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Some day, Richard A. Posner, the judge who has been trying for more than a month to mediate a settlement of the government’s mammoth monopoly case against Microsoft Corp., might want to compare notes with James A. Smith Jr.

A daylong mediation with Mr. Smith, of Seattle’s Smith & Leary P.L.L.C., produced a settlement in a $1.6 billion private lawsuit against Microsoft Corp. By then, the company apparently had strong incentives to settle rather than proceed with a Feb. 1 trial before a Salt Lake City federal jury: Results in three mock trials in Utah did not bode well for the defense on liability, according to sources familiar with the case.

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