PSS Winter '13


The Business of the Law

by Andrew Wickenden ’09

Maxine Verne ’76

FIRST JOB: A Part-Time Position as a Lawyer for an Insurance Broker

CURRENT JOB: Attorney, U.S. Operations of SCOR

Maxine Verne ’76 had no intention of being a lawyer.

Even when she enrolled in law school (thanks to her mother’s nudging), she had “no interest in practicing.” After she graduated, when she needed money for a bar mitzvah present, she took a part-time job as a lawyer for an insurance broker. “I got to do a lot of different things,” Verne says. “Lots of acquisitions, which I didn’t know a thing about at that time.”

When the lawyer who hired her left, Verne was promoted to a full-time position and became “the only lawyer in the U.S. for a company that had offices in 13 different states.” She learned about licensing, litigation and a diverse range of tasks that straddle law and business. “I never would’ve chosen insurance on my own but it gave me a lot of opportunities to do things that I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise.”

Verne left the broker when it was sold but continued working as a lawyer in the insurance world.

“I’m not well suited to the law firm environment,” she says. “I’m not good in large structures. I like being in-house; one of the allures is that you know the client and their business well, which is something you don’t get at a firm.”

For the past 22 years Verne has been an attorney for the U.S. operations of SCOR, a financial services group focused on risk management through insuring other insurers, or reinsurance. She has served as the company’s U.S. general counsel for the past nine years.

“Twenty-two years is a long time to be at the same place,” Verne says, “and there are a couple of reasons: as long as you’re learning something and you think the job is interesting, it’s good. I wanted to work for a publically-traded company. I love doing deals and I don’t do the same thing every day.”

That diversity is part of the reason Verne doesn’t work for a firm or as a trial lawyer. As general counsel at SCOR U.S., Verne is responsible “for all legal areas: compliance, transactions, real estate, contracts, employment related matters— take your pick,” she jokes. “It’s all under the general counsel’s bailiwick, which is the beauty of a general counsel’s job. You have to be a lawyer but also understand the practical business side of the company. I prefer the diversity; I wouldn’t want to do the same project over and over again.”


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.