The goals of Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) are to:
- enhance direct communication between the parties about their claims and supporting evidence,
- provide an assessment of the merits of the case by a neutral expert,
- provide a “reality check” for clients and lawyers,
- identify and clarify the central issues in dispute,
- assist with discovery or with an informal exchange of key information, and
- facilitate settlement discussions, when requested by the parties.
ENE aims to position the case for early resolution by settlement or trial. It may serve as a cost-effective substitute for formal discovery and pretrial motions. Although settlement is not the major goal of ENE, the process can lead to settlement.