Skip to main content
Download VCard
Vivien B. Shelanski, Esq.

Vivien B. Shelanski, Esq.

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator, Referee/Special Master, Neutral Evaluator

General Biography
Practice Areas
Class Action/Mass Tort
Intellectual Property
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education
Vivien B. Shelanski, Esq. has more than 25 years of dispute resolution experience as a mediator, arbitrator, special master, and neutral evaluator. Since joining JAMS in 1998, she has resolved hundreds of matters covering a wide spectrum of legal issues and complexities, including business/commercial, employment, construction, healthcare, intellectual property, real property, trusts and estates, technology, and telecommunications cases.

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 PhD in the Philosophy of Science from the University of Chicago, has previously served as program director at the National Science Foundation, 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 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 NYU School of Law. Recent speaking engagements include presentations at the New York State Bar Association, the Practising Law Institute, and the New York County Lawyers Association.

Representative Matters

  • Art & Artists
      • Arbitrated dispute between an artist and a gallery about the gallery's commission for negotiating the sale and installation of the artist's sculpture
      • Mediated a multi-party dispute about proceeds from the sale of a Renaissance masterwork that had been 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
      • Mediated claims by a not-for-profit artist foundation that a former employee appropriated works by the artist
      • Mediated multiple employment disputes between artists and their assistants and other employees
  • Business/Commercial
    • Numerous breach of contract and other business disputes in a variety of industries, including telecommunication, technology, software, education, hospitality, music, insurance, fashion, construction, energy, real estate, manufacturing and financial services

      General Business
      • Breach of contract action between a terminated supplier and a large financial services organization involving claims of premature termination and lost profits, and counterclaims for breach of contract (chair of three-person arbitration panel)
      • Breach of contract claim by acquirer of international education and training organization alleging false representations and warranties
      • Claim for lost profits by participant in telecommunications joint venture
      • Claim of contract breach for failure to pay severance and stock options to terminated senior executive of offshore financial services company
      • Claims for unpaid commissions and wrongful termination by employees of accounting services company
      • Claims of copyright and trademark infringement by designers and manufacturers of specialty apparel, jewelry, and hardware
      • Claims of fraud in sale of land and construction of office facility for use by municipality
      • Claims of securities fraud brought by pension fund investor against issuer of initial public offering
      • Franchise disputes among automotive industry manufacturers and distributors involving business practice issues, chargebacks, warranties, and unpaid commissions
      • Sole arbitrator of numerous business and commercial disputes, including claims of: breach of fiduciary duty, copyright infringement, international joint venture disputes, valuation, operation, and dissolution of family-owned business, breaches of representations and warranties, and more
      Partnership/Corporate Disputes
      • Disputes among sibling owners of family corporation about control, management structure, valuation, and future operations
      • Dispute among co-developers of suite of medical offices over control, construction, financing, and responsibility for projected cost overruns and losses
      • Multiple corporate governance disputes among cooperative corporations and shareholders, condominiums and owners, Boards of Directors/Managers, etc.
      • Partnership dissolution dispute over valuation of real estate and value of retiring partner’s practice
      Trusts and Estates
      • Disputes between trust beneficiaries, including family members and foreign institutions; disputes among family members about the operation and/or dissolution of family-owned businesses
  • Construction
    • Multi-party disputes, including claims of delay, design and work defects, cost overruns, breach of contract, and professional liability

