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Civility Or Benevolent Dictatorship?

by Jan Frankel Schau
December 2010

From Jan Schau's blog.

Jan Frankel Schau



Today is my son, Zach's birthday. He is a man of many facets: a musician, a sharp business mind, a bon vivant, athletic, handsome, sweet, creative, tough, ambitious, and all around great guy. And so he brings me to consider my own multi-faceted business practices. I have been struggling this week with the objectives of both litigators and mediators in settling challenging commercial cases. On Monday, I lectured at a lawfirm on "Civility" and was struck by the ease with which litigators could rationalize less civil conduct than the State Bar's Civility Guidelines dictate could be ignored in the context of litigation. Then this morning's New York Times included an essay called "The Bipartisanship Racket" by Frank Rich Rich talked about the shortcomings of a new movement of "No Labels" and contrasts it with the much needed "leadership" virtues. At a holiday party last week for the Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA) my own trainer, Therese White asked me whether I employed an "Evaluative" style in mediation. I had to think for a few minutes. And then, in another article in the New York Times this morning, there was a profile of Bruce Flatt, of Brookfield Asset Management, who is known for his excellent skills in negotiation and has been called a "Benevolent dictator". My synthesis of this is that the two strains: civility and "heavy metal" evaluative mediation can be effectively combined. With civility as the overarching framework (ie: true benevolence) a form of dictatorship, although anathema to true mediation, may be the only way that challenging litigated cases can be effectively resolved. If the parties or the lawyers knew how to settle their claims without a benevolent third party dictator, they wouldn't need a private mediation! Something to consider...

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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