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Expanding the Pie with Critical Non-Monetary Concessions

by Jan Frankel Schau
May 2014

Jan Frankel Schau's Mediation Blog

Jan Frankel Schau

I had the privilege of learning from Professor Peter Robinson of The Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution that a well-articulated apology can go a long distance towards resolving even the most contentious commercial dispute. Yet, it is such a difficult word to summon when being sued by another person, as it may suggest acceptance of blame, guilt and responsibility for some conduct which has legally been “denied”.

In employment mediation, particularly where there has been a longstanding relationship between employer and employee, I find that there are many very solid non-monetary options which can go a long distance towards resolving the dispute. Beginning with a candid explanation for why the termination occurred, beyond the terse and legalistic “not for cause” severance letter, an employee can begin to see the reason why no early explanation was offered. Often, the employee is desperately seeking alternative employment and payment of a fair severance plus a letter of reference or even assistance in finding another job can go a long way.

As a mediator, I try to find out the underlying interests of the parties before I begin to work through the financial negotiation. Though it may be hard to orchestrate, a genuine apology for the conduct that got the parties to the litigation may unlock the doors towards an end to it. How often do you hear an apology and is it a sign of “backing down” or just human decency?

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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