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Kenneth Feinberg '67, BP Oil Spill and Sept. 11 Fund Administrator, Donates Historic Materials to UMass Amherst Libraries

November 7, 2011
News and Media Relations
Kenneth Feinberg '67, BP Oil Spill and Sept. 11 Fund Administrator, Donates Historic Materials to UMass Amherst Libraries

Kenneth Feinberg ‘67, an esteemed attorney known for achieving comprehensive settlements in high-profile liability cases and for victims of large-scale human and natural disasters, today announced the donation of his papers and related materials to the University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

The Feinberg Collection covers four decades of professional and public service, including his current oversight of compensation to victims of the BP oil spill and tenure as special master for the Sept. 11 Victims Compensation Fund. Feinberg is a UMass Amherst alumnus, earning an undergraduate degree in history in 1967.

“The Feinberg Collection documents the career of a UMass alumnus of incredible influence and importance,” said Jay Schafer, director of the UMass Libraries. “Ken’s work intersects with major issues of social change in the U.S. over the past 40 years and our understanding of the value of human life. Few other people in public life have a portfolio of such breadth. Scholars, academics, students and the public at large will benefit immensely by having access to this resource.”

Feinberg was joined at the news conference by Schafer, UMass Amherst Provost James Staros and Professor and History Chair Joye Bowman.

The Feinberg collection comprises an estimated 2,000 boxes of materials. It provides nearly comprehensive documentation of a distinguished career in public service, with important materials relating to each of the major cases in which Feinberg has been involved. In addition, the collection contains personal correspondence with historical figures including presidents, attorneys general, and members of the United States Congress.

A native of Brockton, Feinberg has built an international reputation as a specialist in complex mediation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution. Born Oct. 23, 1945, Feinberg acquired a solid academic foundation at UMass studying history under Professors Mario De Pillis and Milton Cantor and received his legal training at the New York University School of Law.

After clerking at the New York State Court of Appeals, Feinberg worked as assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and then as an administrative assistant and later chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Over the past decade, Feinberg has been a constant presence in public affairs, serving as special master for executive compensation under the Troubled Assert Relief Fund (TARP) and as administrator of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility overseeing compensation relating to the BP oil spill disaster. Feinberg is perhaps best known for serving pro bono for 32 months as special master for the September 11 Victims Compensation Fund, distributing nearly $7 billion to the victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks. He shared his Sept. 11 experience in his book “What Is Life Worth?” A few years later, he became fund administrator for the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund following the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech. Feinberg also has served as special master in Agent Orange, asbestos personal injury, wrongful death claims, Dalkon shield and DES (pregnancy medication) cases.

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, Feinberg designed, implemented and administered a 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, Feinberg helped determine the fair market value of the original Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination, and legal fees in Holocaust slave labor litigation.

Feinberg 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. He has received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from several institutions, including one from UMass in 2002.