Interview Christina Wenz, Mediation, Kaiserlautern, Germany

Lawyer Career: Success in the legal profession is no coincidence. Is it always just the result of hard work? Or is it also about doing the right thing at the right time? What is the secret of successful lawyers? What should one pay attention to from the very beginning? Do you really seize every opportunity? And is the decision for a career really a decision against a fulfilled private life? In our series "Success in the legal profession is no coincidence" we present top lawyers and their very personal recipe for success:

Christina Wenz

Christina Wenz is a mediator, conflict coach and lawyer. After many years in the notary's office and in leading positions at universities, she now works in her own mediation office.

She helps her clients to free themselves from difficult conflict situations and thus to regain more well-being and a more relaxed life. In addition to mediation in the family and mediation in the working world, her special hobby is mediation in disputes concerning animals.

After the state examination at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, she successfully completed her Master of German and Foreign Law at the Glasgow University Law School and Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz.
She worked for several years in a notary's office before she was appointed Director of Finance of the Faculty of Law and Economics at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz as well as Head of the Legal Department and Data Protection Officer at the German University of Administrative Sciences in Speyer. Since 2013 she has been running her law firm in Kaiserslautern, which specializes in mediation.

Ms. Wenz, how did it come about that you, as a seasoned lawyer, finally found your way to mediation?

I am a mediator with all my heart, because in this way I can support my clients in freeing themselves from a stressful life situation by their own efforts. I support my clients in finding peaceful solutions where they can look each other in the eye again afterwards. With the help of mediation it is very easy to find solutions that all people involved in the conflict can live with.

Already during my school days I liked to mediate when others were arguing. After studying law, I quickly realised that the pure application of law does not always lead to satisfactory results, as it often creates losers. In the course of my work in teams, I often made the experience that conflict situations often burden the employees involved for years and impair and paralyze the work of entire departments. I also encountered many conflicts during my many years of work in the notary's office: in discussions on inheritance disputes, wills and divorce settlements, I often saw that conflicts can make whole families unhappy and also destroy them. I often experienced how much the clients were also physically affected by the difficult situation. At that time I was frustrated that I often could not really help the disputants out of their conflict. I was able to draft a contract that regulated the legal situation, but on the interpersonal level this usually had little effect. So my desire to bring about solutions in these situations without creating losers arose and I began training as a mediator. I soon realized that I had found my heart's desire. So it came about that in 2013 I opened my own mediation office in Kaiserslautern.

What fascinates you so much about mediation?

What particularly fascinates me about mediation is that my clients are given the freedom to design the solution to their conflict themselves. They are not "forced" to make a decision (e.g. by a judge), but develop a solution together with me that is optimally suited to them and their individual situation. This is a very creative work, which leaves a lot of room for individual ideas! Mediation sees the disputants as experts of their own conflict - I like that a lot!

Yesterday was the "Day of Mediation". On this occasion you interviewed the "Mediation" itself - a great idea. Can you briefly summarize the three highlights of the interview?

With mediation, very individual solutions are possible that take into account not only legal aspects, but also economic arguments and the very personal needs of the parties involved.
It can be particularly helpful where one has to deal with the other person for a long time (for example with a neighbour or if former spouses who are parents), so that the relationship between the disputants is maintained or even improved.
Mediation gives you freedom: to shape your life, your solution in such a way that it fits you and your individual situation perfectly and thus finds a way that perhaps no one has thought of before.
But mediation is not only freedom. It is also an art. An art that one should master in order to use it?

Yes. Unfortunately, the term "mediator" has not yet been legally protected. Although the Mediation Act, which came into force in 2012, has introduced the term "certified mediator", I am not particularly happy with the solution. I would like to see higher standards of training and experience for mediators. It would also be welcome if a conversation with a mediator before certain court proceedings were mandatory and if some form of legal aid for mediators could be implemented.

Can I give a final tip to all disputants?

My tip is very short and is: Listen! Listen carefully and ask why the other party's claim is so important to them. Then many things will often become clear!

Thank you very much.

Ms Wenz lives and works in Kaiserslautern. She is also very interested in all topics concerning conflicts and communication in general, even beyond her professional activities.

Her personal motto in life is:
I try to enjoy every day and I am looking forward to a job that inspires and delights me!

(Originally published on 12.10.2016 on the former CLP blog JurCoach.)



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