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Effective Mediation Advocacy: Do’s and Don’ts

Speaker(s): Marc E. Isserles
Recorded on: Jun. 21, 2016
PLI Program #: 185160

Marc E. Isserles, Esq. is a skilled commercial mediator with more than fifteen years of litigation experience handling complex business disputes. 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.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Mediated, and/or co-mediated with distinguished JAMS neutrals, commercial disputes (including numerous high-stakes, multi-party cases), in a wide variety of substantive areas, such as insurance coverage, breach of contract, fraud, intellectual property, bankruptcy, appellate, class actions, securities, legal malpractice, environmental, and employment law
  • Service as a neutral on various court panels, including the newly-formed mediation program for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York; and the Supreme Court, Commercial Division for New York, Kings, Westchester, and Nassau Counties

Representative ADR Matters


  • Mediated multi-million dollar breach of contract claim involving alleged breach of provision requiring exclusive negotiations with potential acquirer of pharmaceutical company
  • Mediated dispute between restaurant and adjoining building, and its contractors, over scaffolding that was allegedly interrupting restaurant’s business
  • Mediated dispute between warehouse and contractor over amount and nature of invoices for clean-up work following major storm
  • Co-mediated high eight-figure dispute between biotechnology company and contractor over management of clinical trial
  • Mediated dispute between former joint ventures over alleged usurpation of opportunity for financing a new hedge fund
  • Co-mediated fraud action seeking hundreds of millions of dollars against major law firm and bank in connection with sale of mortgage fund securities
  • Co-mediated multi-million dollar malpractice action against major law firm in connection with transactional advice given to hedge fund about investment in trading business
  • Co-mediating multi-million dollar property claims and third-party contribution claims, arising out of major environmental accident at water storage facility
  • Co-mediated dispute over attempted foreclosure of commercial mortgage for a shopping center
  • Mediated breach of contract dispute between property owner and interior designer over forged checks and unauthorized transactions
  • Mediated dispute between former spouses and family members over alleged failure to return money used to purchase real estate
  • Mediated multi-million dollar dispute over alleged obligation to negotiate agreement to build telecommunications pipeline
  • Co-mediated negligence and fraud action brought by receiver and shareholder class against officers and directors of failed bank
  • Mediated dispute between former business partners over whether wire transfers were gifts or loans

Class Action/Mass Tort

  • Co-mediating approximately 50 personal injury and property claims arising out of major accident at construction site


  • Mediated sexual harassment and hostile work environment claim brought against construction company
  • Mediated sexual harassment and hostile work environment claim brought by contract attorney against law firm and temporary placement agency
  • Mediated seven-figure age discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by physician specialist against hospital
  • Conducted binding mediation/baseball arbitration of seven-figure hostile work environment and retaliation claim brought against major retailer
  • Mediated dispute between hedge fund and former analyst over fund’s alleged failure to pay a guaranteed annual bonus
  • Mediated numerous employment discrimination claims, including claims of racial, sex, and disability discrimination, as well as retaliation claims


  • 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-mediating 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

Intellectual Property

  • Mediated multi-jurisdictional copyright infringement actions arising out of exploitation of music public rights under licensing agreements
  • Co-mediated copyright dispute over design of web portal for hotel chain
  • Co-mediated copyright dispute between photography rightsholders and textbook publisher
  • Co-mediated dispute between foreign government and U.S. research center over patent royalties allegedly derived from laboratory research conducted in foreign country

Representative Litigation Matters

As a litigator in private practice, Mr. Isserles represented parties in a wide range of complex commercial disputes at the trial level, on appeal, and in mediation. Representative matters include:

  • Represented major bank in mediation concerning scope of usage rights under software licensing agreement
  • Represented Fortune 200 pharmaceutical company in mediation over scope of rights under a patent license, with over $500 million in dispute
  • Represented New York City developer in series of trial and appellate challenges to landmark designation
  • Represented major private equity firm in approximately $100 million fraud and contract dispute with borrower
  • Represented and advised leading cable company in connection with affiliation agreements, and various “new technology” matters raising cutting-edge copyright issues
  • Represented and advised major entertainment venue in connection with various licensing agreements, as well as breach of contract and defamation lawsuit and subsequent appeal
  • Represented several major record companies and music publishers in copyright infringement lawsuits and appeals

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Member, New York City Bar, Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee
  • Member, New York State Bar Association, Dispute Resolution Section
  • Neutral on various court panels, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York; and the Supreme Court, Commercial Division for New York, Kings, Westchester, and Nassau Counties


  • Co-Author, Overcoming Impasse at Mediation: Bargaining with Brackets, New York Law Journal, February 8, 2016
  • Author of Overcoming Overbreadth: Facial Challenges and the Valid Rule Requirement, 48 Am. U.L. Rev. 359 (1998), which has been cited and discussed by numerous courts and legal scholars
  • The Supreme Court, 1996 Term – Leading Cases, Raines v. Byrd, 111 Harv. L. Rev. 217 (1997)
  • Recent Case, Class Actions, 84 F.3d 734 (5th Cir. 1996), 110 Harv. L. Rev. 977 (1997) 

Background and Education

  • 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