Stay up to date on everything mediation!

Subscribe to our free newsletter,
"This Week in Mediation"

Sign Up Now

Already subscribed No subscription today
Mediate.com

The Danger of Too Much Pride in Mediation

by Jan Frankel Schau
June 2012

Schau's Mediation Insights by Jan Schau

Jan Frankel Schau

Lawyer's Lesson: Posturing to Gain a Minimal Extra Benefit Can Backfire

This week I mediated a whistleblower case where an employee had complained to his Supervisor that another employee was signing his name to documents that were going to the Unemployment office. During the investigation, the employee got frustrated and quit the job. He was now suing for "constructive termination" claiming the terms and conditions of the employment were intolerable. After several hours of negotiation, I made a mediator's proposal that I knew was likely to be accepted by both sides--within 5-10% of their expressed (to me only) hoped-for result. Before Defendant had gotten the authority to accept or reject it, though, Plaintiff's attorney informed me that had rejected it and his client had departed from the mediation. He wanted what amounted to 7% more. Unfortunately, since he rejected my proposal and invited his client to leave, the door was partially closed to any further negotiation. When Defense counsel learned that the Plaintiff had rejected my proposal, she, too left abruptly--making the assumption that the case couldn't be settled on that day. By posturing in this way, both sides dug in their heals in ways that were unnecessary and not in the best interest of their clients. Just as the Plaintiff had abruptly quit his employment, this tactic of abruptly ending the negotiation was not fruitful for an efficient result. Many phone calls later, and for less money than the ultimate "final demand", the case settled one week later.

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.



Email Author
Website: www.schaumediation.com

Additional articles by Jan Frankel Schau

Comments