Kenneth Feinberg: Weighing the value of a human life

Lady justice

Henry J. Abraham Distinguished Lecture

Kenneth Feinberg: Weighing the value of a human life

Kenneth Feinberg, Barbara Perry

Friday, May 06, 2022
11:00AM - 12:00PM (EDT)
Event Details

Read Henry Abraham's last writing

Kenneth Feinberg, one of the nation's foremost public service lawyers, delivers the 22nd annual Henry J. Abraham Distinguished Lecture—“Unconventional responses to unique catastrophes: Tailoring the law to meet the challenges"—at the Miller Center and via online webinar.

He discusses his experiences as a U.S. attorney; chief of staff to Senator Edward M. Kennedy; specialist in mediation and alternative dispute resolution; special master of the U.S. government's September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and for TARP Executive Compensation; and administrator of funds to victims of the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster, 2013 Boston Marathon terrorist bombings, Agent Orange, asbestos, DES, and Holocaust enslaved labor. He also served as the chair of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation Board and arbitrated the fair market value of the Zapruder film that captured JFK's assassination. 

The Abraham Distinguished Lecture honors renowned constitutional law scholar Henry J. Abraham (1921–2020), who was James Hart Professor of Government, Emeritus, at the University of Virginia.

The annual Henry J. Abraham Distinguished Lecture was established in 1999 by his students, colleagues, family, and friends to honor him. Abraham was the James Hart Professor of Government Emeritus, and was among the most renowned constitutional scholars in the field of political science. His life story of escaping the Nazis in 1937 at the age of 15, serving as a U.S. Army interpreter during WWII, and then devoting his life to the U.S. Constitution is as compelling as it is poignant. Previous lecturers have included Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Justice Antonin Scalia, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, John Jeffries, Ted Olson, William Suter, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Nadine Strossen, Thomas Pickering, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Tinsley Yarbrough, and journalists Linda Greenhouse, Joan Biskupic, Jan Crawford, Marcia Coyle, and Evan Thomas.

Friday, May 06, 2022
11:00AM - 12:00PM (EDT)
The Miller Center
2201 Old Ivy Rd
Charlottesville, VA
Ken Feinberg headshot

Kenneth Feinberg

Kenneth R. Feinberg is one of the nation’s leading experts in alternative dispute resolution, having served as Special Master of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, the Department of Justice Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Fund, the Department of Justice Boeing 737 Max Crash Victim Beneficiaries Compensation Fund, the Department of the Treasury’s TARP Executive Compensation Program and the Treasury’s Private Multiemployer Pension Reform program. He was also Special Settlement Master of the Agent Orange Victim Compensation Program. In 2010, Mr. Feinberg was appointed by the Obama Administration to oversee compensation of victims of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Most recently, he has served as Administrator of the New York State Dioceses’ Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Funds, the One Orlando Fund, the GM Ignition Switch Compensation Program, and One Fund Boston Compensation Program arising out of the Boston Marathon bombings. He is currently the Court-appointed Settlement Master in the Fiat/Chrysler Diesel Emissions class action litigation in San Francisco. He has been appointed mediator and arbitrator in thousands of complex disputes over the past 35 years.

Barbara Perry headshot

Barbara Perry

Barbara A. Perry is the Gerald L. Baliles Professor and director of Presidential Studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, where she co-directs the Presidential Oral History Program. She has authored or edited 16 books on presidents, First Ladies, the Kennedy family, the Supreme Court, and civil rights and civil liberties. Perry has conducted more than 120 interviews for the George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama Presidential Oral History Projects; participated in the Bill Clinton interviews; directed the Edward Kennedy Oral History Project; and co-directs the Hillary Rodham Clinton Oral History Project. She served as a U.S. Supreme Court fellow and has worked for both Republican and Democratic members of the Senate.