Vivien Shelanski

Vivien B. Shelanski, Esq.

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

Case Manager
Catrina Barnes
T: 212-607-2785
F: 212-751-4099
620 Eighth Avenue, 34th Floor, New York, NY 10018

Vivien B. Shelanski is available to conduct cases virtually. JAMS is equipped to provide virtual ADR services on a variety of online platforms, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, and more.


Since joining JAMS in 1998, Vivien B. Shelanski has mediated and arbitrated construction claims presenting complex allocation issues for a wide range of projects (commercial, residential, public works, historic buildings); parties (developers, public and private owners, government agencies, architects, contractors, engineers); and issues, including defective work and design issues, delay claims, claims for extra work, and breach of contract. She is known as a quick study for her ability to grasp technical and quantitative issues and enjoys the challenge that these matters present.

Representative Matters

  • 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)

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

  • “Consent-to-financing” provision dispute between commercial and residential joint owners of mixed-use building
  • Claims that defective design and work caused water penetration through facade of historic 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
  • Dispute 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 with damages sought including 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
  • Valuation of family-owned business involving 50+ owned and leased commercial properties in New York City
  • 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
  • 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

Counsel Comments

    • "Thank you again for your able assistance yesterday. You are even-handed, which gives you credibility with both sides. That and your skill, experience and perseverance saved both sides from what would have been several more years of labor-intensive litigation."
    • "Just a quick note to thank you for the incredible work you did for us and our clients... The case which for so long has plagued all involved settled largely because of your doggedness, determination, acumen and compassion."
    • "... you had been highly recommeneded to me as a mediator and now I know why. The matter was an extremely difficult one to resolve, and your impressive mediation skills played a large part in its resolution."
    • "[Ms. Shelanski] provided exemplary mediation services in a complex and difficult matter ... On several occasions it appeared that the case was not likely to be settled. Nevertheless, and despite considerable obstacles, Ms. Shelanski persevered and brought the parties to a resolution... No matter how rancorous the mediation became between the parties, Ms. Shelanski remained the consummate professional."
    • "This letter is to thank you on behalf of [institution] for the skill, patience, perserverance, and good judgment you provided in helping settle the dispute with [the opposing parties]. As you know, the time of your service spanned a four month time period. There is no doubt in my mind that your skills as a mediator kept the parties moving forward toward a resolution which would not have been possible but for the highly professional and effective service and provided."
    • "Thank you for your incredible efforts in bringing the parties to an amicable resolution of the... matter. You showed admirable patience and persistence in allowing the parties to bridge the considerable gap that had existed until we met with you... your record of resolving matters that had been thought to be intractable remains unblemished..."
    • "This is just a quick note to thank you for your efforts in the mediation of the [name] matter ... As usual, you were spectacular. I do not see how we could have resolved the matter without you."
    • "No one -- and I mean no one -- is a better mediator (or arbitrator) than Vivien Shelanski. Vivien combines a razor-sharp intellectual intelligence with a keen and thoughtful emotional intelligence that allows her to reach people who really don't want to be reached. In one matter we worked on together over the course of several years, I am totally -- 100% -- convinced that there is not another mediator (or person) on Earth who could have persuaded the parties to resolve the situation at all, much less under an intense time deadline that existed. There are many excellent mediators at JAMS and elsewhere, but very few possess the x-factor that Vivien has that makes her so very effective. She is not an easy person to say no to because she presents things in such a thoughtful way, always taking account of all of the circumstances. I recommend Vivien all the time, and always try to use her on my matters. She is, quite simply, the best."




Available nationwide


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