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Mayer Brown Recruits Two Insurance Industry Stars to Lead Insurance & Reinsurance Group in US

26 January 2009
Mayer Brown, a leading global law firm, announced today that Clifford H. Schoenberg and Kenneth R. Pierce have joined its New York office as co-heads of the firm’s Insurance & Reinsurance Industry Group in the United States. They also will serve as senior members of the firm’s Global Insurance & Reinsurance Industry Group, comprising more than 100 lawyers. Mr. Schoenberg and Mr. Pierce are among the most highly regarded attorneys in the insurance and reinsurance industry and bring to their new roles more than 50 years of combined experience. They also are among the very few insurance and reinsurance practitioners who have significant experience in both transactional and dispute resolution matters.

Mr. Schoenberg joins Mayer Brown after more than eight years at Cadwalader, where he headed its Insurance and Reinsurance group. Mr. Pierce also was a partner in that group from 2002-2006. Mr. Pierce comes to Mayer Brown from Morgan Stanley, where he was co-head of the Reinsurance Solutions practice in that firm’s Global Capital Markets division.

“Mayer Brown made a significant strategic decision last year to refocus our Global Insurance & Reinsurance Industry Group on the representation of insurers and reinsurers,” said Mayer Brown Chairman James D. Holzhauer. “Cliff and Ken are luminaries in the field, with outstanding records of accomplishment and extensive and deep industry relationships. They are the right team to drive our effort to build a strong U.S. presence in this market, as we have in Europe and Asia. Working closely with their counterparts around the world, they will provide clients with a truly global solution to their legal needs.

“The insurance and reinsurance industry is one of several key elements of the growth strategy for our New York office, and Cliff and Ken will play pivotal roles in accelerating our momentum in this high-priority sector,” Mr. Holzhauer said.

The Global Insurance & Reinsurance Industry Group serves three primary client groups: insurers, reinsurers and intermediaries; banks and investment banks; and private equity firms, hedge funds and other investors in insurance and reinsurance companies and insurance-linked securities.

“Mayer Brown is an elite global brand in the legal industry, and Ken and I look forward to working with the outstanding lawyers of the firm’s Global Insurance & Reinsurance Industry Group,” Mr. Schoenberg said. “Together, we will offer clients unsurpassed capabilities in the dispute resolution, transactional and regulatory arenas.”

Added Mr. Pierce, “Our mission is to coordinate and deliver comprehensive inter-disciplinary insurance and reinsurance expertise through a seamless, team-oriented approach, drawing upon Mayer Brown’s enormous depth in all related areas of the law. The team includes partners from Mayer Brown’s renowned Finance, Corporate, Tax, ERISA, Litigation and Restructuring, Bankruptcy & Insolvency practices.”

Mr. Schoenberg has 30 years of insurance and reinsurance experience. He has handled many large and complex "bet the company" cases that extend beyond the traditional reinsurance arbitration and litigation realm, where he obtained one of the largest arbitral awards for compensatory damages ($1 billion) and punitive damages ($100 million) in U.S. history. For example, he led a team of attorneys representing Swiss and U.S. reinsurance companies and individuals in the SEC's finite reinsurance investigation; and he led another team representing a former CEO of a major reinsurance company in the highest profile criminal case in reinsurance industry history. Mr. Schoenberg also was retained last year to put together a team of corporate, bankruptcy and reinsurance attorneys to handle the successful financial restructuring of a monoline insurer. More generally, he has represented insurers, reinsurers, brokers, underwriting agents and other industry participants in arbitrations and litigations (including class actions) that have involved virtually every critical issue that has arisen in this specialized field.

In the transactional and regulatory arena, Mr. Schoenberg has represented reinsurers, banks, investment banks, hedge funds and private equity funds in negotiating and structuring complex reinsurance and hybrid insurance/capital markets products such as sidecars and industry loss warranties. He has advised on matters including life settlements, premium finance and other insurance/capital markets products, and has served as lead counsel on various significant insurance company mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. Mr. Schoenberg served on the board of directors of Zurich Kemper Life Insurance Company of New York and was formerly assistant general counsel of The Home Insurance Company.

A graduate of Dickinson College with a B.A. summa cum laude, Mr. Schoenberg holds a J.D. magna cum laude from Boston University School of Law.

Mr. Pierce has more than 20 years’ experience as an insurance and reinsurance professional, serving the industry as an attorney and as an investment banker. In both capacities, he has been at the center of the convergence of insurance and the capital markets. He has structured numerous complex insurance and reinsurance transactions, including sidecars, insurance-linked securities, co-and modco life reinsurance, transformer and structured insurance and reinsurance products.

Mr. Pierce’s experience encompasses virtually every type of insurance and reinsurance product and structure, including property and property catastrophe, casualty, life, annuity, variable products, surety, mortgage insurance, financial guaranty and other lines. He has advised clients on legal, regulatory and other issues in the establishment of life, annuity, property and casualty insurers and reinsurers, and he counsels clients on a wide array of insurance and reinsurance regulatory matters, including life settlements, premium finance, and issues at the intersection of derivatives and insurance. He was the lead structurer and inventor of an innovative event-linked credit protection product (patent pending), providing significant capacity for Florida insurers exposed to the credit risk of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, and is the co-inventor of an innovative group annuity product that uses capital markets techniques to protect clients from various risks (patent pending). He served as an executive officer of three insurance and reinsurance companies during his tenure as an investment banker.

Mr. Pierce’s experience also includes substantial litigation and arbitration work. He has handled all facets of many complex reinsurance disputes, arbitrations and litigations, and has advised clients in connection with state and federal investigations of finite and structured reinsurance transactions.

Mr. Pierce received an A.B. magna cum laude from Brown University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

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