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My introduction to the issues that the Uniform Mediation Act seeks to resolve occurred about a dozen years ago when a senior partner at Hill & Barlow, the Boston law firm where I practiced for 17 years, came to me with a question. He wanted to know whether he could recommend mediation as a safe process for discussing some delicate tax issues that had arisen during the breakup of a business partnership. Evidently the partners had taken some aggressive positions on their partnership tax returns, and one of the big issues in the dissolution of the partnership was the allocation of the potential tax liability. "No one is going to feel safe discussing these issues with a third-party," the senior partner said, "unless we can be fairly confident about confidentiality."



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