Kenneth R. Feinberg ’67, ’02H is one of the most prominent and dedicated attorneys of our time, and has been key to resolving many of our nation's most challenging and widely known disputes. Feinberg's work in victim compensation began in the 1970s with the Agent Orange and Love Canal settlements. An international expert in complex mediation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution, he is well known as the special master for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. He has also worked on the Virginia Tech’s Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, the BP Gulf Coast Claims Facility and most recently, the One Fund Boston.
After earning a degree in history from UMass Amherst in 1967, Feinberg attended the New York University School of Law. He went on to serve as a clerk to Chief Judge Stanley H. Fuld, as a federal prosecutor and as Chief of Staff for Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
Feinberg founded his Washington, DC-based law firm, Feinberg Rozen, LLP, in 1992. In the commercial sector, he 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 has also served as Distribution Agent for AIG Fair Fund claimants and has been the fund administrator for a variety of claimant funds totaling more than one billion dollars. In his capacity as an arbitrator, Feinberg helped determine the fair market value of the original Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination and legal fees in Holocaust slave labor litigation.
In 2004, Feinberg was named "Lawyer of the Year" and has been named repeatedly as one of "The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America" by the National Law Journal. He was appointed to two presidential-level commissions and has written a book sharing his experience and expertise entitled, What Is Life Worth? UMass Amherst awarded Feinberg an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2002 for his varied contributions to victim’s compensation.
Recently, Feinberg donated his professional and personal archives to the UMass Amherst Libraries’ Special Collections & University Archives to preserve the record of his groundbreaking mediation work on many high-profile cases, including the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund and, most recently, the One Fund Boston. The Feinberg Papers contain correspondence, memos, drafts, reports, research files and memorabilia. In addition to his archives, Feinberg has donated his opera music collection, more than 9,000 items, to the new Music & Media Collection in the Du Bois Library—doubling the library's classical music collection open to students for browsing and borrowing.
Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy and the UMass Amherst Libraries honored Ken Feinberg on September 11, 2013 for his gifts to the Libraries and his leadership as co-chair of UMass Rising, the campaign for the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Alumni and friends gathered at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston for a special recognition. In addition, Feinberg delivered the keynote address at the UMass Amherst Salute to Service event in Boston on November 20, 2013.