Phone: (212) 715-9294

1177 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 10036

Michael Oberman



Current Employer:

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

Areas of Expertise:

✔ Appellate ✔ Commercial/Business
✔ Contract Disputes ✔ Copyrights
✔ Intellectual Property ✔ Partnerships
✔ Trademarks


Practice has focused on complex civil and commercial litigation as well as copyright litigation and arbitration law. Many of the commercial cases have involved a business relationship that did not work out as the parties hoped it would, leading to claims such as breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and/or tortious interference. Also experienced in the defense of securities law class actions and derivative actions. Most of the copyright cases have related to musical works, but cases have also involved video games, motion pictures, visual works of art, and computer software. Have served as an arbitrator since 1978 (see separate summary of some of the cases).

Work History:

Counsel (2016-present), Partner (1980-2015) and Associate (1973-79), Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP; currently, Counsel and head of ADR Practice Group. Law Clerk, Hon. Milton Pollack, U.S. District Court, SDNY, 1972-73.


Cases as arbitrator include: Sole arbitrator in multi-million dollar dispute involving pricing formula between supplier and purchaser of aviation parts; in multi-million dollar dispute involving breach of warranty/breach of contract claims between original equipment manufacturer and reseller of laptops over defects in laptops; in a case involving breach of contract/tort claims and counterclaims between franchisor and franchisee in apparel industry; in a case involving breach of contract claims/counterclaims related to licensed software; in a case determining ownership of television broadcasts between producer of an awards show and sponsor of the awards (see Variety, 8/4/03); in a case between parties to a LLC agreement over ownership of copyrighted pottery designs; in a case seeking dissolution of a limited partnership in the mining industry; and a dispute over legal fees. Panel member in consolidated case between a franchisor and over 30 sub-franchisors in food industry; a dispute alleging business torts between a compiler of data on recycled automobile parts and manufacturer of automobile part information systems; a dispute between former employees and their former employer over former employees’ new company; a breach of contract dispute arising from an exclusive sales representation for sale of designer clothes; a dispute over payments allegedly due under a license to exploit film and television properties; a dispute between deadlocked shareholders in a close corporation; a dispute involving patents on equipment to apply coatings to films, paper and foils; and a partnership dispute involving an accounting firm.


New York State Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section Commercial Arbitration Training (Faculty), 2011-16; ACE 02 - Pro Se: Managing Cases With Self-Represented Parties, 2017; ACE 08 - Principled Deliberations ~ Decision-Making Skills for Arbitrators, 2016; Confronting Arbitrability and Jurisdiction Issues in Arbitration, 2015; AAA, The Preliminary Hearing - Preliminary, But Not Just Procedural, 2014; AAA Developments In Arbitration Law: Disclosure, Vacatur, Sanctions, and Arbitrator Authority, 2013; CCA Annual Meeting, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015; AAA Managing the Arbitration Process for Efficiency & Economy Following the Preliminary Hearing, 2011; AAA Webinar, Arbitrator Boundaries: What are the Limits of Arbitrator Authority?, 2011; AAA Muscular Arbitration: Trimming the Fat Out of Arbitration, 2011; CPR Annual Meeting, 2011, 2010; CPR Winter Meeting, 2010, 2003; NY State Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section Annual Meeting, 2009-17, and Fall Meeting, 2010, 2008; ABA Section of Dispute Resolution’s 11th Annual Spring Conference, 2009; CPR Advanced Mediator Training, 2009; CPR, e-Discovery Orientation & Training for Neutrals, 2007; CIArb-CPR Advanced Arbitrator Training: How to Conduct Efficient Hearings and Avoid Common Pitfalls, 2007; AAA Chairing an Arbitration Panel: Managing Procedures, Process & Dynamics (ACE005), 2006; Interim Measures in Arbitration, 2006; AAA Arbitrator Ethics & Disclosure (ACE003), 2005; JAMS Resolution Centers, Award Writing Workshop, 2005; AAA Arbitration Awards: Safeguarding, Deciding & Writing Awards (ACE001), 2004; AAA Arbitrator Update 2004, 2003, 2001; AAA Commercial Arbitrator II Training: Advanced Case Management Issues, 2001; AAA Commercial Arbitrator Training, 2000; Southern District of New York Mediation Training, 1992, and Refresher Training, 2010; AAA Mediation Training.


Admitted to practice in the courts of New York, California and District of Columbia.

Admitted to the bars of the U.S. Supreme Court; Second, Fifth, Seventh and Ninth Circuits; Southern and Eastern Districts of New York; Northern, Central and Southern Districts of California.


