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EARLY NEUTRAL EVALUATIO

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What is this?  It has a nifty acronym (ENE) but what’s all the fuss? The attention is because the federal court in St. Louis is now using ENE in selected cases and, just as important, ENE really works. Here is the quick take:  ENE provides for a neutral to give all parties an evaluation at the beginning of an ADR session.  The evaluation can be in writing or verbal and it can be delivered jointly or separately in caucus.  Thereafter, the parties can chart their own course in reacting to the evaluation.
Most mediators make some sort of evaluation of the case and share some, or all, of that evaluation during the later stages of the mediation.  But here’s why ENE is different—the evaluation is formalized; no tiptoeing around or phrasing the evaluation in soft, equivocating language for fear of offending someone.  The neutral is tasked by the court to give an early, honest evaluation presented without apology. For the parties, it can be extremely useful to hear a neutral evaluation, espe…