(a) At the request of court or counsel, the court may conduct a pre-trial conference. Such conference may be held three weeks prior to trial or at any other time convenient to the court and counsel.
(b) At the pre-trial conference, the court may consider the following subjects:
(1) Prospects of settlement.
(2) Use of depositions at trial in lieu of live testimony.
(3) Time required for trial.
(4) Alternate methods of dispute resolution.
(5) Readiness of case for trial.
(6) Any other matters.
(c) The pre-trial conference must be attended by designated trial counsel who are knowledgeable and prepared for such conference. Should the designated trial counsel fail to appear at the pre-trial conference or to comply with this rule, an ex parte hearing may be held and judgment of dismissal or default or other appropriate judgment entered or other sanctions imposed.