      • Breach of contract claims by an electrical contractor against the developer of a very large commercial project in New York City (Mediation)
      • Claims of defective design, defective work, cost overruns, and malpractice arising from reconstruction of the facade of a historic building; supervision and assessment of tests for water penetration and efficacy of proposed cures (Arbitration)
      • Claims of design defect and defective work relating to water penetration through residential structures (Mediations)
      • Claims of faulty design, construction, and supervision of apartment building’s multi-unit parking garage; assessment of competing expert opinions about cause of problems and appropriate remedies (Mediation)
      • Claims of property damage and delay resulting from a rigging accident during the dismantlement of a nuclear facility (Mediation)
      • Extra work claims by a plumbing contractor against a county authority for the installation of a new water system, with allegations against the contractor and structural engineer for defective work and negligent supervision (Mediation)
      • High-stakes dispute (in excess of $67 million) between a power authority and construction company involving claims of delay and cost overruns in construction of nuclear power plant (Arbitration)
      • Malpractice claims against architect for design failing to comply with city codes leading to closure of a high-profile restaurant; damage claims included reconstruction costs and lost profits (Mediation)
      • Project neutral for a series of construction disputes among a condominium association, commercial tenant, and developer of adjacent properties pertaining to remediation of water penetration and reconstruction of a commercial unit; work with parties to facilitate plan review and ongoing construction, and resolve disputes as they arise (Arbitration)
      • Property damage claims arising from pressure grouting operation in connection with electric company’s installation of electrical vaults adjacent to building’s foundation wall (Mediation)
  • Employment
    • Hundreds of employment disputes with Fortune 500 Companies ranging from Individual and multi-party claims of discrimination (gender, age, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, and disability), retaliation, and harassment; ADA, FMLA, FSLA/wage-hour and ERISA claims; contract claims involving executive compensation, severance benefits, non-compete and non-solicitation agreements

      • 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 benefits 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
      • 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 preference, national origin, and disability, alleged violations of state and federal wage-and-hour statutes, whistleblower claims, and more
    • 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

        • Copyright and trademark infringement claims involving designs of fine jewelry, specialty fabrics used in couture clothing, bridal apparel, and high-end decorative hardware. Issues have included lost profit calculations, disposal of infringing products, and scope and cost of injunctive relief
        • Trademark dispute involving international registration of prestigious mark
        • Trademark dispute between new and former publishers of successful self-help book
        • Movie tie-in licensing dispute among entertainment company (licensor), agent and licensee; issues included royalties amount, claims of unauthorized products and promotions
        • Trademark dispute between singers with similar stage names
        • Royalties disputes among promoters, recording artists, and production companies
        • Claim of unauthorized commercial use of individual's image in episode of reality TV series
        • Dispute re alleged defects in software developed to run manufacturing facility distribution system
        • Competing claims by developers of social network site for rights to software and other intellectual property
        • Contract dispute between software developer and high-end fashion company concerning specifications and performance of e-commerce site
        Trade Secrets
        • Multiple matters involving alleged misappropriation of  trade secrets and breaches of non-compete provisions in financial services, high-tech companies, medical and other professions
      • Real Property
        • Mortgage fraud claims against private lenders, government entities, and title companies; contract claims involving financing agreements for commercial and residential properties; commercial leasing disputes
          • Valuation of family-owned business involving more than 50 owned and leased commercial properties in New York City
          • “Consent-to-financing” provision dispute between commercial and residential joint owners of mixed-use building
          • Commercial lease dispute between shopping center and supermarket tenant
          • Dispute among developers of physicians’ offices over control, construction, and financing of project and entitlement to projected profits and responsibility for losses
          • Disputes among shareholders of commercial cooperative regarding failure to comply with construction requirements of proprietary lease
          • Healthcare clinic claim of deterioration of premises, constructive eviction, and breach of warranty of habitability by landlord; damages sought included costs of build-out and relocation, rent differential, and lost profits
          • Homeowner actions against private lenders and title companies alleging fraud and failure to disclose property defects and financing requirements
          • Partnership and contract dispute in major real estate development
          • Sublease renewal dispute between clothing manufacturer and long-term subtenant
          • Suit by municipality against owners, architects, attorneys, and others alleging fraud in sale of land and construction of municipal office facilities
      • Technology
          • Disputes between software, hardware, and website specialists and the companies retaining their services

          Additional representative arbitrations are available here.

      Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

      • Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS
      • Listed in Who's Who Legal, in the practice area of Mediation, 2018
      • 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

      Search our global directory of mediators, arbitrators and ADR professionals.

      Scroll to top