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How the Law Responds to Unique Catastrophes: Personal Reflections When it Comes to Tragic Choices

April 1, 2014

A person is wearing glasses.

A person is wearing glasses.Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Langdell Hall North 225,
Vorenberg Classroom,
Harvard Law School


Abstract: Mr. Feinberg offered personal reflections on how he became the expert in unique catastrophes and the principled ways in which he has learned to respond. He tackled the difficult issue of achieving a sense of justice in the aftermath of tragedy through the administration of victims’ funds.

Biography:Kenneth R. 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. Mr. Feinberg shared his extraordinary experience in his book What Is Life Worth?, published in 2005 by Public Affairs Press. Just a few years later, Mr. Feinberg became Fund Administrator for the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund following the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech. In 2013, he was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to oversee the One Fund Boston, which distributed payments to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.  Mr. Feinberg also has served as Special Master in Agent Orange, asbestos personal injury, wrongful death claims, Dalkon shield, and DES (pregnancy medication) cases. Mr. Feinberg founded Feinberg Rozen, LLP in 1992. He has been involved in resolving thousands of disputes involving a wide range of interests and clients. In the commercial sector, Mr. Feinberg designed, implemented and administered an ADR settlement Program involving Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, Zurich N.A. Insurance Company and Hurricane Katrina and other Gulf hurricane claimants. He also has served as Distribution Agent for AIG Fair Fund claimants, and has been the Fund Administrator for a variety of claimant funds totaling more than $1 billion. 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 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, the University of Virginia, and Harvard Law School. 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. He received his J.D from New York University School of Law in 1970, where he served on the Law Review.  He held a clerkship with Chief Judge Stanley H. Fuld, New York State Court of Appeals (1970-1972).

Co-sponsored by the Program on Science, Technology and Society and the Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School.


April 1, 2014
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