Mediation is a settlement conference which takes place before a case goes to trial. The defendant and plaintiff, along with their attorneys, meet with a mediator—who is often a retired judge or lawyer practicing in the community. Both sides present their cases to the mediator for consideration. All information contained in a mediation conference is confidential and may not be used at trial. If the mediation is successful, the plaintiff and defendant will have reached an agreement concerning damages; if not, the case will proceed to trial.