Marc E. Isserles, Esq. is a skilled commercial mediator with over 20 years of litigation experience handling complex business disputes.
Mr. Isserles regularly mediates insurance coverage disputes, as well as commercial disputes involving insurance coverage issues. As a result, he has a keen understanding of how insurance issues impact the negotiation and settlement dynamics, and is well-versed in the substantive issues that frequently arise in insurance cases.
A former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and a founding partner of a top New York City litigation boutique, Mr. Isserles brings to his mediation practice the skills of both a nuanced legal thinker and seasoned litigator. Mr. Isserles is known for his judicious temperament, thorough preparation, and ability to quickly grasp both sides of a complicated issue while keeping an open mind.
Representative Insurance Mediations and Arbitrations
- Mediated insurance dispute between insurer and insureds over insurer’s obligation to make payments under policy prior to insured’s resolution of contractual indemnification claim
- Mediated class action brought by life insurance policy holders over allegedly improper cost of insurance charges
- Arbitrated dispute between bankruptcy trustee and insurance carriers over effect on insurance coverage of bankruptcy plan provision limiting recovery against former officer and directors
- Arbitrated dispute between malpractice carrier and insured over duty to defend and informed consent policy exclusion
- Co-mediated multimillion dollar malpractice action against law firm in connection with coverage advice given to insurance carrier in property damage litigation arising out of a major construction accident
- Co-mediated multi-party insurance coverage dispute arising out of $1 billion proposed class action settlement of tort claims
- Co-mediated insurance coverage dispute between primary and excess carriers over allocation of settlement
- Co-mediated coverage dispute arising out of settlement of products liability claims brought against major manufacturer following a fire
Insurance Area Expertise and Qualifications
- CGL, D&O, E&O, umbrella, and excess policy issues
- Additional insured coverage issues and “other insurance” clauses
- Causation and “arising out of” issues
- Aggregate limits
- Choice of law
- Claims made issues
- Duty to defend vs. duty to indemnify
- Bad faith allegations
- Allocation of Indemnity and defense costs among multiple insurers
- Reinsurance allocation issues
- Interpretation and scope of insuring clauses
- Interpretation and scope of key policy exclusions
- Number of occurrences
- Trigger of coverage
- Primary level exhaustion and relationship with umbrella/excess levels
- Reservation of rights and/or disclaimer of coverage; conflicts between insured and insurer
- Deductible and SIR issues
- Advertising injury and IP claims
- Issues arising out of multiple insurance towers
- Presenter, “Effective Mediation Advocacy: Skills and Strategies for Litigators,” Annual Presentation, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, 2018-2022
- Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS
- Lecturer in Law, Columbia Law School, Negotiation Workshop, 2018-2019
- Neutral on various court panels, including the mediation program for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and the Supreme Court, Commercial Division for New York County
- Founding Partner, Shapiro, Arato & Isserles LLP, 2009-2014
- Partner and Associate, Cohen & Gresser LLP, 2005-2008
- Associate at Parcher, Hayes & Snyder, O’Melveny & Myers, and Jenner & Block, 2000-2005
- Law Clerk to Hon. Stephen G. Breyer, U.S. Supreme Court, 1999-2000
- Law Clerk, Hon. Laurence H. Silberman, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, 1998-1999
- J.D., magna cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1998; Joshua Montgomery Sears Prize (for highest grade point average during second year), 1996-1997; Notes Editor, Harvard Law Review, 1996-1998
- B.A., Sarah Lawrence College, 1993
- “Marc is one of the best Mediators I’ve used. He tackled a difficult and highly contentious matter with just the right touch. Keeping the parties 'at the table' for several months as we sparred over the many issues to be addressed, he was ultimately able to help us get to final resolution. A job well done was truly and greatly appreciated by all involved.”
