If you have a general civil case you can ask for an Early Settlement Conference, where parties (and their lawyers) meet with a neutral who tries to help them reach an agreement to settle the case before trial.
Judicial Arbitration is like a trial, but it is less formal and there is no jury. Each side presents its case to a "neutral" arbitrator who is either a lawyer or a retired judge, and who does not take sides or give advice.
In complex cases, parties can use a Referee to help move the case along, such as helping the parties exchange papers or helping to settle some issues to shorten the trial. In Federal Court they are called Special Masters.
The purpose of the Mandatory Settlement Conference is to settle your case. A temporary judge will hear your Mandatory Settlement Conference. All temporary judges are experienced lawyers who volunteer to serve as Settlement Conference Judges.