Mediation occurs when the parties to a case meet with a mutually selected neutral third party – the mediator – who assists them with negotiating a settlement of their case.  A mediator may be an attorney, a retired judge, or even a member of the clergy.  The mediator cannot force the parties to settle, but typically acts as a guide through the legal and emotional issues, encouraging the parties to reach a ‘win-win’ compromise.  Depending on the setting, the parties’ attorneys may or may not participate in the mediation.