(Defining the Issues That Need to Be Resolved Together)

It Was a $90 million dispute; big stakes, with a lot of publicity. The parties had been negotiating the dispute off and on for almost eighteen months without success. Jim was asked to try mediation with the parties because it had finally reached the litigation stage. In his first meeting with the parties Jim asked each side to educate him about the dispute. He needed to know the details of the dispute. What problem were they trying to resolve?

The first spokesperson started by giving a little history. She spoke for about forty-five minutes, explaining in great detail the substance of the problem. At the end of the lengthy explanation the second spokesperson ...

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