Putting a Price on Life: 9/11 Fund Administrator to Deliver Keynote Speech

September 13, 2005

What is a lost life worth? It is a difficult question for anyone to answer, but one that Kenneth R. Feinberg has had to calculate in dollars-and-cents terms since he was appointed Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund in 2001.

Feinberg, one of the nation's leading experts in mediation and alternative dispute resolution, will discuss his role governing the fund in a keynote speech titled “The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Private Pain and Public Compensation” to be presented at Northwestern University School of Law, 357 E. Chicago Ave.

The lecture is part of the School of Law's Pope & John Lecture Series on Professionalism and will take place Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 5:30 p.m. in Ruloff 140. This event is free and open to the public.

The controversial fund, which ended operations in June, is part of legislation passed by Congress to compensate for losses to individuals or relatives of deceased individuals who were killed or hurt as a result of the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001. Feinberg developed and promulgated the regulations governing the administration of the fund and administered all aspects of the program, including evaluating applications, determining appropriate compensation and disseminating awards.

In addition to serving this role, Feinberg is managing partner and founder of The Feinberg Group, LLP. He has been mediator and arbitrator in thousands of disputes involving issues such as mass torts, breach of contract, antitrust and civil RICO violations, civil fraud, product liability, insurance coverage, and various commercial and environmental matters. Feinberg was also one of three arbitrators selected to determine the fair market value of the original Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination and was one of two arbitrators selected to determine the allocation of legal fees in the Holocaust slave labor litigation.

He has been listed in “Profiles in Power: The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” (National Law Journal, April 4, 1994; June 12, 2000) and was named “Lawyer of the Year” by the National Law Journal in 2004. He holds a BA from the University of Massachusetts and a JD from New York University School of Law.

In 1991 the Chicago firm of Pope & John Ltd. established a lecture series at Northwestern Law. Each year the Pope & John Lecture on Professionalism focuses on the many dimensions of a lawyer's professional responsibility, including legal ethics, public service, professional civility, pro bono representation, and standards of conduct. The series is part of the Law School's Program on Advocacy and Professionalism, which is directed by Professor Steven Lubet.

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