There is some logic to wearing a mask when you are about to commit a crime: you don't want to reveal your true face. We all wear masks from one time to the next. I appear different when I'm at the gym than at the office and even differently when I'm arbitrating a case than doing case follow ups by phone. As a mediator or a litigator, it's important to remember that every individual is unique and may defy your expectations of their characteristics. For example, a very young woman with a soft voice may be very powerful in the context of her family-owned business, or an elderly, frail looking man may be one of those "Super Agers" who has unbelievably accurate recall of facts and events that may exceed his lawyer and paralegals put together! A banker may be less facile with numbers than with literature and a school teacher may be defiant about learning lessons. Mediation works best when we indulge every participant in a genuine interview designed to understand what lies beneath the mask that they may have donned for the hearing. Once we determine the critical driving factors, very often the dispute can be resolved with less pain and shame than the masked hold up that it sometimes appears to be.
May this New Year, for those who observe Rosh Hashanah, bring a renewed commitment to treat every individual as unique and valuable, without pre-judgment. L'Shana Tova.
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.