The judge may refer your case to a conference with a settlement mentor either on the morning of trial, or earlier in the case. These informal conferences usually last about two hours. Parties meet with an experienced trial attorney (called a settlement mentor) to review the issues, analyze the case, and consider settlement recommendations. The parties do not present evidence, and witnesses are not called. Although information may be shared with the settlement mentor and not shared with the other party, any information given to the settlement mentor may be shared with the judge. When appropriate, the settlement mentor may involve the judge in settlement discussions. You may ask the judge to refer your case to a settlement mentor conference.
- Selection of settlement mentors: Settlement mentors are selected by the ADR Programs office based on their stated areas of expertise, and in consultation with the assigned judge.
- Settlement mentor qualifications: Settlement mentors are highly experienced trial attorneys with a general background in the issues involved in the case.
- Settlement mentor conference fees: There are no fees for participating in the settlement mentor program.
- Attendance at the settlement mentor conference: Unless excused by the judge, all trial attorneys, principals, clients, claims representatives, or other decision–makers must attend the settlement mentor conference. Telephone standby is not allowed unless approved by the assigned judge before the conference begins.
- Confidentiality: Except as otherwise provided in these rules, court staff, the settlement mentor, all parties, all attorneys, and any other people attending the settlement conference must treat written and oral communications made in or during the settlement conference as confidential as provided in the California Evidence Code.