The bare-knuckle fight between NFL owners and players arrives this week before a judge with a reputation for urging compromise.
U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson, sitting in federal court in St. Paul, will hear arguments Wednesday on the players' request for an injunction lifting the NFL lockout.
Nelson rose to her position after a decade as a magistrate judge, where the emphasis was on mediating disputes to help seven Minnesota district judges handle a yearly workload of 5,000 civil cases.
"To be a good settlement judge, a magistrate judge has to gain the respect and rapport of both sides," Nelson told the Senate Judiciary Committee during confirmation hearings in May. "By nature, settlement's difficult. It's a compromise, and it's difficult not to win."