Contact: Nance L. Schick
The Law Studio of Nance L. Schick
Direct: 212.804.7041, Main: 212.804.7039
New York, NY, 01/22/15 – Attorney Nance L. Schick knows conflict. As a litigator for nearly 13 years, she has watched parties struggle to resolve more than their legal actions. Knowing that mediation and coaching could make huge differences in the parties’ cases and in their lives, she was sad to see how infrequently alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) was used. “In some litigation circles, attorneys consider ADR an acronym for ‘already declining revenue’,” she says. “They seem to think that if we teach too many people how to resolve conflict they won’t need the courts anymore. I’m willing to take that chance.”
Eight years after she first presented her proprietary Third Ear Conflict Resolution ProgramTM, Schick has published a book that uses the program to coach and empower readers to do it themselves (“DIY”). Through her storytelling as lawyer, victim and coach, DIYers will discover how to make simple choices in their approach to conflict so that not every issue has to become “a federal case”—or a court case at all.
Not so secretly, Schick knows that there will always be conflicts we cannot avoid. She speaks about this in the ‘Introduction to Third Ear Conflict Resolution’ video on YouTube, and she was reminded of this fact last January while walking home from a professional development course. Despite being in a crowded, well-lighted area, she was approached by a man who grabbed her by the wrist when she dismissed him and began to walk in another direction to avoid him further. She kicked, twisted, elbowed, and thrashed until he picked her up and threw her to the sidewalk, where she hit the back of her head. He then knelt on her left leg and tried to restrain her as she continued to struggle from the ground. For 17 minutes, she tried to get the man off of her and escape—while no one helped. One young man, however, used his foam finger from the Rangers Hockey game to steady his cell phone while he filmed (but never shared) the scene.
Eventually Schick’s assailant overpowered her, took her phone and fled toward the train to New Jersey. Minutes later, she saw him on the ground in an arrest position. He lay on his stomach with his hands behind his back. Her phone was between his shoulder blades and was still connected to the call she made to tell her boyfriend she was safely on her way home.
When she got to the police station, she saw that her attacker was not a man but a 14-year-old boy. She was more confused than angry. Forgiveness came within 24 hours, as she wondered what a boy his age was doing across the river, in another state, by himself, on a Sunday night, after 10 PM. Her conflict with him was relatively easy to define (Action One). Using her proprietary Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, she speculated that she and he merely disagreed about who had rights to her phone and her wallet, if not also her dignity and well-being.
Trying to understand what had happened and why, she identified her interests in this conflict (Action Two). When she put herself in this situation, she thought it would be like the many other nights she had walked home late by herself from the same center. She was expecting to enjoy a chat with her boyfriend, get home safely and have his voice be the last thing she heard before she went to sleep. She really wanted an uneventful night and to deepen their partnership. She could still have that and was actually getting it in an unforeseen way. She was having difficulty speaking to him after the attack, but she knew she could lessen the difficulty if she took advantage of the free counseling at the Crime Victims Treatment Center. There was nothing actually stopping her from having what she wanted, as long as she was unwilling to let the attack be the thing that ruined her life, and she was committed that it would not be.
Schick then tried to identify the likely interests of her young attacker (Action Two, cont.). When he decided to approach her, he probably thought it would be a simple robbery. He was probably expecting to take her belongings and escape by subway. She suspects that he wanted a “quick hit” and quick cash that would make him look like a big shot. He could still have that—just not in the way that he thought. He would need to work hard, follow the law and meet several goals. He could be a bigger person than he ever imagined possible, if he took responsibility for his actions—then and in the future. There was also little to nothing to stop him from having what he wanted, too, and Schick began to take a stand for him to have it.
This is just one of the case studies Schick uses to make the Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master come alive for her readers. Using placeholder names from several countries and intentionally varying the genders of her characters, she protects the privacy of some key clients while sharing the tools and plans they used to create new futures for themselves.
“It’s not that I want to eliminate the courts,” Schick says. “The courts have a purpose in certain cases. Some people are unwilling to compromise and need an authority to decide for them how to best handle a dispute. Yet the majority of us are very capable, with the right tools and leadership, of designing solutions everyone involved can live with. We want to be included in the resolution process and develop new skills that increase our effectiveness in all areas of our lives. We’re just not always sure where to begin.” Perhaps the beginning will soon be on your e-reader.