New York State Bar Association (House of Delegates, Past Delegate; Section on Commercial and Federal Litigation, Executive Committee; Dispute Resolution Section); The New York Bar Foundation; American Bar Association (Litigation and Dispute Resolution Sections); Chief Judge’s Commercial Courts Task Force; New York City Bar (Copyright and Literary Property Committee)(four terms).


Columbia College, A.B. 1969; Harvard Law School, 1972


Co-author, "Venue, Forum Selection and Transfer," BUSINESS AND COMMERCIAL LITIGATION IN FEDERAL COURTS, 4th ed. 2016; author, "'The Other Shoe': Are Agreements Narrowing Judicial Review Enforceable?", 31 ALTERNATIVES, no. 5, p. 65, 2013; "Exceeding Powers--May an Arbitrator Amend a Contract as Part of an Award?", www.cpradr.org/Resources (Apr. 22, 2013): "Clarifying the Standard for Determining Arbitrator Bias," NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL, April 2, 2012; Interview, "Arbitration Law--One Issue Settled, Another Issue Still Percolating"; 20 THE METROPOLITAN CORPORATE COUNSEL, N.E. ed., no. 4 at 29; "The Hall Street Parade: State Courts Step Out and Consider Expanded Review of Arbitration Awards," NEW YORK DISPUTE RESOLUTION; LAWYER, Vol. 4, No. 3, Fall 2011, p. 23; "A passing tide: the receding phenomenon of class arbitrations after the Concepcion decision," IFLR Litigation & Dispute Resolution Guide, May 2011; co-author, "'Forum Selection' or 'Forum Shopping': Framing the Divide," NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL, Feb. 28, 2011;“Practice Points for Excluding Lost Profits Damages,” NY LITIGATOR, Winter 2009; “Practice Points for Forum Selection Clauses,” Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Newsletter (NYSBA), Fall 2009; Interview, “A ‘Switch-Hitter’ Looks at Current Arbitration Trends, “ 17 THE METROPOLITAN CORPORATE COUNSEL, N.E. ed., no. 8 at 18; Book review, ”Challenging Conflict: Mediation Through Understanding,” NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL, February 10, 2009; book review, “New York Contract Law,” LITIGATOR, Fall 2006; Book reviews, “New York Trial Notebook” and “Winning with Expert Witnesses in Commercial Litigation,” NY LITIGATOR, Spring 2006; coauthor, ”Venue, Forum Selection and Transfer,” BUSINESS AND COMMERCIAL LITIGATION IN FEDERAL COURTS, 2005 and 2010 update; interview, “A Practitioner Looks at Trends in ADR,” 13 THE METROPOLITAN CORPORATE COUNSEL, N.E. ed., no. 8 at 8; DVD/video review, “Preparing the Lay Witness for Deposition,” NY LITIGATOR, Fall 2004; book review, “Taking and Defending Depositions,” NY LITIGATOR, Fall 2004; “Does ‘The Apprentice’ Teach a New Mediation Model,” 22 ALTERNATIVES no. 5, p. 79, 2004; book review, “The Deposition Handbook-Fourth Edition” and “New York Evidence Handbook-Second Edition,” NY LITIGATOR, Winter 2003; “Mini-Summations Yield Benefits in Complex Multiday Cases,” 20 ALTERNATIVES no. 6, p. 107, 2002; book review, ”New York Civil Practice Before Trial,” NY LITIGATOR, Winter 2001; book review, ”Successful Partnering Between Inside and Outside Counsel,” NY LITIGATOR, Summer 2001; co-author, “Ward Off Forum Woes,” ABA JOURNAL, 65, March 1999; co-author, “Protecting Valuable 1P Franchises; Copyright Solution, “ NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL, October 30, November 6, and 13, 1998; “Publication of Musical Works - Settled Law Now Unsettled,” COPYRIGHT WORLD, p. 15, March 1996; coauthor, ”Copyright Protection for Photographs in the Age of New Technologies,” 2 B.U.J. SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY L. 10, 1996; “The Choice of Forum for a Commercial Litigation,” 65 NEW YORK STATE BAR JOURNAL, p. 28, May/June 1993; “Coping with Rising Caseload II: Defining the Frivolous Civil Appeal,” 49 BROOKLYN LAW REVIEW 1057, 1981; “Coping with Rising Caseload: A New Model for Appellate Review,” 46 BROOKLYN LAW REVIEW 841, 1980; “Copyright Protection of Computer-Produced Directories, “ 41 FORDHAM LAW REVIEW 767, 1973, 22 ASCAP COPYRIGHT LAW SYMPOSIUM 1, 1977.


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