The Mediation Times


Nomen Est Omen

by Amanda on April 6, 2009

Nomen Est Omen (the name is a signifier) a term for people who live their names. I have collected Nomen Omen for many years and I recently discovered a piece on The Times Online which amused me greatly. It was prompted by the story of Mr Madoff. I am sure we have all said to ourselves, “who on earth would trust millions to someone with a name like that?” What is even more interesting is that you might have expected that he would pronounce his name Mad – off but no, it is Made – off. Extraordinary!

It reminded me of the astonishing number of times I have mediated disputes between parties with names that have had uncanny echoes of the matter of the dispute or of their alleged behaviour. Of course for reasons of confidentiality, it is difficult to give you examples but one none mediation nomen omen was a VAT inspector I had many years ago called Mrs Grass!

Have you had parties or clients with nomen omen? Do you think their names had an affect on the way you responded to them? Were you aware of that potential “bias”? How did you deal with that?


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