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Mediate.com

Resist the Temptation to Negotiate too Soon

by Jan Frankel Schau
February 2013

View From the Middle of the Road by Jan Frankel Schau

Jan Frankel Schau

Participants in mediation usually know how it ends: there is a negotiation and one party agrees to pay money to the other. So why not get right to it?

I am struck by a lot of dialogue that has gone on in the mediator's blogosphere since the fatal shooting of a party to a mediation and his lawyer by an aggrieved party during a mediation in Phoenix. The most telling comment I saw was offering some humility to mediators. Though the disputants may know one another well, we have usually less than a full day to get to know two parties, their attorneys, the facts and legal claims. In truth, we have no real idea of who these disputants are, have been or may become.

What we do know is that even the most mundane of commercial disputes are rarely solely about the money involved. There is pride, there is ego, there is a lack of respect or communication or both. There is deep hurt, shame and sometimes status at stake. Taking time to listen, attempt to comprehend and then communicate in ways that have not been understood or respected prior to that day takes time. If you skip a step and rush to numbers, you will undoubtedly sacrifice some of the true benefit offered by this alternative dispute resolution process. A jury or judge can decide who is right and who is wrong and what the value of the case should be. A mediator offers a chance to do more than that--if you listen for the cues.

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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