Last weekend I attended a "celebration of life" for my husband's favorite Aunt.  Aunt Bonnie was a treasure.  I have known her for almost 40 years.  But what struck me was how many of the people in attendance knew her only for the last 5-10 years.  You see, Aunt Bonnie had the awesome capacity of continuing to grow, to expand, to learn and yes, to love well into her 80's--through illnesses, through the death of several of her closest family members, through moves, through legal troubles.  

People spoke of her as "giving, fun, engaged, interested".  They talked about how she loved a "hug"--even from a near stranger, and that soon, all within her orb saw her as a treasured friend, protector, even "best friend".  Though she endured plenty of hard knocks in her life, she resisted the pull of becoming sour, sad or bitter.  She remained funny, loving and open until the very end.

It occurs to me that bearing in mind the legacy factor, mediator's may gently suggest to litigants that they have choices as they close down a dispute:  they can choose to allow it to mark them as a victim, wronged or wrongly accused, or they can rise above and move on to appreciate the future potential of a life without that conflict ahead of them.  What do you hope your legacy will be?


Jan Frankel Schau. Problem Solver. Mediator. Author. Ally. Jan Frankel Schau, Esq. settles litigated cases arising out of employment, business and tort disputes and has mediated over 1,000 litigated cases throughout Southern California. Jan has been a Panel Neutral at ADR Services in Los Angeles since 2007 and is widely considered one of L.A.’s preeminent mediators. Jan is also a popular trainer, author and lecturer on topical issues related to Alternative Dispute Resolution, including her book, “View from the Middle of the Road: A Mediator’s Perspective on Life, Conflict and Human Interaction. Please visit: