In any action, the court may in its discretion, or upon motion of any party, direct the attorneys for the parties and any unrepresented parties to participate in a pretrial conference or conferences in person or by telephone, mail, or other suitable means, for such purposes as.
(1) expediting the disposition of the action;
(2) establishing early and continuing control so that the case will not be protracted because of lack of management;
(3) discouraging wasteful pretrial activities;
(4) encouraging more thorough trial preparation;
(5) facilitating the settlement of the case; and
(6) minimizing the time that jurors are not directly involved in the trial or deliberations. [Amended by order filed January 31, 2003, effective July 1, 2003.]