Our daughter became engaged to be married last night. Although the groom to be has been a steady boyfriend for over two years and we were all pretty certain he was "the one", the symbolic commitment that accompanied the diamond ring on her finger was/is HUGE! It occurred to me that when I mediate cases to a settlement, the signing ritual, the handshake, the acceptance of the "proposal" is more than a mere gesture. It also symbolizes a commitment to conform with the legal constraints that go beyond the casual promise or mutual assumptions. Until our daughter's boyfriend put a ring on her finger last night, his words of commitment could have been interpreted as temporal, happy for the moment, maybe even non-committal. Now, his intent is clear, he's invested in the process, and would have a much harder time reneging on his promise to marry next year than he would without the ring, ritual and public announcement. Next time you're tempted to leave a mediation based upon a handshake, think again. The symbols of commitment to a future agreement can mean a great deal in love and law!
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.