Lester Levy

Lester J. Levy, Esq.

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator, Referee/Special Master, Neutral Evaluator

Case Manager
John Graber
T: 212-607-2765
620 8th Ave, 34th Floor, New York, New York 10018


Lester J. Levy, Esq. has served as a full time neutral for more than 20 years. Renowned as a mediator, arbitrator, settlement master/ombudsman, and special master/referee for complex matters that span a wide variety of areas of law, Mr. Levy uses his legal, analytical, and conciliation skills to craft the best possible resolution of each case.  Known for his ability to quickly identify key issues and to recalibrate dynamics between the parties, Mr. Levy is called upon to assist clients with their most difficult matters, often when prior efforts have proven unsuccessful.  As an arbitrator, he is known for his willingness to make difficult decision based on the facts and law of each case and conducts his arbitrations efficiently, with authority and respect.

Mr. Levy was one of few arbitrators nationwide to be selected as Neutral Allocator by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  He currently serves as Chief Adjudicator/Arbitrator, Black Farmers Cases, Native American Cases, and Women and Latino American Cases against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for civil rights violations relating to the provision of low interest loans and emergency benefits to minority farmers throughout the United States, and designed, implemented, and oversaw the adjudication of more than 50,000 individual claims within these mass actions based on substantive and evidentiary requirements set by federal district judge in consent decree, awarding more than $2 billion in relief.

Representative Arbitrations

  • Arbitrated claims against financial investment advisors regarding allegations of fraudulent solicitations, over-concentration in certain securities, churning, and price manipulation
  • Arbitrated contract dispute over sale of energy consulting business by a U.S. company to a French corporation; issues included valuation of earn-out provisions and sufficiency of employee performance post-sale
  • Arbitrated numerous contract disputes including long-term lease and option to purchase commercial real estate, sale of businesses, breach of purchase, and sale agreements
  • Arbitrated several hundred awards to seriously injured claimants resulting from 13-day airborne environmental release of a chemical catalyst used in the refining of gasoline products; claimants compensated according to medical diagnoses, severity of injuries, and proximity to release
  • Arbitrated various insurance appraisal proceedings involving replacement cost valuation of real and personal property destroyed by fire, earthquake, and flooding, and valuation of unique objects including wine, fine art, antiques, and classic automobiles
  • Special Master, allocated settlement proceeds and a number of apartments to class of displaced tenants in low-to-moderate income housing in connection with a municipal redevelopment plan
  • Appointed to preside over stipulated trial of insurance coverage claims under various professional liability policies in coordinated medical malpractice action by 105 claimants regarding whether claims were covered losses under terms of the relevant policies and available coverage limits
  • Arbitrated gender discrimination, pay and hostile environment claims brought by two female employees against a manager and insurance sales company
  • Arbitrated multiple appeals from settlement of a national class action alleging defective wooden deck sealant
  • Hearing Officer, arbitrated propriety of public utility’s decision to discontinue service to industrial customer that repeatedly exceeded regulatory environmental discharge limits
  • Arbitrated attorneys’ fees payable under loadstar analysis related to $500 million life insurance class action settlement
  • Arbitrated motor vehicle accident cases to determine and/or allocate fault and compensation for personal injuries
  • Arbitrated cases involving the allocation of costs of investigation and remediation to numerous PRPs at CERCLA environmental sites under Gore Factors
  • Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS
  • Energy & Environmental Trailblazer, National Law Journal, 2016
  • "ADR Swiftly Compensates Parties in Mass Actions and Toxic Tort Cases," New Jersey Law Journal, April 12, 2016
  • "Mediation Can Accelerate Cleanup," New Jersey Law Journal, March 7, 2016
  • Fellow, College of Commercial Arbitrators
  • Founder, JAMS Class Action and Mass Tort Settlement Program
  • Registered Mediator, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York
  • Former Adjunct Professor, Alternative Dispute Resolution, University of San Francisco Law School
  • Member, ADR Panels for the Northern California Federal District Court, and the Superior Courts of San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, and San Mateo Counties
  • Member, ADR Panels for the Bankruptcy Courts in the Districts of Delaware and the Southern District of New York
  • Former Vice Chair & Member, Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee, Tort Trial & Insurance Section of the American Bar Association
  • Chair & Member, ADR Committee, American Bankruptcy Institute, 2005-2008
  • Vice Chair, ADR Committee of ABA Section on Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER)
  • Founder, JAMS Environmental Judicial College
  • Trained in mediation/negotiation at Harvard Law School (Roger Fisher, author of Getting to Yes)
  • Written and lectured on ADR to Bar Associations including the ABA, IBA, law firms, private companies, and law schools throughout the United States
  • “A Comment on Communication and Complex Case Mediation,” Daily Journal, September 17, 2010
  • "Mediator Creates Healthy Settlement Environment," ADR Profile, Daily Journal, March 23, 2007
  • Munger, Tolles & Olson, San Francisco and Los Angeles, California, 1986-1994
  • Law Clerk, Hon. Irving R. Kaufman, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 1985-1986
  • J.D., magna cum laude, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, 1985; Chief Articles Editor, Cardozo Law Review
  • B.Mus., San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 1981, Classical Guitar Performance and Composition

Counsel Comments

    • “Lester’s honest and direct style creates a trusting relationship and open dialogue with attorneys and their clients. He transforms the most complex and emotionally challenging disputes into a process the parties can use to constructively resolve their differences. He quickly identifies the key issues, sets a course of action including a range of possible settlements, then gets it done.”
    • "...There are a lot of people who are not in the courtroom...that ought to be thanked, in particular, Mr. Levy, the special master, who, from my observations...has done an outstanding job shepherding this through, a very lengthy, time-consuming, difficult litigation because of the number of parties; and he simply has done a wonderful job, bringing this to a resolution."   

      - Federal Judge

    • “Lester Levy’s effectiveness as a mediator is the result of both a keen mind and relatable personality. He handles complex issues and challenging personalities with equal aplomb. The hallmark of an effective mediator is evenhanded persistence, and Lester is highly skilled at keeping the parties engaged and moving toward a mutually acceptable resolution.”

    • “Lester takes the time to learn the nuances of each case so he can foster a constructive dialogue between the parties to achieve resolution. He always invests whatever it takes to make sure the case settles, never giving up until the documents are signed.”

    • “Lester is thoughtful, and takes his time to speak directly with each party to better understand the issues. He is deliberate and careful in communicating messages between sides.”

    • “He was very patient yet effective at permitting each side to put forth their arguments which led to a fair resolution for all parties. His knowledge of environmental litigation and the issue that surround it certainly helped move the mediation along.”



Practice Areas

Available nationwide


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