Alumni profile - Peter Halprin
In my primary role, I am a Partner in the New York office of Pasich LLP. My Grandmother and my Grandfather were both lawyers and had their own legal practice together; my Father is a retired Judge and my Sister is a prosecutor in Boston so I guess you could say that there is something in our blood!
What did you study at Queen Mary and what are you doing now? At Queen Mary I obtained a Postgraduate Distance Learning Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration, International and Comparative Commercial Arbitration. I work as an insurance counsellor to policyholders, an arbitrator, an Adjunct Professor of Law teaching international commercial arbitration, coach of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot team, and a faculty member of the Global Cyber Institute teaching cyberinsurance.
In my primary role, I am a Partner in the New York office of Pasich LLP. In that role, I represent commercial policyholders in complex insurance coverage matters with a focus on recovery strategies in relation to cybercrime, natural disasters, professional services, regulatory investigations, and technology disputes. I act as counsel for U.S. and foreign companies in domestic and international arbitrations, including both ad hoc (ARIAS, Bermuda Form, London) as well as institutional (AAA, ICC, ICDR, JAMS, LCIA) arbitration forums. Over the course of my career, I have arbitrated, litigated, and mediated claims involving a broad range of insurance policies and recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance proceeds for policyholders.
As an arbitrator, I have served as both a party-appointed and a sole arbitrator. I am also a Fellow in the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Asian Institute of Alternative Dispute Resolution. I am also a Member of the AAA National Roster of Arbitrators.
You have a variety of roles beside your primary role as a Partner of Pasich LLP. What do you enjoy doing the most and why? Each role provides me with something different. My work as a Professor is highly rewarding as I get to work with students and help them to shape their careers. This love of teaching and mentorship goes back to high school where I was on the debate team and served as a Novice Director training new recruits in the art of debate. As counsel, I help clients with insurance issues to resolve those issues. For companies that suffered property losses, for example, this money helps them rebuild and get back on their feet. As an arbitrator, I try to create a fair process for the disputants and to reach a just result.
Considering your multiple roles, how do you find the time to juggle them all? Good question! This one is hard to answer. In addition to what we discussed professionally, I am also the father of twenty-one-month-old twins. I’ve learned to be very productive in the evening and now find that some of my best thoughts and ideas come to me at late hours. It is also when, to relax, I do my best vacation planning.
Can you describe the feeling when you win an insurance case for one of your clients? Jubilation. Getting a good result for a client is always the goal as counsel.
Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary? What do you think is unique about Queen Mary compared to other universities? I was looking for a strong international arbitration program which would allow me to further my studies whilst also permitting me to continue my work as an associate at a law firm in New York. Queen Mary offered the perfect balance of both distance learning and a number of in-person seminars. The distance learning program also included fantastic professors such as Loukas Mistelis, Stavros Brekoulakis, and Norah Gallagher.
I also chose Queen Mary given the fact that London is the centre of financial services and dispute resolution. Distance learning provided me with the platform to visit this hub and by extension London and this, in turn, helped me to build and grow my professional network. I was able to have coffee with my professors and peers during my visits to London and then walk down the street to have lunch with solicitors and barristers that I worked with on active matters – this combination is hard to find elsewhere. Queen Mary really is in a prime location.
What are the benefits of Distance Learning with Queen Mary? You are able to get a truly world class education from a world class University all the while being a practitioner. I was able to continue working as a junior lawyer in a demanding practice whilst completing my studies. I wouldn’t have been able to complete my studies under any other circumstances so I am very grateful to Queen Mary for that. Through distance learning, you also get to converse with and learn from top professors and students. Through my contact hours I was still able to feel a part of the University and the Queen Mary community.
Did you face any difficulties studying whilst working? How did you overcome these difficulties? The obvious difficulty was time management given the fact I was working in a full-time job, however, distance learning is designed to be flexible so this helped to alleviate some of the pressure. To maximize my time, I had to be proactive and plan for the semester. For example, for one module we had to write five out of a possible seven essays over the course of the semester. Accordingly, I tried to do those writings when I had lighter stretches at work.
