A settlement conference is a court appearance where the attorneys and the judge meet regarding the status of the case. The judge sometimes will ask the attorneys to go "in chambers" to discuss matters. Other times the entire settlement conference will be held in open court. These are usually short and somewhat informal (that being said, you should still arrive to court for your settlement conference in professional attire). The judges will usually ask the attorneys what the main issues are in the case and what the timeline is. Some judges will use settlement conferences to implement a "pretrial order" which is basically an order giving specific deadlines for completing things such as discovery and the turning over of certain documents to the other party. The judge will try to determine whether the case would be helped by, for example, sending the parties to mediation or appointing a guardian ad litem. In some settlement conferences, the judge will set the trial date or the date for future hearings or conferences in the case. In St. Louis City and St. Louis County, parties are typically required to attend settlement conferences.
If you have an attorney, your attorney is the person who will need to "prepare" for the settlement conference.
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