Mediation is voluntary in that participants reach their own agreements regarding the dispute and the disposition of the lawsuit. Participants also may reject a proposal and, with the concurrence of the mediator, bring the mediation process to a close.

In addition, participation in mediation is, in most cases, voluntary. Local Rule 16.3 requires counsel to meet early in the litigation process to discuss, among other things, whether mediation might be appropriate in the case. They must report their views on mediation to the Court shortly after their meeting. The Court may encourage parties to engage in mediation in suitable cases. The Court also has the authority, under Mediation Local Rule 84.4, to
require participation after giving the parties an opportunity to be heard on whether mediation would be appropriate. In practice, however, the Court generally defers to the parties in deciding whether to refer a case to the Mediation Program.