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<xTITLE>Solution Focused Conflict Management</xTITLE>

Solution Focused Conflict Management

by Jan Frankel Schau
March 2011

From Jan Schau's blog.

Jan Frankel Schau

I'm reading such an interesting book, "Solution-Focused Conflict Management" by Fredrike Bannink. It occurs to me that there is an interesting dichotomy between the legal system, which is "problem focused" and the conflict resolution business which aims to be "solution-focused". Clients bring their problems to lawyers and they help them to address them by going back and seeking damages from those who have injured them. When they come to the mediator, we can either assist in that endeavor, or meet them where they are and assist in "getting out of the conflict" by changing their future--without any promise or hope of changing their past.

Likewise, a client hires a lawyer to take action on their behalf in ways that they have been unable to do on their own. In solution based conflict resolution, the mediator gives the client back the responsibility and competence to make a decision which will affect change of their future. Bannink references a study which states that "a mediator can only mediate in the future tense." What an interesting challenge to mediate without regard to "how you got here" or "what is the problem?" to "how can you make small steps that will help you achieve your future goals?" It makes me see the world of hope and possibilities differently already.


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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