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Vivien B. Shelanski, Esq.

Vivien B. Shelanski, Esq.

General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Class Action & Mass Tort
Employment Law
Intellectual Property
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Vivien B. Shelanski, Esq. has been a JAMS panelist since 1998 and serves as a mediator, arbitrator, and court-appointed neutral. In her decades long career in ADR, she has resolved hundreds of matters covering a wide spectrum of legal issues and complexities, including business/commercial, construction, employment, healthcare, intellectual property, real property, technology, and telecommunications matters.

She is highly respected for her breadth of knowledge, her ability to grasp sophisticated and highly technical aspects with ease, and her success in guiding deeply entrenched parties to resolution through a powerful combination of impeccable preparation, dogged determination, legal acumen, and compassion.

Ms. Shelanski’s academic achievements, paired with her background working in global policy, are particularly advantageous in matters involving complex scientific concepts. She holds a Ph.D. in the Philosophy of Science from the University of Chicago, has previously served as program director at the National Science Foundation (NSF), co-edited a book on the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, and aided in drafting health policy at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris.

Ms. Shelanski is a sought-after speaker, author, and educator on topics related to ADR. She served as co-editor of the CCA’s Guide to Best Practices in Commercial Arbitration (3rd. Ed.), is regularly listed by Who's Who Legal in the practice area of Mediation, and served as a lecturer for the Civil Rights Clinic at the New York University School of Law. Her speaking engagements include presentations at the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the Practising Law Institute, the College of Commercial Arbitrators, and the New York County Lawyers Association.

Representative Matters

  • Business Commercial
    • Breach of Contract

      • Arbitrated (chair of arbitral panel) a breach of contract dispute between a terminated supplier and a large financial services organization involving claims of premature termination and lost profits, and counterclaims for breach of contract
      • Arbitrated (chair of arbitral panel) a breach of contract claim between a major media/educational organization and an entertainment company to recover royalties allegedly due under the parties’ licensing agreement
      • Arbitrated (chair of arbitral panel) breach of contract and defamation claims in a dispute between a commodities trading hedge fund and an investment management company 
      • Arbitrated a breach of contract claim (under UNCITRAL Rules) involving a Master Service Agreement between a telecommunications company and a global data communications company 
      • Arbitrated breach of contract and fraudulent inducement claims by an investor in and consultant to pharmaceutical companies 
      • Arbitrated breach of employment contract and implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing claims arising from the sale and purchase of companies engaged in the promotion of concerts and music festivals
      • Arbitrated a breach of contract claim relating to a Master Service Agreement between a transportation company and a media company 
      • Arbitrated a breach of contract dispute between a beverage distributing company and a developer of specialty drinks 
      • Arbitrated breach of fiduciary duty and fraud claims by multinational investors against a fund manager who allegedly diverted funds to an individual 
      • Mediated numerous breach of contract matters involving: alleged diminishing commissions in connection with the acquisition of a company, the particulars of a factoring transaction, the purchase of a healthcare insurance platform, a dispute between a healthcare professional and a managed care network, a settlement agreement relating to chiropractic and physical therapy services, a joint venture agreement between a music and entertainment company and a major recording company, the acquisition of an international education and training organization, the failure to pay severance and stock options to a terminated senior executive of an offshore financial services company, the sale of land and the construction of an office facility for use by a municipality, and a contract dispute between an individual and an estate involving the loan principal and interest due under the terms of a settlement stipulation, among others

      General Business

      • Arbitrated a dispute involving the alleged failure of a client to pay the outstanding legal fees and expenses owed to the claimant 
      • Arbitrated a dispute between the claimant and a brokerage company for alleged commission and fee losses relating to the breach of the parties’ Commission and Fee Splitting Agreement
      • Sole arbitrator of numerous business and commercial disputes, including claims of breach of fiduciary duty, copyright infringement, the operation of international joint ventures, the valuation, operation, and dissolution of a family-owned business, breaches of representations and warranties, and more
      • Mediated several multi-million-dollar fraud disputes related to the unwinding of a long-term relationship between non-profit entities involving damages suffered in connection with an investigation by federal and state authorities into the receipt of program funds, and regarding the terms of the parties’ Separation Agreement
      • Mediated a dispute between the parties to a Convertible Loan Agreement governing an overseas housing project
      • Mediated a dispute regarding an investment banking company’s services relating to the contemplated sale of respondent’s business
      • Mediated a dispute regarding the terms of a distribution agreement governing the sale of high-end children’s clothing
      • Mediated a dispute regarding the terms of an administrative services agreement governing self-insured health benefits
      • Mediated claims of securities fraud brought by a pension fund investor against the issuer of an initial public offering
      • Mediated claims for lost profits by a participant in a communications joint venture
      • Mediated franchise disputes among automotive industry manufacturers and distributors involving business practice issues, chargebacks, warranties, and unpaid commissions

