Since graduating from law school over forty years ago, I have held various government positions, been a litigation partner at Weil and served as the firm’s General Counsel, and have had leadership positions in a number of civic and philanthropic organizations. Through these activities I have been exposed to a large number of industries – coal, nuclear, pharmaceutical, banking, financial, real estate, bio-tech, entertainment, alcoholic beverage and insurance – and have been involved in cases of all types.
Throughout my career, I also have been involved in numerous complex negotiations, often participating in the development of agreements which were thought impossible to reach. During my time in Government, while serving as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, the most prominent example involved working as part of the group that crafted the Iran-U.S. Hostage Release Agreement. The economic components of the negotiations, the area in which I was involved, are described in a chapter I co-authored with then-Deputy Secretary Robert Carswell, “Crafting the Economic Settlement” in a book published by Yale University Press, American Hostages in Iran.
During my subsequent years in private practice, I have participated in many other difficult negotiations. As counsel to the Central Bank of Argentina during the 1980’s, I was one of the principals in negotiations with a Bank Steering Committee, which led to a series of complex financing plans involving tens of billions of dollars in debt restructurings and billions of dollars in new loans. Wearing my hat as a litigator, where settlement was the proper course, I also guided clients to numerous complex settlements. Notable examples include conceptualizing, and then working with Judge Milton Pollack as de defacto Special Master, to help negotiate the $1.3 billion Milken Global Settlement, which settled scores of class actions in one settlement; working with my bankruptcy partners at Weil to resolve the numerous disputes surrounding Olympia & York’s reorganization plan; serving as one of the lead negotiators for Sotheby’s in settling cases arising from allegations of Sotheby’s – Christie’s price fixing; as Weil’s General Counsel, resolving the kinds of disputes large multi-national law firms traditionally have had to address; and many more.
In the past several years I have also been called upon to mediate cases, including serving various times as a Special Master appointed by the Court for these purposes. These cases have ranged from large complex securities class actions pending in both Federal and State Courts, to long-pending civil rights cases against governments, to a classic dispute between business partners.
As a mediator, I believe in the need to be flexible in approach depending on the nature of the dispute, who the parties are and the history of prior negotiations. In mediating settlements my goal is to provide the parties with a realistic assessment of their litigation positions; to help structure a settlement process which best promotes a resolution of the dispute; to help the parties understand that litigation most often should be seen as a problem to be solved rather than a war to be won; to provide a means of communications for proposals that parties might hesitate to make directly; to offer ideas as to how to address problems seemingly standing in the way of settlement; and to provide necessary energy to the settlement process, particularly at times when roadblocks to resolution appear.
In addition to serving as a mediator, parties have also selected me to serve as an arbitrator. I have served as an arbitrator in a variety of circumstances: as a member of a panel of three neutrals; as a party-nominated arbitrator in ICC arbitrations; and as a party-nominated arbitrator in an AAA arbitration. The subjects of these arbitrations have involved the finance, banking, insurance, the aviation equipment supply industries, and accounting malpractice. I am also a member of the CPR (International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution) Panel of Distinguished Neutrals.