Noah J. Hanft is an independent arbitrator and mediator recognized globally for his ability to find the most effective and efficient ways to resolve all manner of disputes. His career experiences as an advocate, a neutral, and the President and Chief Executive Officer of a leading global dispute resolution organization have provided him with a unique perspective and deep understanding of dispute resolution.
Mr. Hanft served as General Counsel of MasterCard Worldwide for 13 years. In addition to overseeing all legal and regulatory matters, he had responsibility for public policy, compliance, and government regulations and served as Corporate Secretary. During his tenure, he navigated the company through a host of legal and regulatory challenges, negotiating resolutions of a vast array of disputes, including multiple class actions and commercial, intellectual property, and employment disputes. He also gained a reputation as a pragmatic business lawyer, successfully negotiating many commercial transactions, acquisitions, and joint ventures. Mr. Hanft was an early adopter of mediation and personally mediated settlements of many of the company’s major business conflicts. He led the strategy that transformed the structure of MasterCard from a not-for-profit association to a well established and highly regarded public company and personally handled the negotiations between stakeholders around the world to secure approval for the company’s highly successful IPO. This included managing the complex securities issues related to the structure of the transaction.
In 2012, the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), after considering 3,500 nominations, named Mr. Hanft General Counsel of the Year. In presenting the award, the ACC quoted from one of the submissions in support of Mr. Hanft, which read: “ It is rare to see a General Counsel orchestrate the legal counseling of a multinational corporate giant with such a unique blend of Brooklyn street-smarts, rigorous legal acumen, realistic business judgement, and sense of humor. The strength and efficiency of MasterCard’s legal department is a testament to Noah Hanft’s leadership, vision and high ethical standards.” In recognition of his success as General Counsel, Mr. Hanft’s responsibilities grew to encompass many business functions including licensing, franchise development, information security, fraud prevention, philanthropy, and diversity.
Mr. Hanft’s enthusiasm for ADR led him to begin serving as a mediator in 2012, while still MasterCard’s General Counsel. That same passion for dispute resolution was a critical driver in Mr. Hanft’s decision to take on the leadership of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution ("CPR") as President and Chief Executive Officer. In this role, which he held from 2014 until July of 2019, Mr. Hanft led a globally recognized preeminent ADR provider and thought leader. During his tenure, the organization was widely recognized and awarded for innovation and development of best practices in both arbitration and mediation. Mr. Hanft is a frequent author and speaker on many topics related to arbitration, mediation, and the management of business conflict. For his leadership in encouraging the adoption of mediation, Mr. Hanft was honored in May of 2019 with the Sidney Lezak Award of Excellence by the International Academy of Mediators (IAM).
Mr. Hanft is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is certified as a mediator by the Center for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR). He is an arbitrator and mediator on the CPR Panel of Distinguished Neutrals where he serves on the General Counsel, Financial Services, Employment and Trademark panels. Mr. Hanft also serves on the AAA Commercial Arbitration panel, is both a FINRA arbitrator and mediator, and is also on the NAM, Second Circuit, Southern District, New York and New York State Commercial Division Mediation panels. Mr. Hanft has successfully mediated a wide breadth of cases including commercial, employment, intellectual property, securities, and civil rights cases.
Mr. Hanft began his career as a trial attorney with the Legal Aid Society in New York City and served on the board of the Society for many years. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Noah Hanft began his legal career as a trial attorney with the NYC Legal Aid Society, Criminal Division, where he tried numerous cases to verdict. He shifted his practice to intellectual property after receiving an LL.M. from New York University School of Law in Trade Regulations and joined the law firm, Ladas & Parry. He practiced there for three years, counseling and litigating on behalf of both U.S. and foreign corporations on trademark and copyright matters.
Mr. Hanft joined MasterCard International in 1984 where he would spend 27 years. During his tenure, he was promoted numerous times, ultimately becoming General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Chief Franchise Officer. Mr. Hanft served as General Counsel for 13 years and served on the company’s Executive Committee as well as its Operating Committee.The range of his experience extended to virtually every facet of the business and included direct responsibility for law, regulatory affairs, public policy, compliance and government relations. From 2007-2014 Mr. Hanft managed a consolidated business unit of over 500 employees, Law & Franchise Integrity, with employees all over the world.The unit’s responsibilities included fraud prevention and detection, licensing, franchise rules, information security, diversity, philanthropy, law, compliance, public policy, privacy, government relations and regulatory affairs.
Mr. Hanft was deeply involved in all aspects of his team’s work, but was personally responsible for the following:
Mr. Hanft left MasterCard in 1990, when he was recruited by AT&T to join AT&T Universal Card Services as Senior Vice President & Assistant General Counsel. In that role he counseled the business on Fair Credit Reporting Act, Regulation Z of the Truth In Lending Act and other lending related matters and was responsible for the successful defense of legal and regulatory challenges initiated by competitors before the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Communications Commission and the Georgia Banking Commission, as well as a major trademark infringement lawsuit. Mr. Hanft rejoined MasterCard in 1993 as Senior Vice President and U.S. General Counsel.
