The EDNY program began as either mandatory early neutral evaluation (“ENE”), without cost to the parties, or voluntary mediation, at a charge to the parties. Under these conditions, most parties ended up in ENE. While ENE is designed to utilize a neutral who may predict case outcomes and evaluate cases for the purpose of encouraging parties to assess strengths and weaknesses and consider settling the cases, the EDNY ENE program became a hybrid of ENE and the less evaluative ADR process of mediation. While a mediator also encourages parties to assess their best and worst alternatives to a negotiated settlement, including likely costs, risks and outcomes if they proceed through motions, trials, appeals and collection efforts, the mediator generally avoids expressing his or her own evaluation of the case, leaving it to the parties to draw their own conclusions. The mediator’s chief role is to facilitate communications between the parties, to help them understand one another’s perspectives, explore their underlying interests, and generate options and creative solutions for resolving the parties’ dispute.