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What is Early Neutral Evaluation?

Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) refers to a process in which an impartial attorney, selected by the parties and with subject matter expertise, provides a non-binding evaluation of the case and is available to assist the parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement.

Each party prepares and shares a pre-ENE statement with the evaluator and their opposing party which gives each party the opportunity to understand the factual and legal basis for their opponent’s position.

In the ENE joint session, each party makes a detailed presentation focusing on the disputed issues and points of law, which allows their opponent to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their opponent’s position. The evaluator asks questions about discovery, possible dispositive motions and jury trial, and potential legal fees and costs.

Immediately following the joint session, the evaluator meets with each party to discuss the evaluator’s assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the case, the party’s likelihood of success on the merits and risk of loss, and potential damages and attorney’s fees.

Following the evaluator’s evaluation, the parties have the option to mediate the case either with the evaluator or with a different neutral. If the parties do not agree to mediate, the evaluator may assist the parties in a discovery plan to streamline the litigation process.

Why Choose Early Neutral Evaluation?

Early neutral evaluation offers parties the opportunity in a confidential setting to learn how an independent and experienced attorney views the case and perceives the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s position. After hearing the evaluator’s perspective, parties may be more open to settlement of a case before engaging in costly discovery and litigation.

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