At the very least, you need to confer with an attorney regarding whether your counterclaims are worth anything. Also, you will need to prepare a defense to the claim if it is set for a trial, and generally comply with requirements of the pre-trial order.
You question is a bit unclear. In small claims, a pre-trial conference is set prior to trial. The presiding judge will order both parties to mediation to see if the case can be resolved. If not, the case is set for trial. If either party fails to appear, the other side who shows up can move for a dismissal.
A pre-trial Order, either in County or Circuit Civil, is an order issued by the judge that contains certain deadlines that need to be met before trial, such as the filing of witness and exhibit lists, discovery deadlines, deadlines for filing motions, and for completing mediation. The county or circuit civil court will also have a calendar call or a pre-trial conference. The pre-trial order will have the date of the calendar call/pre-trial conference. If either party fails to appear for the calendar call/pre-trial conference (some judges call it a calendar call others call it a pre-trial conferece--some even call it a docket sounding) their case may be dismissed.
I hope this helps. If you hired a lawyer he/she should be able to explain all of this to you. If you are on your own, I wish you good luck!
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A pre-trial order sets general requirements that the court has in all cases. You will need to comply with any requirements it sets out. But, with the complex background you present, you should consult with counsel to evaluate your position and deveelop an effective strategy for going forward.
This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is advisable to consult with an attorney with full disclosure of relevant facts for a comprehensive leagl opinion.