Edward Lenci

Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP

Edward K. Lenci focuses on the litigation and arbitration of complex business/commercial disputes, including those involving reinsurance and business process services, and the defense of businesses sued in class action lawsuits.

He has considerable appellate experience, too, including a class action defense victory in the U.S. Supreme Court involving a class action waiver in a student loan’s arbitration clause.

Drawing on his extensive experience with domestic and international arbitration, Mr. Lenci has drafted arbitration clauses tailored to the unique needs of a variety of clients. He chairs Hinshaw’s reinsurance practice as well.

He has spoken around the world and written about a variety of topics relating to arbitration of disputes and reinsurance, and the media has quoted him concerning arbitration of disputes, Brexit, foreign sovereign immunity, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Prior to joining Hinshaw, Mr. Lenci was a founding partner of Wilker & Lenci, LLP, a well-regarded New York City boutique firm which focused on business litigations and arbitrations, particularly international arbitrations and reinsurance disputes.

Before that, he was a partner in the New York City office of a large international firm and had earlier worked at New York City’s Marks & Murase. He began his legal career while in law school when he interned in 1988 at Hamada & Matsumoto in Tokyo, where he worked closely with The Honorable Kunio Hamada, later a Justice of the Supreme Court of Japan.

Professional Affiliations :

  • Law360 International Arbitration Editorial Advisory Board
  • Senior Vice Chair (World-Wide Chapters), New York State Bar Association International Section
  • Co-Chair, ARIAS-U.S. International Committee
  • New York State Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section
  • District of Columbia Bar Association

Representative Matters : While at Hinshaw, Mr. Lenci was the lead attorney for a student loan servicer in a series of class action lawsuits in which he and his team achieved the following notable results:

  • Business Litigations and Arbitrations, Class Action Defense, and Appeals
    • An order of the U.S. Supreme Court, vacating and remanding a decision of a federal Court of Appeals, which had held that a class action waiver in the promissory note’s arbitration clause was unenforceable.
    • A decision permitting the loan servicer, under the doctrine of estoppel, to invoke a class action waiver in a loan’s arbitration clause even though the servicer was not itself a party to the promissory note.
    • Decisions transferring venue of purported class actions against the loan servicer.

He is the lead attorney defending a producer of all-natural honey in a federal class action lawsuit arising from the producer’s use of the word “natural” on its labels. Mr. Lenci’s other representative cases include the following :

  • He was the lead attorney in a federal trial in which he successfully defended one of the world’s largest providers of business process services against contractual claims asserted by a colocation facility, winning a trial verdict dismissing all claims.
  • He successfully pursued multimillion dollar claims under CERCLA and an indemnity agreement on behalf of a Chilean conglomerate and its U.S. subsidiary after five industrial sites they acquired from a Fortune 100 company in the 1990s became the subject of environmental actions and investigations by federal and state authorities.
  • In the bankruptcy case of Pali Capital, a once prominent investment bank, he secured an order that stayed the New York adversary proceeding in favor of arbitration in Los Angeles.

Mr. Lenci is well-known for his appellate advocacy. His victories, one as noted in the U.S. Supreme Court, include the following :

  • AiNET Corp. v. Xerox State & Local Sols., Inc., 739 Fed. App’x. 68, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 28611 (2d Cir. Oct. 18, 2018) (denying plaintiff’s appeal of the district court’s decision that the defendant properly terminated its subcontract with plaintiff and cancelled a work order).
  • Breitman v. Xerox Educ. Servs., 2d Cir. Docket No. 15-185 (2d Cir. Mar. 24, 2015) (denying plaintiff’s appeal under Rule 23(f), Fed. R. Civ. Pr., from the lower court’s decision not to certify the purported class).
  • Mutual Marine Offices, Inc., et al. v. Banco de Seguros del Estado, 344 F.3d 255 (2d Cir. 2003) (convinced a federal Court of Appeals that an insurer owned by the government of Uruguay had waived sovereign immunity).
  • Curiale v. AIG Multi-Line Syndicate, Inc., et al., 640 N.Y.S.2d 18 (N.Y. App. 1996) (convinced a New York state appellate court that a reinsurer was entitled to rescission).

Intellectual Property and Restrictive Covenants :

  • Oona Tropeano Expressions, Inc. v. Studio Chevalier, Ltd., et al., 04 CV 8887 (S.D.N.Y. 2007). Mr. Lenci won dismissal of a copyright infringement claim that a U.S. designer brought against a Canadian custom printing company. He followed up this victory by recouping most of the attorneys’ fees his client expended.
  • The Health Consultants Group v. Dailey, 2004 U.S. Dist. Lexis 23718 (S.D.N.Y. 2004). Mr. Lenci tried a case in federal court resulting in the issuance of an injunction against a former employee of a Connecticut-based health insurance broker, enforcing the terms of a restrictive covenant. Mr. Lenci’s skillful cross-examination of the former employee resulted in the trial judge’s observations that the testimony was “contradictory,” “evasive,” and “confused, tortured and generally less than credible.”
  • Successfully defended a well-known financial-services entrepreneur in a federal lawsuit brought by his former employer, a large financial institution, which sought to enjoin the use of its alleged trade secrets and intellectual property and enforce a restrictive covenant.

Education :

  • J.D., honors awarded, Columbia University School of Law, 1990
  • ICU, Tokyo, Japan, 1986.
  • B.A., summa cum laude, Fordham University, 1985

Admissions :

  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern, Northern, and Southern Districts of New York


Rate : $$$

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