Marc R. Lieberman

(480)-429-7103
Senior Partner
(480) 429-5001 Fax
Marc.Lieberman@KutakRock.com

Mr. Lieberman's practice focuses on representation of government retirement systems in connection with their alternative investments.

Professional Experience:

Mr. Lieberman joined Kutak Rock in 2006. He has served as outside general, investment and fiduciary counsel for many large statewide public pension plans, including the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System, the Elected Officials’ Retirement Plan and the Corrections Officer Retirement Plan. He has also represented the City of Phoenix Employees’ Retirement System, the Texas Municipal Retirement System and the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, among other plans. He is currently assisting the Navajo Nation and Illinois Pre-Paid Tuition Trust Fund and Illinois Student Assistance Commission in connection with alternative investment matters, and the Arizona State Retirement System, CalPERS, Mass Prim, the City of Los Angeles and the Virginia Retirement System have recently retained Mr. Lieberman as investment counsel. He handles most of the legal work attendant to several of his plan clients, and has also represented these plans in a wide variety of litigation. In addition to the various public plans, Mr. Lieberman has represented numerous private pension plans in ERISA litigation, and obtained the first published decision in the Ninth Circuit that awarded a plan its fees against a benefit claimant, something unheard of in benefit cases. He just obtained the largest defense verdict in the United States for the past year ending January 31, 2017, defeating a $200 million claim and obtaining a $4+ million defense award.

Mr. Lieberman has also served as principal outside counsel for the State of Arizona Defined Contribution Plan and the Peace Officer and Fire Fighters’ Cancer Insurance Program. He drafted the plan documents for those plans and obtained the private letter rulings from the IRS authorizing each of those plans to take certain contemplated action. He regularly drafts legislation for his plan clients, and issues numerous legal opinions for these clients as well. Several administrators of the plans have recognized him as one of “the most knowledgeable and experienced public pension lawyer in this State.”

A Certified Specialist in Real Estate Law, Mr. Lieberman regularly documents real estate investments of his state public pension clients. Currently, those investments include office buildings, health spas, master planned communities, hotels, golf courses, shopping centers, convenience store/gas stations, restaurants, historic renovations, raw land and condominium towers throughout the United States, amounting to more than $1.5 billion. He has also documented scores of land banking transactions and, to date, he and his team have negotiated over $3 billion in private equity and hedge deals.

Mr. Lieberman currently serves as a member of the Arizona Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness. He is a former member of the Arizona Judicial Review Performance Commission, past Chair of the Appellate Section of the State Bar of Arizona and past Chair of the Editorial Board of Arizona Attorney Magazine. He is a frequent lecturer on appellate and public pension issues, and has written numerous articles on a wide variety of legal topics, including a book on consumer rights and remedies.

Mr. Lieberman is also a member of the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys and its SEC subcommittee, and regularly attends that body’s meetings to stay apprised of all developments in the areas of public and private pension plans.

Publications:

Mr. Lieberman has authored the following books and articles on the law, as well as the following Model Rules of Procedure adopted by various retirement systems:

  • “Risk Management for Return Enhancement,” Risk Magazine (February 2016). (Text available from publisher.)
  • “What Me Worry? What Contributions Qualify as ‘Proceeds of Municipal Securities’ for Purposes of the Municipal Advisors Rule.” Benefits Magazine (Web Exclusive) (October 2014).
  • "Modern Pension Fund Diversification," Journal of Asset Management, Vol. 15, issue 3, July 2014.
  • "From Sow's Ear to Silk Purse: Transformation of the Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System," Benefits Magazine, (June 2014).
  • "Impact of GASB's New Pension Rules on Government Bond Ratings," Pension & Investments magazine, April 14, 2014.
  • "Cities' Pension Obligations Get More Public Exposure Under New Rules," Arizona Capitol Times (January 2014).
  • “American Companies Abroad—Complying With The New U.K. Bribery Act,” Arizona Attorney (March 2012).
  • “The Deal is in Delaware-Why Should I Demand Compliance with the UK Bribery Act?,” February 2012 NAPPA Report.
  • “Need Business? Look Over Your Shoulder,” Attorney at Law Magazine (January 2012).
  • “A U.K. Act’s Impact on U.S. Investors,” Pensions & Investments Magazine (December 26, 2011).
  • “Key Issues in Securing Investment Managers,” Benefits Magazine (September 2011).
  • “The Forgotten Founder,” Arizona Attorney (July 2011).
  • “The Necessity Of Investigating Investment Management,” February, 2010 NAPPA Report.
  • “Social Security: Finding Ways to Fill the Gap,” East Valley/Scottsdale Tribune (August 2005).
  • “The Jig Is Up! The Death of Gamesmanship,” Arizona Attorney (March 2005).
  • “The $5,000 Complaint: Why the Rule in Creasy’s Case May Signal Adoption of UPL Legislation,” Arizona Attorney (June 2001).
  • “The Enemy Within: Detecting and Fighting Administrator Fraud,” Arizona Attorney (January 2001).
  • “Learned Hand for a Day: The Rewards of Division One’s Pro-Tem Program,” Arizona Attorney (June 1997).
  • “Your Rights as a Consumer: Legal Tips for Savvy Purchases of Goods, Services and Credit,” Career Press (2d Ed.).
  • “The Case for Hate Crime Legislation,” Arizona Attorney (March 1996).
  • “Eek! Run for Your Lives! It’s the Equity Suckers! Don’t Get Bitten by This Latest Bankruptcy Beast,” Arizona Attorney (November 1993).
  • “The Refinancing Trap: The Hidden Peril of Refinancing Home Mortgage Debt,” Arizona Attorney (May 1993).
  • “COLA Wars: The Ongoing Battle to Eliminate Cost-Of-Living Adjustments to the Pensions of Arizona Retirees,” Arizona Attorney (June 1991).
  • “The Five Bases of Third-Party Lender Liability: Let the Lender Beware,” Arizona Attorney (February 1991).
  • “Overtime Compensation v. Pension Benefits: Will Arizona Public Employees Be Denied One to Achieve the Other?,” State Bar of Arizona CLE Monograph (1986).
  • “The Happy Demise of Constructive Incorporation,” Arizona Bar Journal (October 1986).
  • “Illinois Multi-State Plaintiff Class Actions: Abrogation of Jurisdictional Limitations on State Sovereignty,” 31 DePaul Law Review 471 (1982).
  • Model Uniform Rules of Local Board Procedure for the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System.
  • Model Uniform Rules of Local Board Procedure for the Corrections Officer Retirement Plan.

