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Lessons on Mediation from Benjamin Franklin

by Jan Frankel Schau
February 2009

From Jan Schau's blog.

Jan Frankel Schau

Newsweek published a series of articles on Leadership and I particularly enjoyed Walter Isaacson's, "Benjamin Franklin and the Art of Humility" where he said, "But most important in those tumultuous years, Franklin was sage enough to bring passionate people together, to lead them by listening to them, and to unify them by displaying the humility, or at least the pretense of humility, that is so lacking during eras of hyperpartisanship but remains the essence of liberty and democracy."

I feel as though that is what I do daily in mediating litigated cases: I bring passionate people together, lead them by listening, unify them by displaying humility (in my case rarely a pretense as I always have far less knowledge of the dispute than they do!) and essentially allow them the liberty to resolve the dispute in whichever way is feasible in the service of living and working together in the same community going forward. The outcome is not limited by what the court or jury would do. It is not even limited to the ultimate "truth" or "justice", but merely, in this age of hyperpartisanship, is a free choice among the parties to settle their conflict in whichever way they choose. Brilliant? I think not. Sage? Well, if Benjamin Franklin thought so....

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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