One challenge that I experienced was the fact that the final award writing exam took place over forty-eight hours tethered to London time so I lost a bit of time, given the difference, being in New York. I was, however, able to get it done in time!
How did your time and study at Queen Mary help your career and development? While I received innumerable benefits from my studies at Queen Mary, I think there were three primary ways in which it advanced my career and development. Firstly, the faculty and my fellow students were fantastic and I have stayed in touch with them. The world of international arbitration is small and these contacts have proved invaluable. Secondly, the Queen Mary School of International Arbitration is well-known across the world. Having completed my studies here, it has opened doors both in London and around the world. Thirdly, in addition to assisting in honing my knowledge of international arbitration, the program offered entry into the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
Is there any advice you would give to current students or recent graduates considering their career options? In the wise words of my now late grandmother, it is the world of the owl – “Who, Who, Who.” In other words, it is all about personal relationships. As such, it is essential that students start to build a network in their field of interest as early as possible. And not just to go to events and see people from time-to-time, but to make the effort to build real friendships and relationships. Relationships, like plants, need to be cultivated and watered to grow.
Nowadays, we live in such a globalised world where it is so easy to connect using platforms such as LinkedIn. But a LinkedIn connection may offer very little in the way of a real connection absent some offline efforts. As noted in my arbitrator disclosures, I routinely accept LinkedIn requests from those in the field without much thought.
I know from personal experience that when law firms are hiring for a position, they can receive staggering amounts of applications for a single vacancy. Knowing someone on the inside can help a law student differentiate themselves from the crowd. Students should plan ahead whilst they are in University to try and make relationships with individuals in the places they aspire to work at in the future.
Why is it exciting to do what you do? When I was in law school in New York, I tried a lot of different legal experiences to try to find the right “fit.” In the end, the perfect combination was to do insurance coverage work for policyholders with a focus on international arbitration and, when requested to do so, to serve as an arbitrator. Insurance touches on all aspects of business and law, and is heavily influenced by global events. This keeps the practice interesting and stimulating. Right now, I am very focused on the intersection between insurance and dispute resolution, and trying to come up with ways to make the resolution of disputes more efficient. As part of that charge, I had the honour of working with policyholder lawyers, insurance company lawyers, arbitrators and the members of ARIAS-US to draft the new ARIAS-US Panel Rules for the Resolution of Insurance and Contract Disputes. The new rules became effective on September 16, 2019, and it will be very exciting to see them in action.*
What was so special about your time at Queen Mary? Can you give one or two examples of your most memorable moments? Two of my most memorable moments actually involve times after I completed my studies. My first memorable moment occurred when I was in London for business and met with one of my former Professors for a drink. He had a very special guest with him and we had the most fascinating conversation. It was a conversation that I could not have participated in without having studied international arbitration in the depth that it was taught at Queen Mary.
The other memorable moment involves one of my classmates who I keep running into around the world. Most recently, I was attending the Leading Arbitrators’ Symposium and she was one of the panellists! It was a remarkable coincidence and so nice to see her there.
Based on your above answers, it appears that you have been fortunate enough to travel the world for your job. Where has been your favourite place to work so far? I am actually based in New York for my job but my cases come from all different parts all over the world. However, when I was a junior lawyer, I travelled to Germany to act on behalf of a client, stopping off in Cologne and Munich. I was fortunate enough, at the client’s direction and with his involvement, to spare some time for sightseeing whilst I was there which was a real treat. Most business trips are far from glamorous and you may not see much more than a conference room.
Do you have any role models that you look up to, both inside and outside of your field? My Grandmother. She would be embarrassed for me to say this but she graduated from law school in 1937 and lived to nearly 104 years old. She was smart, independent, a world traveller and the consummate New Yorker.
You mentioned that your Grandmother graduated from law school in 1937, is there a history in your family of your members similarly studying and practising law? My Grandmother and my Grandfather were both lawyers and had their own legal practice together; my Father is a retired Judge and my Sister is a prosecutor in Boston so I guess you could say that there is something in our blood! We clearly enjoy problem solving and we are all driven by a sense of justice and fairness and a passion to make the world a better place.
*To read Peter's commentaries on these new rules, visit: