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 where he oversaw all legal and regulatory matters and had global responsibility for public policy, compliance, and government regulations and served as Corporate Secretary. In addition to his role as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, he also was Chief Franchise Officer a role in which he oversaw a number of business functions, including licensing, franchise rules, fraud prevention and detection, security (information and physical) diversity and philanthropy.
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 many hundreds of 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 judgment, 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.”
Mr. Hanft’s enthusiasm for ADR, and effectiveness as an advocate in 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, a Member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, 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 and Employment Arbitration panels, is both a FINRA arbitrator and mediator, and is also on the NAM, Second Circuit, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Southern District, New York and New York State Commercial Division Mediation panels. Mr. Hanft also serves on both the arbitration and mediation panels for the Eastern District of New York. Mr. Hanft has sat on a number of arbitration panels, both as a chair and a panelist, on AAA, FINRA and Eastern District, New York cases. These disputes included matters arising in a variety of industries and on subject matters including, commercial, employment, financial services, construction and investment cases. He has also mediated a wide breadth of cases, including commercial, employment, intellectual property, securities, construction, insurance, bankruptcy and civil rights cases. Mr. Hanft also provides consulting services to companies and law firms on settlement strategies and dispute resolution as well as executive coaching for general counsels.
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.
Mr. Hanft was recruited by the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (“CPR”) and joined as President & Chief Executive Officer in 2014. During his tenure the organization experienced extraordinary growth and recognition around the world. It developed new arbitration rules and protocols and was recognized by Global Arbitration Review with its Innovation Award for its “Screened Selection Process” related to arbitrator selection. Mr. Hanft has lectured extensively on arbitration, mediation and dispute prevention throughout the United States, Europe and Brazil.
In July of 2019, he co-founded AcumenADR LLC. In addition to serving as an arbitrator and mediator, Mr. Hanft consults with companies on dispute prevention and resolution matters. He recently served as a settlement strategist and helped frame a resolution of multiple product liability class actions faced by a global healthcare, chemical and agricultural firm. He also provides executive coaching services specializing in assisting general counsels and senior in-house counsel and consults on best practices developing and managing dynamic law departments.
Served as an arbitrator (Chair, panelist, sole arbitrator) in approximately 20 arbitrations since launch of AcumenADR and, as a mediator, in approximately 160 mediations since 2012. As an advocate handled arbitrations and mediations as General Counsel and Chief Litigation Officer over the course of several decades. Managed arbitrations under institutional rules of different organizations and served as both a private mediator and court certified mediator. Representative subject matters include:
Commercial: numerous disputes stemming from a vast array of contracts including, breaches of warranty, misrepresentations, fraud, failure to pay, wrongful termination, UCC violations, unjust enrichment, secured transactions
Employment: age, sex, disability and sexual orientation discrimination claims, non-competes, non-solicitations, executive compensation, sexual harassment, hostile workplace, FLSA, breach of employment contract
Financial: bank/customer, forgeries, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, guarantees, broker commissions, hedge fund, payment defaults
Intellectual Property: trademark infringement, trade name, dilution, false advertising, trade secret, grey goods, copyright infringement, royalties, licensing, patent infringement
Partnerships, Joint Ventures and LLCs: breach of fiduciary duties, mismanagement, removal of partners, accounting
Construction and Real Estate: general contractor/subcontractor disputes, commercial construction eviction, delay damages, unjust enrichment
Securities: fraud, 10b-5, broker/customer claims, breach of fiduciary duties, negligence
Antitrust: price-fixing, monopolization, tying, exclusionary practices
Insurance: Coverage, maritime, property and casualty, fire
Civil Rights: false arrest, wrongful imprisonment
Bankruptcy: adversary proceedings
Hospitality: partnership and joint venture disputes, restaurants, hotels
Environmental: nuclear engineering
As a Neutral:
Over a 10 month period, involving scores of virtual and face to face mediation sessions, drove a creative resolution of a highly publicized, complex nuclear engineering dispute between public utility and large global engineering and manufacturing company involving disposition of massive quantity of nuclear equipment stemming from adversary proceeding in bankruptcy.
Resolution of bitter multi-million dollar dispute between members of an LLC in food distribution business involving allegations of fraud, misrepresentations and breach of fiduciary duty arising from ouster of CEO of food delivery company.
Mediated trademark dispute brought by manufacturer against distributor of grey goods alleging claims of dilution, false designation of origin and false advertising with counterclaims of commercial disparagement.
Resolution of sexual harassment claim brought by female construction worker against large construction company.
Mediated litigations in both state and federal courts involving complex securities/commercial dispute brought by wealthy family fund against the principals of failed hedge fund with allegations of violations of 10(b)-5 of the Securities Act, fraudulent inducement, negligent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment.
Obtained partial resolution of maritime insurance dispute between carriers stemming from grounding of oil barges.
Resolved sexual orientation discrimination claim brought by schoolteacher against N.Y.C. Board of Education.
Resolution of trademark dispute between two real estate investment firms with similar names through successful management of interest based negotiation giving rise to unique disposition.
Resolution of age discrimination claim brought by teacher against highly regarded educational institution.
Resolution of seven different cases with claims against multiple credit bureaus and furnishers for Fair Credit Reporting Act violations, many involving mixed files,
Mediated insurance dispute between meat company and carrier arising from failure to honor policy and reimburse insured for damages caused by fire alleged to be arson.
Resolution of complex multi-party construction contract dispute involving waste-water treatment and disposal facility.
Resolution of multi-million dollar dispute between investment bank and large on-line placement firm relating to entitlement for compensation under contract for assistance in exploration of acquisition opportunities and strategic options.
Resolution of disability discrimination and retaliation claim brought by school teacher against religious institution.
1/28/21 - CPR Annual Meeting- Simulation on Corporate Use of Dispute Prevention to Avoid Disputes
11/20/20 - “Workshop on Conducting Virtual Arbitrations,” Eastern District, N.Y.
9/9/20 - “Uh Oh, There’s a New CEO in Town,” BarkerGilmore
7/17/20 - “How to Say ‘No’ to the CEO…,” BarkerGilmore
6/30/20 - “The Imperative of Dispute Prevention.” ABA Town Hall
11/5/19 - IACCM, “Innovation in Dispute Resolution,” Phoenix, Arizona
11/6/19 - IACCM, “Dispute Prevention Workshop,” Phoenix, Arizona
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
Quoted or Referenced in the Following:
1/19/20 - “How Prevention Can Reduce Conflict and Preserve Relationships” – Theory of Change Symposium
11/13/19 - "Legal executive search firm hires former MasterCard Worldwide GC…" - Canadian Lawyer
11/12/19 - "BarkerGilmore Adds Longtime Mastercard General Counsel to Its Senior Advisor Slate" - Law.com, Corporate Counsel
10/18/19 - "Do Megaverdicts Show That Juries Have Become More Unpredictable?" - New York Law Journal
6/17/19 - "Former General Counsels of MasterCard & 3M Create AcumenADR LLC to Serve as Arbitrators and Mediators and Offer Dispute Resolution Services" - PR Newswire
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
6/4/19 - A Conversation with Noah Hanft (CEDR-Video)
4/10/19 - “CPR Gives New Life to Arbitration” - CDR Magazine
3/18/19 - “360 Degrees of Perspective with Noah Hanft” - Kluwer Arbitration Blog
3/1/19 - “Moving the Needle on Diversity: A Conversation with Noah Hanft” - MCCA Diversity and the Bar
12/23/18 - “5 Dispute Resolution Resolutions for Business in 2019” - CPR
12/17/18 - “Jay-Z Adds Star Power to Diversity Concerns” - Law 360
5/21/18 - “Supreme Court Approves Class Action Waivers” - Society for Human Resources Management
1/29/18 - “3 Misconceptions GCs Hold About International Arbitration” - Law 360
5/26/17 - “Leading General Counsel Mull Over Mediation” - Corporate Counsel
6/15/17 - “NLJ Honors Noah Hanft As ADR Champion”- National Law Journal
8/25/16 - “Noah Hanft on What’s Next in Conflict Resolution” - Levick Blog
5/31/16 - “Can Mediation Take Hold in Europe?”- GC Grapevine
Selected Publications (Bylines)
8/8/19 - "Interview on WorkplaceTV"- The Granderson Group
5/16/19 - “The Future and Development of Mediation,” – London, U.K. (Video)
11/27/17 - “Application of Corporate Dispute Resolution to World Conflicts”- New York Law Journal
3/20/17 - “Making Diversity Happen” - New York Law Journal
7/9/16 - “Turning Conflict to Commerce”- CEO.com
3/2/16 - “Future of ADR in Business”- McGill Journal of Dispute Resolution
11/13/15 - “A New Scarlet ‘A’? Not So Fast - Law 360
4/16/15 - “A Winning Strategy: Redefine The Term” - Law 360
3/24/15 - “10 Arbitration Myths and Realities for Corporate Counsel”- Inside Counsel Magazine
10/13/14 - “In Arbitration, Judge Thyself, Not the Process”- Corporate Counsel Magazine
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.