- “Marc helped us reach an exceptional result in a case that could have created huge expense and agita for years to come. Settlement would never have happened without his tenacity, resourcefulness and strategic approaches. After several disheartening rounds of talks with opposing counsel, it was clear that we didn’t have a chance of settling the case unless a miracle happened. Marc brought that miracle into being. Prior to his entrance into the case, opposing counsel’s proposals went from bad to worse, and attempts at bringing him into the real world failed. Then, enter Marc Isserles from stage left. The rest is history. I have worked with a good number of top notch mediators, arbitrators and judges over the years and I have never had the privilege of working with anyone who has been able to reach this kind of result.”
- “Excellent legal knowledge and first rate Mediation skills. I would recommend him highly. I would rank Mr. Isserles among the best Mediators I have encountered.”
- “Marc mediated a challenging joint venture dispute where the parties initially agreed on very little. Marc spent the time to master the facts. He was constructively insistent, delving into the merits – strengths, weaknesses, misunderstandings, inflammatory rhetoric, all of it – with the goal of finding common ground if possible. There were several key points in our negotiations where common ground did not seem possible. Marc was patient, even keeled, and intellectually rigorous. He is not a passive messenger. I would use him again without reservation.”
- “I found Marc to be insightful, pragmatic, and doggedly persistent. I think he’d be effective and I wouldn’t hesitate to mediate with him in any kind of civil action, but the case that we settled with him happened to be a music copyright substantial similarity matter, and his understanding of music notation and theory was particularly advantageous.”
- “I’ve mediated several cases with Marc, including one where prior settlement efforts had failed. Marc is very knowledgeable, always well prepared and tireless in his efforts. But what sets him apart is his patience, temperament and his ability to get through to even the most difficult clients and counsel and talk them off of their intractable positions. Marc’s efforts don’t end at the end of the mediation day, and he will continue to work for a deal if he believes there is any chance of resolution. I won’t hesitate to work with Marc again and highly recommend him as a mediator.”
- “Simply put, Marc Isserles is in the top tier of JAMS mediators and – as we know – JAMS is at the top of the ADR heap. I’ve successfully mediated two very different employment cases with Marc – one involving the criminal conviction discrimination claim of a low-wage earner, and the other controlled departure of a high-ranking executive in the pharmaceutical industry who claimed disability and protected leave discrimination. In each case, Marc was relentless in his pursuit of common ground for the respective parties, clear and consistent in articulating his vision of an achievable settlement, and open and compassionate about the pressures that were impacting and motivating each side. With his understated, prepared, and honest manner, Marc was able to draw both sides into the realm of reality necessary to achieve resolution. I would wholeheartedly recommend Marc to mediate any type of employment dispute!”
- "We all admired how focused Marc was on mastering the facts and law and procedural history of a complicated case that the parties had been litigating for almost 7 years before he became involved. Because he learned the case so well, his assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the parties' positions had a great deal of credibility. Without a doubt, I do not believe a settlement would have been possible. We also appreciated that Marc took time even before the mediation sessions began to get to know our clients and to hear from them directly about their thoughts on the case. And we were amazed at his skills in overcoming the extraordinary levels of distrust and division that existed in our case - not just between the plaintiffs and defendents but also as between different defense factions. Marc deftly moved entrenched, hostile parties together and was able to accomplish the two separate settlements that were necessary in order to resolve one litigation. It took a lot of skill to do that, as well as great tenacity and patience. Thanks again, Marc."
- “Marc is a top-notch mediator who I have used on multiple occasions. He instills confidence by being well prepared and through his excellent active listening skills, impartiality, and ability to communicate complex issues clearly and accurately. He is extremely smart, empathetic, and determined to facilitate a resolution.”
- “I found mediator Marc Isserles to be exceptional. He plainly understood the legal and factual issues, was easy to work with, as well as fair and equitable. I would highly recommend him for future mediations.”
- “Marc not only got knee-deep in some of the facts critical to the case and resolving it, he was tenacious in working with both sides to set realistic and reasonable expectations after years of hard fought and expensive proceedings. The case would not have resolved without his dedication and ongoing assistance over multiple days. I have already recommended him to other counsel; he is smart, fair, and highly effective.”
