September 26, 2017

Simone Lelchuk '10, JAMS and Weinstein Melnick LLC

Simone K. Lelchuk has been a mediator since 2014 at JAMS mediation and arbitration services and Weinstein Melnick LLC, a mediation firm specializing in large, complex, and high profile disputes in the United States and in Europe. As a mediator, Lelchuk works with two highly esteemed professionals: Judge Daniel Weinstein (Ret.), the recipient of Cardozo's 2014 International for Peace Advocate Award, and Cardozo alumnus Jed D. Melnick '99, a mediator who generously supports the annual Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution fall symposium.

Lelchuk's work entails mediating various matters, as well as reviewing party submissions, researching and reviewing relevant case law, and working with parties in advance of the mediation to ensure that parties are adequately prepared the day of their mediation. She is also responsible for conducting various post mediation efforts to resolve any outstanding matters that may present barriers to settlement. Lelchuk has mediated anti-trust cases, legal malpractice matters, contract disputes, mergers and acquisition litigation, personal injury and subprime litigation, and securities class actions.

Prior to working for JAMS and Weinstein Melnick LLC, Lelchuk was an associate at KPMG LLP (in the valuation group) from 2005 to 07 and an associate at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP from 2010-13. At Kasowitz, Lelchuk was a member of the bankruptcy group, and then she helped launch Kasowitz’s new real estate group.

As a law student at Cardozo, Lelchuk was president of the Cardozo Dispute Resolution Society, and she was also a participant in the Cardozo Mediation Clinic. She credits the Mediation Clinic with enabling her to gain invaluable experience in a field she was eventually to pursue. Through her clinical work, Lelchuk was able to participate in the mediation of actual cases in the Brooklyn Community Mediation Center and the New York City Small Claims Court. She also furthered her ADR classroom experience and enhanced her mediation and negotiations skills by joining the Intensive Mediation Advocacy Program (IMAP) and taking the Negotiation Theory and Skills course.

Her advice to current students who are motivated to pursue a career in ADR is first to focus on the field in which they are most interested by obtaining expertise in many facets of that respective arena. Lelchuk explains that students need to understand that ADR (including mediation) is a very broad field and to be successful in it one needs to develop a professional niche. Once a student identifies that specific sphere, the student should then seek opportunities to gain exposure in it. According to Lelchuk, in order to have credibility in one’s chosen field, it takes time and effort. She asserts that the best advice she can give to all students, especially those interested in pursuing a career in mediation, is to be persistent and patient.