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.  Mr. Levy has worked on a broad spectrum of insurance matters related to Directors & Officers (D&O), Errors & Omissions (E&O), Comprehensive General Liability (GCL), reinsurance, life insurance, asbestos, long tail environmental claims, construction defect, and property damage, with claims involving allocation of contributions by multiple primary and excess insurers, and allocation of defense and indemnity obligations.

Representative Matters

  • Mediated dispute as to coverage under a Directors & Officers (D&O) policy for attorneys’ fees incurred in a securities fraud action
  • Mediated dispute between insured and broker, under Errors & Omissions (E&O) policy, over alleged failure to place adequate levels of insurance
  • Mediated environmental insurance case of first impression on remand from California Supreme Court requiring the interpretation of defense and indemnity provisions of multiple historical Comprehensive General Liability (GCL) insurance policies
  • Mediated national coordinated environmental insurance coverage (“buy back”) action by railroad of its longstanding insurance program of primary and excess coverage by multiple insurers for losses at more than 600 environmentally contaminated sites throughout the United States
  • Mediated attorneys’ fees claim under advertising/trademark and bodily injury policy provisions brought by musician against famous rock band
  • Arbitrated dispute related to insurance coverage potentially available under various professional liability policies relating to 105 injured claimants in coordinated medical malpractice action
  • Mediated numerous environmental insurance coverage cases, including issues of liability for defense and/or indemnity, trigger of coverage, allocation, pollution exclusions, expected or intended, voluntary payments, primary versus excess coverage, pilot remediation studies, exhaustion of limits and allocation of risk and settlement among co-primary and excess insurance policies, reinsurance, and pre-tender issues
  • Mediated coverage dispute arising from fire at a vineyard causing damage to valuable vine stock and inventory
  • Mediated significant settlement of insurance coverage profile maintained by asbestos trusts, involving multiple layers of primary and excess insurance coverage over a 30-year period to allocate coverage for multiple policy years, both primary and excess, including lost-policies
  • Appointed Special Master over numerous coordinated environmental coverage actions involving hundreds of contaminated sites nationally
  • Appointed Special Master to oversee multimillion dollar dispute involving "employment practices liability" policy provisions
  • Mediated $500 million settlement class action in connection with vanishing premium life insurance policies
  • Mediated multiple reinsurance disputes between cedents and reinsurers
  • Conducted various insurance appraisal proceedings involving losses of real and personal property destroyed by fire, earthquake and flooding, including valuation of unique objects including wine, fine art, antiques, and classic automobiles
  • Appointed Discovery Master in a variety of insurance coverage cases in both federal and state courts to assist the parties to develop discovery plans and decide discovery disputes including Rule 34 Requests for Inspection of real property
  • Mediated surety disputes related to losses stemming from construction failures and cost overruns
  • Mediated claims by beneficiaries of life insurance policies against insurers for alleged wrongful denial of benefits
  • 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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