- “Marc is an extraordinarily effective mediator, and clearly one of the very best in the country. He is smart, extremely well-prepared, hard-working, and creative. He helped us settle a highly sensitive and contentious matter – and was able to do so at the end of a very long day even after it seemed like the parties were at a complete standstill.”
- “Marc was an excellent mediator in our hard-fought retaliation case. He was absolutely essential to our achievement of a terrific result. Very late in the day--approximately 7pm--I was frustrated because we had put in a huge effort, but were nowhere close to a resolution and I was prepared to walk out. Marc encouraged me to stay with it, suggesting a pivot in the approach to the negotiation. Because he had earned our trust, we followed his lead (which was spot on) and he then quickly guided us to the end. I highly recommend him!”
- “Marc is a talented and tireless mediator who continued to act in the best interest of each party by relentlessly pursuing settlement even after the formal mediation ended. The extra effort produced a compromise neither party believed possible and resulted in a fair resolution for all involved.”
- “Mr. Isserles is an intelligent, persuasive, thoughtful, empathic and patient mediator. He is a pleasant person to spend the day with and is careful to always keep the focus on the clients. These qualities enable the parties to reach a handshake without even realizing their arms had been twisted.”
- “Marc has that rare and perfect combination of mediator skills - patience, persistence, personable, and razor-sharp smarts. He quickly masters legal issues and gets to the heart of a dispute and what drives each side. He masterfully helped resolve my multi-party action involving a number of strong personalities.”
- “Mr. Isserles was an impressively prepared, skilled, and patient neutral who worked tirelessly to get the parties together in a hotly contested federal case. I would recommend him without hesitation.”
- “Marc quickly got up to speed on a business dispute that involved seasoned business owners and investors. He was able to deftly handle both the issues and positions taken by both sides to steer them in reaching a sensible resolution. My client was able to avoid arbitration and resolve related litigation as a result, in large part, of Marc’s skill set and efforts.”
- “I would not hesitate to work with Marc again and indeed, look forward to doing so. He was thorough, prepared, insightful and went the extra mile to get our case resolved. He was a pleasure to work with but more important, he was incredibly effective.”
- “After the parties experienced an unsuccessful and very contentious mediation with another mediator, Mr. Isserles stepped in and managed to professionally and expeditiously resolve the parties' complex partnership dispute in less than a day.”
- “Marc Isserles was able to settle a multifaceted commercial case involving multiple parties, in which no one going into the mediation believed would ever settle. The case, which had already been through a full hearing before the California Labor Board, in connection with a breach of an Artist’s Manager contract, was extremely contentious. Marc quickly assessed the situation, identified the issues and managed to deal with some extremely difficult clients on both sides of the table. He had thorough knowledge of the law, knew the history of the case and effectively used this information to work with both sides. Marc persevered even when he was told by both sides there would be no settlement. Before the evening ended, a deal memo was signed. I recommend Marc without reservation.”
- “Marc Isserles served as a mediator in a complex commercial dispute involving numerous disputed legal and factual issues. Throughout the process, Marc demonstrated great skill, patience and understanding in dealing with the parties and their respective claims. He is smart, open-minded and demonstrated a unique ability to come up with possible creative solutions for settlement throughout the mediation process - all the while maintaining the respect of the litigants and counsel. I would certainly recommend Marc to be a mediator in any commercial dispute and feel confident that his involvement will be favorably received by all participants.”
- “Mr. Isserles served as mediator in a commercial contract dispute. He quickly became conversant with the factual and legal issues involved in the case and, just as important, identified the practical impediments to settlement and brainstormed with the parties how they could best be overcome. Before the day of mediation ended, we had reached a complete settlement that might not have been attainable with a less skilled mediation professional.”
- “Marc has the qualities found in only the very best mediators - intelligence, attentiveness, creativity, and persistence. I very much look forward to working with Marc again.”
- “In a wage & hour case he mediated for us, Marc helped us reach a resolution that we weren’t sure was going to be possible. Marc was well-prepared, engaged, and persistent, and had a good manner with our clients. He stayed with the case after the mediation session, leading to a final resolution just days later.”
