The Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA) will present its highest award, the Cloke‑Millen Peacemaker of the Year Award, to Kenneth R. Feinberg at its annual conference on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at Pepperdine University. Mr. Feinberg will also be the keynote speaker at the conference, speaking on “Unconventional Responses to Unique Catastrophes: Tailoring the Resolution to Meet the Challenge.”
As “America’s go-to guy in calculating life’s worth” and “America’s King Solomon” (Newsweek Magazine, June 25, 2012), Kenneth Feinberg has been key to resolving many of our nation’s most challenging and widely known disputes. He is best known for serving as the Special Master of the Federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001, in which he reached out to all who qualified to file a claim, evaluated applications, determined appropriate compensation, and disseminated awards. He was then named Fund Administrator for the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund following the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech, designated Administrator of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility following the Gulf Coast oil spill, retained to resolve insurance claims arising out of Hurricane Katrina and other Gulf region hurricanes, and designated Distribution Agent for AIG Fair Fund claimants. In his capacity as an arbitrator, Mr. Feinberg helped determine the fair market value of the original Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination, and legal fees in Holocaust slave labor litigation. Mr. Feinberg has done all his government and university work pro bono.
Mr. Feinberg also has served as Special Master in Agent Orange, asbestos, personal injury, wrongful death, Dalkon shield, and DES (pregnancy medication) cases. He has been involved in resolving thousands of disputes involving a wide range of interests and clients. Mr. Feinberg has been appointed to two presidential‑level commissions because of his experience and expertise, and has had a distinguished teaching career as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, New York University, and the University of Virginia. In 2004, he was named “Lawyer of the Year” by the National Law Journal (2004), and has been named repeatedly as one of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” by the National Law Journal.
The “master of disaster” (Washington Post, January 14, 2010) has written two books: What is Life Worth? The Unprecedented Effort to Compensate the Victims of 9/11 (Public Affairs, 2005); and just recently Who Gets What: Fair Compensation after Tragedy and Financial Upheaval (Public Affairs, June 26, 2012). Of this book the New York Times, August 4, 2012, said: “Mr. Feinberg is compassionate, tough, legally creative, highly persuasive and politically shrewd. He has an endless appetite for work, an admirable taste for public service and a zest for butting heads in high‑stakes negotiations. He understands that he takes the heat for the public officials who call him in. He expects no one to be happy with how he slices the pie, at least not at first, and no one to be in a reasonable mood.”
Mr. Feinberg received his B.A., cum laude, at the University of Massachusetts in 1967 and his J.D. at New York University School of Law, where he was Articles Editor of the Law Review, in 1970. He clerked for Chief Judge Stanley H. Fuld, of the New York State Court of Appeals from 1970 to 1972. He has been Chairman of the Board of the RAND Institute of Civil Justice, Vice‑Chairman of the Board of Human Rights First, a Board member of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, and President of the Washington National Opera. In 1992 he founded Feinberg Rozen, LLP, a law firm for mediation, arbitration, other forms of alternative dispute resolution, and negotiation strategy. www.feinbergrozen.com