      Partnership/Corporate Disputes

      • Mediated disputes among the sibling owners of a family corporation regarding the control, management structure, valuation, and future operations
      • Mediated a dispute among the co-developers of a suite of medical offices over the control, construction, financing, and responsibility for projected cost overruns and losses
      • Mediated a partnership dissolution dispute over the valuation of real estate and the value of a retiring partner’s practice
      • Mediated multiple corporate governance disputes among cooperative corporations and shareholders, condominiums and owners, Boards of Directors/Managers, etc

      The Arts & Artists 

      • Mediated a multi-party dispute regarding the proceeds from the sale of a Renaissance masterwork looted by the Nazis from a European collector. The parties claiming a share of auction proceeds included the collector's descendants, a subsequent buyer, and the "finders" of the "lost" painting
      • Mediated a claim by the purchaser of a forged artwork against the artist's foundation; the purchaser claimed that the foundation provided a false provenance and false authentication of the work
  • Construction
    • As noted in the 2022 Edition of Who’s Who Legal, “[w]ith over 25 years acting as a mediator on commercial disputes,” Ms. Shelanski is “highlighted[,]” in particular,  for her “expertise in construction . . . matters.” Similarly, the 2020 Edition of Who’s Who Legal noted that she is “‘smart and very effective’ in her capacity as a commercial, construction and employment mediator for a series of high-profile clients.”

      Ms. Shelanski has handled numerous multi-party construction disputes, including claims of delay, design and work defects, cost overruns, breach of contract, and professional liability. She also serves on dispute review boards appointed to monitor and resolve large municipal construction projects.

      • Arbitrated and mediated a series of construction disputes among a condominium association, commercial tenant, and developer of adjacent properties regarding the remediation of water penetration and the reconstruction of a commercial unit; worked with the parties to facilitate plan review and ongoing construction, and to resolve disputes if and as they arose
      • Mediated breach of contract claims arising out of the construction and renovation of a major metropolitan airport 
      • Mediated a dispute between a condominium board of managers and a sponsor regarding the sponsor’s alleged failure to construct and rehabilitate the converted former factory pursuant to the terms of the offering plan, and regarding tax benefits available to unit owners 
      • Mediated a dispute between a general contractor and a non-profit sports organization regarding claims of unresolved change proposals and costs, and incomplete design 
      • Mediated breach of contract claims by an electrical contractor against the developer of a very large commercial project in New York City
      • Arbitrated claims of defective design, defective work, cost overruns, and malpractice arising from the reconstruction of the facade of a historic building, and the supervision and assessment of tests for water penetration and the efficacy of proposed cures
      • Mediated claims relating to: design defects and defective work relating to water penetration through residential structures, the faulty design, construction, and supervision of an apartment building’s multi-unit parking garage, property damage and delay resulting from a rigging accident that occurred during the dismantlement of a nuclear facility, extra work claims by a plumbing contractor against a county authority for the installation of a new water system, defective work and negligent supervision, malpractice claims against an architect for the alleged failure of the architect’s design to comply with city codes, and property damage claims arising from a pressure grouting operation in connection with an electric company’s installation of electrical vaults adjacent to a building’s foundation wall, among others
  • Employment Law
    • Served as an arbitrator or mediator in hundreds of employment disputes including individual and multi-party claims of discrimination, retaliation, and harassment, ADA, FMLA, FSLA/wage-hour and ERISA claims, and contract claims involving executive compensation, severance benefits, and non-compete and non-solicitation agreements. Ms. Shelanski also served as a court-appointed compliance monitor in connection with the settlement of a discrimination case involving a service provider to a state penitentiary.

