If your matter has progressed through the court system, and you’ve been unable to resolve it through mediation or early neutral evaluation or any direct negotiation, discovery is concluded, you’re on the brink of trial. There’s a need to have a final hearing before the court.
It’s called a pretrial conference, and a pretrial conference affords the litigants one last opportunity to A, present some underlying factual information to the court, so the court can better understand what’s really in dispute. Then B, spend the time at the courthouse negotiating.
Quite often judges will offer some insight into what they think a reasonable outcome might be. Other judges have a little bit more of a poker face and aren’t willing to offer that insight, but we find that when judges do get involved and help with the negotiations, matters do still resolve.
If your matter does not resolve at the pretrial conference, the next stage in the process may either be a referral for something called a moderated settlement conference. That’s one last-ditch effort to try to resolve the case short of trial.
Ultimately, if there is no hope for settlement or if it doesn’t work out at the moderated settlement conference, the court will set the matter for trial.