In Honolulu, the Judge usually asks you and your landlord to meet with a mediator, provided by the Court, at your Pre-Trial. In other courts, the Court may or may not provide mediation. If they do provide mediation, usually you will meet with the mediator on the same day as your answer date (instead of pre-trial).
The mediator’s job is to help you and the landlord settle the lawsuit. The mediator should listen to your side of the story as well as the landlord’s.
To prepare for this meeting, think about the kind of settlement that you would be willing to accept from the landlord. It might be a good idea to write this down in a note to yourself. In the middle of a meeting it is easy to get sidetracked or swayed by what others are saying. Do not accept a settlement that is not fair to you or that you cannot follow.
You do NOT have to reach an agreement at the mediation. You have the right to go to trial and have you story heard by the Judge.