Early Neutral Evaluation
This Process provides for a confidential, non-binding evaluation conference under the direction of an experienced attorney who has significant expertise in the subject matter of the case. Held in the early stages of litigation, the goal is to make the case discovery and development process more organized, less time consuming, and less expensive. Lawyers on both sides attend with their clients and each side makesa a brief presentation of their case. The evaluator assists the parties in identifying areas of agreement and attempts to narrow the legal and factual issues. The evaluator can also provide the parties and counsels an opportunity to engage in settlement discussions should they desire to do so. If unsuccessful, the evaluator helps the parties to develop a plan and a schedule to position the case for future settlement discussions or for such further action as may be necessary.
The role of the evaluator in this process is to assist the parties and counsels in taking an objective look at the strengths and weaknesses of their own case, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents case. The goal is to provide parties with a “reality check” based upon the opinions of a neutral, who must be an attorney with at least 10 years experience and sufficient practical experience in the subject matter involved in the dispute. The evaluator may also assist the parties in the examination of the issue(s) in dispute and possible settlement. Should the parties be unsuccessful in reaching a settlement through these negotiations, the evaluator will provide a frank assessment of the issues and what he/she considers possible/probable outcomes. No one is bound by anything said or done unless a settlement is reached.