Home » News » Kenneth Feinberg met with students, presented Nichols Distinguished Lecture

Kenneth Feinberg met with students, presented Nichols Distinguished Lecture


Kenneth Feinberg, an attorney who has mediated some of the nation’s most challenging and widely known disputes, met with honors students, visited a class, and presented the Nichols Distinguished Lecture to more than 100 students on March 29 at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport.

Kenneth Feinberg speaks at Stetson Law during his presentation of the Nichols Distinguished Lecture.

Kenneth Feinberg speaks at Stetson University College of Law during his presentation of the Nichols Distinguished Lecture.

Feinberg presented “Unconventional Responses to Unique Catastrophes: Tailoring the Law to Meet the Challenges.”

Professor Michael Allen introduced Feinberg by saying, “Lawyers are problem-solvers. We help people resolve issues … Our speaker today may be the king of problem-solvers.”

An expert in mediation and alternative dispute resolution who has been appointed to two presidential-level commissions, Feinberg is perhaps best known for his roles with the Federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001, the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster Victim Compensation Fund, and the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund following the tragic Virginia Tech shootings.

“Every once in a while, a tragedy captivates the public,” Feinberg explained. He said that a tragedy or meltdown that galvanizes the public and officials to think outside the box requires an unconventional response. Feinberg has worked to help victims of the 911 terrorism attack, the 2008 financial meltdown, the Gulf oil spill environmental catastrophe, Virginia Tech shootings and Agent Orange claims.

He cautioned that while compensation programs are largely a success and the right thing to do under the circumstances, it is important to be cognizant of the problems that arise when small segments of the population receive special treatment.

Kenneth Feinberg, left, offers career advice to Stetson Law second-year student Frank Y. Leung.

Kenneth Feinberg, left, offers career advice to Stetson Law second-year student Frank Y. Leung. "For me, it was exciting and refreshing to meet someone who has done so much and yet who is also so approachable," said Leung about Feinberg.

“Bad things happen to good people every day in this country,” Feinberg explained, “and there are not programs put in place to compensate everyone.”

Feinberg stressed that lawyers serving the public interest do vital work. “I think we are all here at Stetson engaged in the most noble of professions,” he said.

“If you want to mediate, arbitrate, problem-solve, get as much experience as you can,” Feinberg told the law students in the audience. “Get involved with CLEs, clinics, pro-bono and get exposure.”

The Nichols Foundation Prominent Speakers Series was established at Stetson in 1995. The series’ namesake is Perry Nichols, who was among the nation’s most successful trial lawyers and past president of both the American Trial Lawyers Association and the International Trial Lawyers Association.

» View More Photos on Flickr