Recent Lectures:

  • “GOTCHA!!! The SEC’s New Initiative to Scrutinize Private Fund Managers – What Investors and Managers Need to Know,” Public Funds Summit East (July 2015).
  • “Funds, Fees and Affiliates (Oh, My!)—SEC OCIE’s Examination of the Private Fund World (What They Found and what it Means for Public Plans),” National Association of Public Pension Attorneys (NAPPA) Legal Education Conference, Austin, Texas (June 2015).
  • “Alternative Mutual Funds: Compliance and risk Management in 2015 Explored!,” The Knowledge Group Webinar (March 2015).
  • “Legal Issues for Pension Plans,” Public Funds Summit (January 2015).
  • “Options for Governments to Obtain Relief From Pension Liabilities Post Fields,” Pension Task Force (October 2014).
  • “Legal and Compliance Trends for Alternative Investments,” Investment Trends Summit (September 2014).
  • "Options for Governments to Obtain Relief From Pension Liabilities Post Fields," Arizona League of Cities and Towns (August 2014).
  • "Legal Threats and Challenges for International Investment," NAPPA, June 2014.
  • “'Salary’ on Steroids,” NAPPA (June 2013).
  • “Legal Threats And Challenges Facing Public Pension Systems,” Phoenix, Arizona (February 2012).
  • “Issues In Securing New Investment Management,” Las Vegas, Nevada (April 2011).
  •  "Kafka Unwound: The Sad Legal Legacy of Theodore Kaczynski" (September 2008).
  • “Trustees’ Duties Upon Discovery Possible Fraud,” Las Vegas, Nevada (February 2006).
  • “Understanding Your Fiduciary Responsibility,” Phoenix, Arizona (January 2006).
  • “Third Annual Supreme Court Review,” State Bar of Arizona (April 2005).
  • “2004 Appellate Highlights,” Working With the Arizona Court of Appeals (November 2004).
  • “Land Use Law: Development, Regulation and Environmental Issues,” CLE International (October 1997).
  • “The Reach of Impact Fees,” National Conference, League of Cities (September 1997).
  • “Land Use Law: Development, Regulation and Environmental Issues,” CLE International (December 1996).
  • “The Ethics of Life, Death, Care and Creation: A Roundtable of Bio Medical Ethical Conundrums,” Seminar Chair (March 1991).
  • “The Inns and Outs of Appellate Special Actions,” State Bar of Arizona Seminar on “Working with the Arizona Court of Appeals” (November 2006).

Relevant Cases:

Mr. Lieberman has successfully prosecuted and defended scores of appeals for various state agencies, municipalities and corporations in Arizona. Two of the arguments he presented were televised. Some of the most noteworthy are:

  • Home Builders Ass’n v. City of Scottsdale, 187 Ariz. 479, 930 P.2d 993, cert. denied, 521 U.S. 1120 (1997)
  • Thurston v. Judge’s Retirement Plan, 177 Ariz. 428, 868 P.2d 1011 (App. 1993), rev’d, 179 Ariz. 49, 876 P.2d 545 (1994)
  • McClead v. Pima County, 174 Ariz. 348, 849 P.2d 1378 (App. 1992)
  • Siporin v. Carrington, 200 Ariz. 97, 12 P.3d 92 (App. 2001)
  • Parada v. Parada, 196 Ariz. 428, 999 P.2d 184 (2000)
  • Alexander v. Fund Manager, 166 Ariz. 589, 804 P.2d 122 (App. 1990)
  • Arizona Board of Regents v. State, 160 Ariz. 150, 771 P.2d 880 (App. 1989)
  • Wills v. Pima County PSPRS Board, 154 Ariz. 435, 743 P.2d 944 (App. 1987)
  • Norton v. Arizona Department of Public Safety, 150 Ariz. 303, 723 P.2d 652 (1986)
  • Fund Manager v. City of Phoenix, 151 Ariz. 487, 728 P.2d 1237 (App. 1986)
  • City of Phoenix v. Fields, 234 Ariz. 214, 320 P.3d 1160 (2014)

Miscellaneous:

  • Author, Sign of the Anasazi (Emerald Books, 2009) (novel)
  • Author, Your Rights as a Consumer: Legal Tips for Savvy Purchases of Goods, Services and Credit (Time Warner Press, 2nd ed.)
  • Crewmember, LaSalle Expedition II (bicentennial re-creation of LaSalle’s 3,300-mile canoe trek from Montreal to the Gulf of Mexico), documented in The Last Voyageurs, Lorraine Boissoneault (Simon and Shuster, 2016); and Hard Rivers, Craig Howard (River Grove Books, 2016).
  • Summit: Mt. Kilimanjaro (Tanzania); Mt. Lares (Peru). Torre del Paine (Chile/Argentina)