Vivian Berger Mediator

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Vivian Berger is the Nash Professor of Law Emerita at Columbia University School of Law. She devotes the bulk of her professional time to ADR — mainly, mediation and mainly in the employment area, handling discrimination, contract and wages and hours claims. She has presided over hundreds of mediations, has been designated An Advanced Practitioner in Employment Mediation by the Association for Conflict Resolution, and has been elected to membership in The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. She has taken numerous advanced trainings relevant to employment mediation, as well as basic mediation trainings at Harvard Law School and CDR Associates; coached mediators in training; and spoken on mediation-related topics.

Vivian is on the AAA Employment Mediation Panel and on the mediator panel of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York; she formerly served on the mediator panels of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York and the New Jersey State court system. In the employment area, she has also mediated for the EEOC (both federal agency and non-federal agency cases), the United States Postal Service (the "REDRESS" program), and the NYS Division of Human Rights. She mediates privately as well, and has served as a special master in a sexual harassment case in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Outside the employment area, Vivian has mediated cases in a number of contexts, including PINS and child custody, citizen-police, and disciplinary proceedings against lawyers.

In addition, Vivian serves on the employment arbitration panel of the AAA, and she was formerly a  FINRA arbitrator.

Vivian has served as a member of the NYS Unified Court System ADR Advisory Committee and is a past or present member of  the ADR and Labor and Employment Committees of the Association of the Bar of the City of NY; the Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee of the NY County Lawyers' Association; the Executive Committee of the Labor and Employment Section of the NYSBA; and the Dispute Resolution Section of the NYSBA.

Vivian is also widely published in her fields of expertise: e.g.,"What Happens After Mediation ‘Fails’?,” 45 NYSBA Labor & Emp. L.J. 1 (June 2021); “Winners and Losers: Employment Discrimination Trials in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York: 2016 Update,” 42 NYSBA Labor & Emp. L.J. 39 (Spring 2017); "They're Human, Too: The Care and Feeding of Defendants in Employment Mediations," 39 NYSBA Labor & Emp. L.J. 5 (Winter 2014); "Punitive Damages in Employment Discrimination Cases: Myth or Reality?,” 37 NYSBA L.J. 6 (Fall/Winter 2012); “`It Ain't Over Till It's Over': Fashioning Durable Settlements,” 27 Alternatives to the High Cost of Litig. 49 (Mar. 2009); “Respect in Mediation: A Counter to Disrespect in the Workplace,” 63 Disp. Resol. J. 18 (Nov. 2008-Jan. 2009), republished in AAA Handbook on Mediation (2d ed. 2010);  “Summary Judgment Benchmarks For Settling Employment Discrimination Lawsuits” (with Michael O. Finkelstein and Kenneth Cheung), 23 Hofstra Lab. & Emp. L.J. 45 (2005); and “Employment Mediation in the Twenty-First Century: Challenges in a Changing Environment,” 5 U. Pa. J. Lab. & Emp. L. 487 (2003).

Vivian has done criminal and civil litigation in state and federal courts. She earned her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in May, 1973, graduating first in her class. She also graduated from Radcliffe College (Harvard University), again first in her class, with a B.A. in June 1966.