Dispute Resolution Experience & Representative Matters
As an Advocate: In addition to having managed and resolved scores of proceedings including commercial, intellectual property, insurance, antitrust, employment and many other disputes:
As a Neutral managed:
6/11/19 - "The Role of the NYS Court in International Arbitration," New York International Arbitration Center
4/28/19 - “The Future of ADR,” CPR Annual Europe Conference, London
3/25/19 - Arbitration 2019- “Perspectives on Best Practices in Arbitration” Fordham Law School
2/4/19 - “The Future of ADR,” CPR Canada Conference, Toronto
1/31/19 - “ADR and Diversity”- New York Law School
12/10/18 - “The Balance Between Efficiency and Justice in Arbitration- AAA/ICDR Center, NY
12/3/18 - Faculty - CPR Advanced Arbitration Training - Baker & McKenzie
10/30/18 - “Breaking Impasse in Negotiations,” Intl Association for Contract & Commercial Management, St. Petersburg, Fla
10/18/18 - “Driving Mediation in Arbitration”- American University School of Law, Washington, D.C.
5/31/18 - “Make ADR Great Again,” CPR European Congress, London
5/17/18 - “Setting the Stage for A Successful Arbitration,” Akerman, Miami
3/22/18 -“Underutilization of Mediation,” NYS Bar Association, Fordham Law School
3/1/18 - “Prevention is the New Resolution: Next-Generation Practices, Solutions and Tools- CPR Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Ga.
3/1/18- “ADR in the Wake of the #MeToo Movement”- CPR Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Ga.
2/8/18 - Ethics Issues in Mediation,” Thomson Reuters Webinar
10/31/17 - “The Power of Mediation.” International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation, NY
10/26/17- “Diversity and ADR,” New York Law School
10/23/17 - “Globalism and International Arbitration,” Atlas Arbitration Conference, Atlanta, Ga.
9/22/17 - “A Choice Between Mediation & Madness,” International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy, NY
3/19/16 - “Resolving Disputes With Governments,” Amsterdam, Holland
3/18/16 - “Where Mediation and Arbitration Intersect, Amsterdam, Holland
3/24/16 - “Corporate Risk,” International Association of Defense Counsel
3/24/17 - “Innovation In Arbitration,” CMS, London
1/12/17- “Consumer and Employment Arbitration,” Garibaldi American Inns of Court, New Jersey
11/18/16 - “Arbitration in Financial Services,” Dublin International Arbitration Day, Dublin, Ireland
10/31/16 - “Role of In-house Counsel in Effective Resolution of Disputes, CPR conference, Eversheds, London
10/6/16- “Ethics Issues in International Arbitration,” Thomson Reuters Webinar
6/21/16 - “Current Issues for Users of Mediation.” CPR Conference, Toronto, Canada
3/24/16 - “Relational Dispute Resolution,” West Coast GC Forum,
10/29/15 “Can I Sue? Your Policy May Not Allow It,” Anderson Kill, NY
10/26/15 - “To Litigate or not to Litigate,” West Legal Ed. Center, NY
7/14/15 - “Winning Settlement Strategies in Litigation,” NYC Bar Association, NY
10/2/13 - “The Benefits of Early Dispute Resolution,” Argyle Human Leadership Forum, NY
10/5/10 - “Ethics For Today’s Trial Counsel,” ALM Litigation Summit, NY
11/13/15 - “A New Scarlet ‘A’? Not So Fast - Law 360
Quoted or Referenced in the Following:
6/19/19 - "Former in-house counsel launch New York arbitrator boutique" - Global Arbitration Review (subscription)
6/17/19 - "Former MasterCard, 3M General Counsel Form New ADR Firm" - New York Law Journal, Law.com, Corporate Counsel
6/17/19 - "Former MasterCard, 3M GCs Start Dispute Resolution Venture" - Law360 (subscription)
6/19/19 - "Alternative career for two general counsel" - Global Legal Post
As President and Chief Executive Officer of the CPR Institute, an organization that has hundreds of members, including law firms, corporations, mediators, arbitrators, academics and individuals, I interacted with hundreds of lawyers from firms that were both members and non-members of CPR. In that role, I spoke at many CPR events as well as events sponsored by other organizations around the world including, but not limited to, The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the College of Commercial Arbitrators, the Association of Corporate Counsel, the New York State Bar Association, the New York City Bar Association, Corporate Counsel Women of Color and the American Bar Association. I am also a member of many organizations and have numerous Linked-In connections, some of whom I do not know personally. Relationships that are merely tangential in nature should not be considered to be those that might impact independence or impartiality.
I will disclose should I know that I have a personal, family, social or professional relationship with any person identified to me as associated with a new potential proceeding. Any interested parties should not rely on this website as representing a complete or updated resource for disclosure information. And any party in an arbitration where I am proposed as an arbitrator should disclose any information considered relevant to impartiality or independence as soon as that information is available. Any such party should conduct an ongoing reasonable search of publicly available information as soon as reasonably practicable after learning of my potential appointment.