Parties in Dispute: Their Wants vs. Interests and Needs

In a mediation, after learning the basic facts and issues in dispute, the mediator will work to identify each party’s interests and needs; this is different than a party’s “wants.” If a party has not already focused on her interests and needs, the mediator will help her do so. In this way, the mediator can help each party craft proposals that address her interests and needs and those of her adversary. The beginning of the road to settlement.

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Divergent Perspectives Converge in Mediation

The parties have been at it for a while, without coming to an agreement. When is the mediation “over”? In any mediation, the parties and the mediator may view the give and take differently. From the parties’ standpoint, they may think it’s over as soon as they receive the first demand or offer from the other side. If that demand or offer is significantly higher or lower than they expected, they may immediately feel that they are too far away for the mediation to be successful.

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