      • Claims by employers of violations of non-compete, non-solicitation, and confidentiality clauses against former high-level employees and the companies that subsequently hired them
      • Executive compensation, bonus, pension, and benefit disputes arising from corporate mergers, acquisitions, and reductions in force
      • Hundreds of individual claims of discrimination based on race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and sexual harassment, under federal, state, and local laws, including ADA, FMLA, FSLA/wage-hour, and ERISA, involving employees in private and public companies, the professions, academia, government, and religious institutions
      • Multiple discrimination and retaliation claims litigated and mediated as a group against a corporation
      • Whistleblower claims involving prominent corporations
      • Wrongful termination and defamation claims by high-ranking employees of financial institutions
      • Federal and state law wage and hour claims 
      • Claims for unpaid commissions and wrongful termination by employees of an accounting services company
      • Mediated claims by a not-for-profit artist foundation alleging that a former employee appropriated works by the artist
      • Mediated multiple employment disputes between artists, their assistants, and other employees
      • Sole arbitrator of multiple employment matters, including breach of non-competition and confidentiality provisions, failure to pay severance and stock options, discriminatory treatment and wrongful termination based on age, gender, race, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, national origin, and disability, alleged violations of state and federal wage-and-hour statutes, whistleblower claims, and more
      • Multiple arbitration and mediation matters involving the alleged misappropriation of  trade secrets and breaches of non-compete provisions involving financial services companies, high-tech companies, and medical and other professions
    • Intellectual Property
      • Copyright, patent, trademark, and trade secret disputes in industries including financial services, entertainment, publishing, advertising, software, and design-related businesses including textiles, apparel, jewelry, and hardware 


        • Arbitrated and mediated copyright and trademark infringement claims involving designs of fine jewelry, specialty fabrics used in couture clothing, bridal apparel, and high-end decorative hardware. Issues addressed have included lost profit calculations, disposal of infringing products, and scope and cost of injunctive relief
        • Mediated a trademark dispute involving the international registration of a prestigious mark
        • Mediated a trademark dispute between new and former publishers of a successful self-help book


        • Mediated a movie tie-in licensing dispute among an entertainment company (licensor), agent, and licensee; issues addressed included royalty amounts, and claims of unauthorized products and promotions
        • Mediated a trademark dispute between singers with similar stage names
        • Mediated royalty disputes among  promoters, recording artists, and production companies
        • Mediated a claim of unauthorized commercial use of an individual's image in an episode of a reality television series
      • Real Property
        • Mortgage fraud claims against private lenders, government entities, and title companies, contract claims involving financing agreements for commercial and residential properties, and commercial leasing disputes

          • Mediated the breakup of a multi-million dollar family owned real estate business with more than fifty commercial properties in New York City; after resolving the distribution of the properties, arbitrated a host of disputes related to the business and family
          • Arbitrated breach of contract claims between an individual and the sponsor of a luxury condominium building regarding the square footage of a unit as represented in the condominium’s offering plan 
          • Arbitrated a breach of contract dispute stemming from COVID-19-related closures
          • Mediated disputes relating to: “consent-to-financing” provisions applicable to a mixed-use building, a commercial (supermarket) lease, the control, construction, and financing of physicians’ offices, the failure to comply with the commercial construction requirements of a proprietary lease, the deterioration of premises, constructive eviction, and breach of warranty of habitability involving a healthcare clinic, homeowner actions against private lenders and title companies alleging fraud and failure to disclose property defects and financing requirements, a partnership and contract dispute involving a major real estate development, a sublease renewal between a clothing manufacturer and a long-term subtenant, and a municipality against the owners, architects, attorneys, and others alleging fraud in the sale of land and the construction of municipal office facilities

      Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

      • Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS  
      • United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York’s ADR Advisory Council 
      • Listed in Who's Who Legal, in the practice area of Commercial Mediation, 2018-2020, 2022-2023
      • Listed in Who’s Who Legal, as a “Thought Leader - USA” in the practice area of Commercial Mediation
      • Listed in New York Metro Super Lawyers, in the practice area of ADR, 2013-2023
      • Co-Editor, The College of Commercial Arbitrators Guide to Best Practices in Commercial Arbitration (3rd. Ed.)
      • Elected Fellow, College of Commercial Arbitrators
      • Panel of Mediators, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
      • Elected Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
      • Lecturer at New York University School of Law

      Background and Education

      • Assistant Circuit Executive for Legal Affairs, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
      • Assistant Attorney General, New York State Department of Law, Real Estate Financing Bureau
      • Litigation Attorney, Cahill Gordon & Reindel, and Howard Darby & Levin
      • Law Clerk, Hon. Milton Pollack, United States District Judge, Southern District of New York
      • J.D., with honors, New York University School of Law
      • Ph.D., Philosophy of Science, University of Chicago
      • A.B., with honors, Bryn Mawr College


      This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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