The court encourages dispute resolution without litigation. Chapter 4 of the Local Rules governs court-annexed mediation.
Most case management and scheduling orders include a requirement that the parties attend a mediation conference with a specified court-certified mediator by a specified deadline. In selecting the mediator, the court usually will defer to the parties' suggestion.
In limited circumstances, a judge may order the parties to attend a settlement conference before a magistrate judge, whether at a party's request, a request by all parties, or on the judge's own initiative. A settlement conference before a magistrate judge proceeds in much the same way as a mediation before a private mediator.