Following a triage of the case by appropriate court personnel, at the outset of the case, the court assigns a volunteer attorney trained in the mediation process to meet with the parties. This conference is intended to facilitate a discussion between counsel that sharpens the focus of the litigation by developing a litigation and ADR plan that may include the selection of a neutral by the parties, proportional (i.e., staged) discovery which allows parties to identify and meet various case milestones before conducting additional discovery, and establish mutually agreed upon case milestones. The process is designed to maximize the potential of an early resolution. The plan is reduced to writing and submitted to the court for its review, approval and entry.
The trained volunteer often simulates the role of a “Private Dispute Resolution Advisor.”
Indications for consideration:
Very early in the litigation; typically the first court-ordered event after the response has been filed. May be conducted in preparation for the first, or in lieu of, an initial Case Management/Scheduling Conference with the court. Litigation can be preliminarily “triaged” by the court and staff to determine if the matter is appropriate for an Early Intervention Conference or a Case Management/Scheduling Conference.