- “Marc helped us resolve a business dispute in which personal feelings ran high. He showed intelligence and attention to detail, and dealt with the parties with energy and humor. We would recommend him highly.”
- “Marc is a highly effective mediator who is smart, well-prepared and engaging. He was instrumental in resolving a complex commercial matter at mediation. I would recommend him without qualification.”
- "Marc did a great job in a relatively small but emotionally-charged employment/bonus case. I thought he...showed excellent judgment and excellent people skills in bringing the parties to the right compromise figure. Importantly, he showed creativity and doggedness in working through a very tricky procedural issue after the parties had agreed on the settlement amount. In a good and respectful way, he wouldn’t let us go home and give up, and we eventually found a way through the issue.”
- "Marc is a highly effective, intelligent mediator with a remarkable work ethic. In a highly contentious employment case, he was personable and patient, well-prepared, and completely impartial. Marc was instrumental in bringing about a good result for all parties. I would recommend him without reservation.”
- "After my client had great experience with Marc in New York, we flew him across the country to help with a contentious disability discrimination case by a former executive. He quickly cut to the core issues in the case – legal, factual, and emotional – and guided the parties to a resolution in the weeks after mediation when lengthy and expensive litigation seemed imminent. His insights and reads were all spot-on, and the client was extremely happy to have invested in his expertise."
- "Marc Isserles did a great job at our mediation. We showed up with fairly low expectations given how far apart the sides were, but left with an agreement. Marc was prepared at the outset and drilled down throughout the process on the merits and motivations of the parties. He then used a practical approach to help direct the parties to resolution. I would highly recommend Marc and plan to use him again if the need for a mediator arises."
- "Marc was remarkably attentive to my clients and their desire to understand and engage in the negotiation process. He maintained his laser focus, sharp analysis and patient demeanor throughout a prolonged mediation session. I feel very fortunate to have had him handling our case and would easily recommend him to my colleagues and others in the field."
- "Marc is an excellent mediator, who I would highly recommend. I had a complex and difficult employment matter that we could not resolve. Through Marc's hard work, patience, guidance and expertise both sides reached a fair agreement. It wasn't easy but Marc brought us together. Myself and my attorney greatly appreciate his professionalism."
- "Marc is a stellar mediator. He was prepared, patient and intelligent. He went above and beyond all expectations by following up after the mediation to facilitate a successful settlement in a complex commercial dispute. I highly recommend him as a mediator"
- "I would highly recommend Mr. Isserles as a mediator for a broad range of commercial disputes. Mr. Isserles has served as mediator for our clients on two separate occasions involving commercial contract disputes in vastly different industries, both of which were successfully resolved. The resolution in each matter was due in large part to Mr. Isserles’ preparation, patience and creative thinking"
- "Marc served as the mediator in a 'business divorce' case in which our client, an investment advisor, was seeking to expel one of its three owners and managing members. Our client, of course, wanted him out as soon as possible while paying him as little as possible. He wanted the opposite. Emotions were very high on both sides. Marc did an extraordinary job in guiding the parties to a settlement that both could (unhappily) live with. He was calm, rational, insightful and listened well but also knew when to point out weaknesses or push back. After an initial in-person session, he worked with us for more than a month as the parties exchanged offers and counter-offers against the backdrop of a difficult and deteriorating business environment. He was unfailingly responsive and constructive. He was also instrumental in helping the parties overcome several instances in which it appeared they had reached an impasse. I would enthusiastically recommend Marc for any commercial dispute."
- "Marc is an extraordinarily skilled mediator who can quickly master the legal and factual issues, and most importantly, communicate effectively with strong personalities. He has a unique ability to candidly communicate difficult information that a party would prefer not to hear in a respectful and empathetic manner. Marc’s patience, diligence and persistence are especially impressive."
- "In my many years of practice and many mediations, Marc is one of the best mediators I’ve encountered. He was thoroughly prepared and did not hesitate to press both sides. And he has the right temperament for the long, tense days that mediations often require."
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