A settlement conference is a formal meeting between the opposing sides of a lawsuit. During the settlement conference, the parties attempt to reach a mutually agreeable resolution for their underlying dispute. The point of such mediation actions is to avoid the legal costs associated with furthering their case through a trial hearing.
A settlement conference may be initiated by either party of the dispute, but is usually convened by a settlement officer. That being said, a settlement conference may be ordered by the court as a preliminary step to holding a legal trial. In most instances, the plaintiff and defendant (the two sides to the dispute) are represented by their respective counsels or attorneys. Although a settlement conference is viewed as a precursor to a trial, it can act as the primary vehicle for resolution.