U-Idaho Bellwood Memorial Lecture Features Chief Architect of 9/11 Victims’ Compensation

Friday, September 21 2012

MOSCOW/BOISE, Idaho---The University of Idaho College of Law’s Sherman J. Bellwood Memorial Lecture will feature keynote speaker Kenneth R. Feinberg, the nation’s leading authority on mediating disputes and administering compensation in mass injury cases.

Feinberg has served as the chief architect of legal compensation for the nation’s most daunting, contemporary tragedies, including 9/11, Agent Orange, the shootings at Virginia Tech and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He has been listed repeatedly in “Profiles in Power” as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America and was selected as the 2004 National Law Journal’s Lawyer of the Year.

Feinberg has written two intriguing books on the heart-rending and often thankless task of trying to do justice in mass injury cases. In “What is Life Worth: The Unprecedented Effort to Compensate the Victims of 9/11” (2005), he explains the intellectual and emotional aftermath of one of the nation’s most traumatic events. In “Who Gets What: Fair Compensation after Tragedy and Financial Upheaval” (2012), he draws upon many cases to analyze the uses and limits of financial compensation when lives have been lost, bodies have been maimed, livelihoods have been wrecked, and economies and ecosystems have been upended.  

During his visit to Idaho, Feinberg will speak on the topic, “Unconventional Responses to Unique Catastrophes: Tailoring the Law to Meet the Challenges.”  His remarks will be of interest to non-lawyers, as well as lawyers, law students and judges.

Feinberg will speak in Boise and Moscow. In Boise he will offer remarks as the honored guest at a reception hosted by the University of Idaho College of Law at 5:30 p.m., (MDT), Wednesday, Oct. 3, at the Boise Centre on the Grove, 850 W. Front St. The reception is free and open to the public; however, seating is limited and an advance reservation is required.  It may be made on-line at law-events@uidaho.edu.

Feinberg will deliver the Sherman J. Bellwood Memorial Lecture in Moscow on Thursday, Oct. 4 at the University of Idaho Administration Bldg. Auditorium.  Doors open at 3 p.m. and the lecture begins at 3:30 p.m. (PDT).  The lecture is free and open to the public. No reservations are required. The lecture also will be webcast on U-Idaho Live.

The Bellwood Lecture on Oct. 4 is expected to conclude at approximately 5 p.m., giving interested persons ample opportunity also to attend the U-Idaho Women’s Center 40th Anniversary Celebration event, featuring Gloria Steinem in the Kibbie Dome at 7:30 p.m. the same evening.

“Kenneth Feinberg is one of the nation’s most highly sought speakers on mass disaster cases,” said College of Law Dean Don Burnett.  “He is the go-to person when dispute resolution through litigation will not work effectively. His ideas are innovative and provocative, and his speaking style is compelling. We are fortunate to have this national figure as our guest in Idaho.”

Feinberg rose to national prominence when he served as Special Master of the Federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001, at the request of then-US Attorney General John Ashcroft. In his ensuing 33-months of pro bono service, Feinberg evaluated applications, determined appropriate compensation, and paid awards to victims of the 9/11 attacks.

The U-Idaho memorial lecture series is named in honor of Sherman J. Bellwood, an Idaho native and University of Idaho alumnus who graduated with honors in 1939 and earned a Doctorate of Law Degree from the University of Michigan in 1941. Following a distinguished legal career that included service as an Idaho District Court judge, Bellwood endowed the lecture series in the College of Law. It remains the largest endowed lectureship at the University of Idaho.

For more on Feinberg’s distinguished career and on the 2012 Bellwood lecture, visit www.uidaho.edu/law/newsandevents/signature/bellwood-lectures.  
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