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Marc R. Lieberman


As Chair of the Firm’s Institutional Investments Group, Marc’s practice focuses on the representation of institutional investors in connection with their alternative investments.

Marc has served as outside general, investment and fiduciary counsel for many large statewide public pension plans throughout the United States.  He has also represented numerous public pension plans, sovereign wealth funds, insurers and banks in connection with their alternative investments.  Several administrators of state-wide pension systems have recognized him as one of “the most knowledgeable and experienced public pension lawyer in this State.”

A Board Certified Specialist in Real Estate Law, Marc regularly documents real estate investments of his 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 Group have negotiated over $10 billion in private equity and hedge deals, documenting an average of $350 million of these transactions monthly.

Marc previously served 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, a former Judge Pro Tem on the Arizona Court of Appeals, and past Chair of the Editorial Board of Arizona Attorney Magazine. He is a frequent lecturer on investment related issues, and has written numerous articles on investment topics.

In addition to the various public plans, Marc 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 recently obtained one of the largest defense verdicts in the United States for the year ending January 31, 2017, defeating a $200 million claim and obtaining a $4.9 million defense award.

Speaking Engagements
  • "Anti Money Laundering and Know Your Client Laws," ILPA Legal Conference, Washington, DC (October 2022)
  • Ethics: “Who’s Your Client? How Hercules Slays the Hydra,” 2022 NAPPA Conference, Louisville, KY (June 2022) 
  • “The Future of Capital Markets,” Institute for Portfolio Alternatives and Canadian Association of Alternative Strategies and Assets, Webinar (November 2020)
  • “Fiduciary Duties Explained,” NAPPA Legal Education Conference, San Diego (June 2019)
  • “Removal of General Partners—Untying the Gordian Knot,” NAPPA Legal Education Conference, San Diego (June 2019)
  • “Remedies: Make Sure You’re Protected from Downside Risk in Your Partnership Agreement,” ILPA Conference, Washington, DC (April 2019)
  • “Infrastructure and In-Kind Contributions,” National Council on Teacher Retirement Webinar (March 2019)
  • “Trustee Core and Fiduciary Duties,” Arizona PSPRS Annual Meeting (with Tom Hickey, Foley and Lardner, LLP) (September 2018)
  • “International Investment Regulation—What the Authorities are Doing and How They Work Together to Protect Investors,” NAPPA Legal Education Conference (June 2018)
  • “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 & Affiliates (Oh My!)—SEC OCIE’s Examination of the Private Fund World (What They Found and What It Means for Public Plans),” NAPPA (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)
  • “Public Sector Pension Reform,” Phoenix, Arizona (April 2012)
  • “Legal Threats And Challenges Facing Public Pension Systems,” Phoenix, Arizona (February 2012)
  • “Issues In Securing New Investment Management,” Las Vegas, Nevada (April 2011)
  • “Trustees’ Duties Upon Discovery of Possible Fraud,” Las Vegas, Nevada (February 2006)
  • “Understanding Your Fiduciary Responsibility,” Phoenix, Arizona (January 2006) 
  • "Arizona May Have Nudged US Law Firms Toward Future IPOs," Law360, January 19, 2021.
  • "Gov't Retirement Plans Should Approach ESG Cautiously," (co-author), Law360, September 9, 2020. 
  • "Investors Should Resist 'Giveback Inflation' In Partnerships," (co-author), Law 360, April 2020
  • "Beware Co-Investments In Private Equity Fund Agreements," (co-author), Law 360, January 2020
  • "Investors Must Halt Erosion Of PE Most-Favored-Nation Rights," Law 360, December 2019
  • “The Management Fee Charade: What’s Lost is What’s Unrecovered, Not What’s Paid,” The Bond Buyer (November, 2018, reprinted in the NAPPA Report (Spring, 2019))
  • "Strategies for Decreasing a Pension Plan’s Unfunded Liability and Help Preserve Cash Through Real Estate," (co-author), Pension & Investments Magazine, April 2018
  • “Attaining Dramatic Reductions of Public Plan Unfunded Liabilities and Government Cash Contributions to the Plan through Transfers of Government-Owned Real Estate,” NAPPA Report, October 2017
  • “A Risk Management Method For Return Enhancement,” Risk magazine (February, 2016)
  • "When Trustees Have a Duty to Delegate Investment Management," NAPPA Report, October 2015
  • “Want to Preclude Municipal Bankruptcies Filed to Discharge Pension Obligations? Amend Your Bankruptcy Authorization Statute, Pronto,” NAPPA Report, April 2015
  • “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 (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 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?,” NAPPA Report (February, 2012) 
  • “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,” NAPPA Report (February 2010) 
  • “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
Relevant Cases

Marc has successfully prosecuted and defended scores of appeals for various state agencies, municipalities and corporations in Arizona, two of which were televised.

  • The Best Lawyers in America®,Commercial Litigation; Financial Services Regulation Law; Private Funds/Hedge Funds Law; Real Estate Law, 2023-2024
  • Arizona's Top Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers® (cover story, 2009 Southwest Super Lawyers Magazine)
  • Super Lawyers®, 2009-2024
  • Arizona's Finest Lawyers
  • Best Of The Bar, Ranking Arizona Magazine
  • Martindale-Hubbell®, "AV Preeminent" Rating 
  • Award of Excellence from the Scottsdale Bar Association Annual Summer Social, 2021
  • Best in the USA, Alternative Investments, Corporate America Finance Magazine (Cover Story, February 2016 Edition)
  • Top 5 Securities and Finance Lawyers, Phoenix Business Magazine (2016-2018)
  • 1997 Arizona Attorney General’s Civil Rights Award
  • 1997 Central Arizona Hate Crimes Advisory Board Award
  • 1996 ADL Herb Brooks Leaders of Distinction Community Leadership Award
  • National Winner, 1979 Moeller Prize