I had the privilege of watching a screening of "The Soloist" at Sony Pictures in celebration of one of the co-Producers' birthday this weekend. (We've been friends of Russ Krasnoff's for over a decade.) The movie captures the story of a Los Angeles Times' reporter, Steve Lopez, friendship with a schizophrenic, homeless, but nevertheless brilliant musician, Nathaniel Ayers. At the end of the movie, the producers urge their viewers to get involved with homeless causes, public housing and the mentally ill. It's a call I've heard before personally, but had not really put together with mediation until this week.
I'm also reading Bernard Mayer's new book: "Staying with Conflict", which urges conflict professionals to think of their role as going beyond conflict resolution. After all, not all conflict can be resolved. Instead, he invites us to consider facilitating the dialogue that is central to competing values, including limited resources, to manage conflict without a view towards solving it, but living with it in our communities, and internationally. This was/is a bit revolutionary to me, as my practice revolves around litigated cases: all of the conflict which I presume to resolve will come to an end in court if I'm unable to resolve it before then.
Finally, I was inducted into the International Academy of Mediators last week. One of my fellow inductees (not an American) spoke eloquently of taking our stance among other international leaders in committing to engage in the dialogue on the global climate crisis.
More and more, I see our profession as a social science not unlike psychologists, historians, and yes, even filmmakers with a message. I congratulate Russ Krasnoff for having the courage to make this excellent film and deliver this crucial message. I will report on the Mayer book once I've completed it. In the meanwhile, I welcome your comments on the role that mediators can or must play in moving beyond living as "Soloist" towards a better, more sustainable and ultimately more fulfilling duet or even orchestra.
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.