Mediator is Star of New USA Network TV Series “Fairly Legal”

USA Network will be hosting TV Series called “Fairly Legal” which features a lawyer turned mediator as the lead role. In general, the mediator Kate (Sarah Shahi) is a natural at dispute resolution due to her “thorough legal knowledge, and wry sense of humor” but she fails miserably at resolving conflict in her own life. In the past month, there has been lots of buzz.

A New Jersey divorce lawyer and mediator sees the show as an opportunity for the greater public to be enlightened on the benefits of mediation as well as the sometimes misunderstood process of mediation.

Another site comments on the sexist nature of the show Fairly Legal (a play on the term “barely legal”) which focuses on the sex appeal of the attractive lead mediator instead of her law school credentials and skills as an experienced mediator.

In an email to mediation students, a law school professor takes issue with the judge’s characterization of the mediator that “she used to be a lawyer; now she’s a mediator” which translates as “real lawyers don’t mediate.” Despite the concern, the professor/mediator is willing to see how the series unfolds.

Whether or not the show is an accurate or positive depiction of mediation, it clearly demonstrates that mediation is attracting some attention. As the viewing public is exposed to mediation, perhaps mediation will slowly become the “go to” method for resolving disputes. Instead of thinking about court, parties may be more likely to bring their dispute to a mediator. “Fairly Legal” will premier on January 20, at 10 pm on USA.

by Mikita Weaver
More information is available on the USA website as well as the trailer
See William H. Donahue Jr. Esq, USA Network Greenlights TV Series On Mediation available at
See Jessica Wakeman, Fairly Legal” Makes Justice Look Totally Sexy (Dec 13, 2010) available at

Mikita is the Editor-in-Chief of ADR Times. She is also an attorney at Seastrom Seastrom & Tuttle focusing solely on Family Law . Before that, she worked predominantly in litigation and arbitration in the field of construction and business litigation insurance defense. She received her Juris Doctorate at Pepperdine and a Masters in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute. Mikita has been published in the Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal and worked at the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution in London. As an avid traveler, she continues to explore various dispute resolution issues and how they vary from region to region.