In the Northern District of California, most civil cases are assigned at filing to the “ADR Multi-Option Program,” which generally requires the parties to participate in one non-binding ADR process offered by the Court within 90 days of entry of an order referring the case to a specific ADR process.  The available ADR options are (1) early neutral evaluation, (2) mediation, (3) settlement conference with a magistrate judge, or (4) some other court-approved private ADR process.

The ADR Rules and corresponding provisions in Civil Local Rule 16 were revised for cases filed after May 1, 2018.  The most significant revision is that ADR phone conferences are no longer required.  Instead, the parties (including both counsel and client) must file a new ADR Certification form in which they must certify that they (1) intend to file a Stipulation and Proposed Order Selecting an ADR Process or (2) need to discuss ADR at the case management conference.  ADR phone conferences, however, may still be requested or ordered by the judge on a case-by-case basis.  In addition, the parties must include in their joint case management statement a report on the status of ADR, including a statement as to which ADR option they have selected and a proposed deadline by which they will conduct the ADR session or, if they cannot agree, which option and timing each party prefers.  Unless the judge has already approved a stipulated ADR process, the judge will then discuss ADR options with the parties at the initial case management conference.

The new ADR forms are available here.

The ADR Local Rules and conforming changes to Civil Local Rule 16, effective in cases filed after May 1, 2018, are available here.