers which may have caused or contributed to the conflict at the beginning. Second, you model a sense of equality, rather than authority. For example, an employer may choose to stand, or push his chair back from his desk when confronting an employee, and a Judge usually sits on a podium, elevated from those whom he or she is "Judging". Third, by sitting across from the disputant, you can echo and demonstrate your empathy in your face and body language, so that they can feel truly heard and understood. The result can be magical, just like dining in my sister's Sukkah.

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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