It is Springtime and thankfully due to record rainfalls, Southern California’s hillsides are abloom with flowers. We have just celebrated the Jewish holiday of Passover, when we gather together to recite the ancient story of the Jewish people leaving the chains of slavery in Egypt towards liberation and the promised land. We celebrate the new beginnings of Spring, with fresh greens and roasted eggs, yet we Jews always add a taste of bitterness, lest we forget that we were once slaves in the land of Egypt. In mediation, I sometimes find that the hardest challenge is helping the “victim” to cease focusing on their past and begin to envision their future differently. It is true that litigation focuses upon a past act–and then carefully ascribes all of the “damages” proximately caused by that act. It is as though that single moment caused not only damages to that day–but carefully calculated damages into the future.
Mediation is different. In mediation, the focus is upon ending the suffering on the very day of the mediation hearing and replacing that with the promise of a future that does not include that particular conflict, does not include a lifetime of suffering and does not lay blame for past acts in any public way. Both sides agree that something occurred in the past and that the best way to achieve a better future is to end the dispute about it. Like my beautiful little granddaughter in this photo, the hope is that in choosing to resolve the conflict, the parties can focus on all that the Springtime has to offer and get to the other side of the hill they have been climbing.
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.