Our clients include publicly traded, large privately held, small business, governmental, and tax-exempt entities, as well as internal and external plan fiduciary, financial institutions, trade associations, insurance companies, government retirement plans, health care organizations, and employee benefit and executive compensation consulting and administration firms.

General benefits advice

On a regular basis, we:

  • Advise and assist clients in designing, implementing, and operating pension, cash balance, profit sharing, 401(k), employee stock ownership requirements, and successfully manage 403(b) tax-sheltered annuity, and 457 deferred compensation plans
  • Design processes that are intended to assist plan sponsors and their fiduciaries in complying with applicable fiduciary and prohibited transaction issues that arise from, and impact, upon the operation and administration of employee benefit plans
  • Counsel and assist clients with regard to flexible benefit or 'cafeteria' plans, voluntary employee beneficiary associations (VEBAs), and other employee welfare plans, such as medical and dental plans, disability plans, life insurance plans, and retiree health plans, so that clients comply with applicable legal requirements such as tax considerations, ERISA requirements, and other requirements relating to federal and state law
  • Advise clients on compliance with HIPAA and other legislative changes to ERISA affecting group medical plans
  • Work with state, local, and federal governmental entities to design and operate retirement and welfare benefit plans, including tax-qualified retirement plans, 403(b) plans, 457plans, 'pick-up' plans, and cafeteria plans
  • Represent major benefits programs in connection with outsourcing of administrative services and benefits administration to third-party administrators, including service agreements and audit controls
  • Advise clients on self-insured medical plan liabilities and COBRA obligations in the context of acquisitions and divestitures
  • Draft and review plan documents and amendments, summary plan descriptions, and other plan materials
  • Obtain IRS approval of new tax-qualified plans and amendments to existing tax-qualified plans
  • Help clients resolve plan compliance issues through the IRS Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System, including the Voluntary Compliance Resolution (VCR) Program and the Closing Agreement Program (CAP)
  • Represent clients in connection with government investigations and audits of benefit plans
  • When necessary, litigate tax, fiduciary, and other issues involving plan operations

Executive compensation and incentive plans

Our lawyers regularly advise clients in designing and operating:

  • Supplemental executive retirement plans (SERPs) and excess benefit plans
  • Incentive plans and non-tax-qualified deferred compensation plans
  • Golden parachutes and discretionary severance agreements that contain the language needed to ensure a favorable judicial review standard under the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruch v Firestone and its progeny
  • Employment agreements for key executives
  • Stock option plans, restricted stock plans, stock purchase, stock appreciation, and other equity-based and capital appreciation-based compensation plans, both domestically and internationally. We have prepared registration statements for employee equity programs and regularly advise clients on the securities laws affecting employee benefits

Third party fiduciary responsibility and plan investment counseling

On a regular basis, our lawyers:

  • Work with investment fund managers in structuring investment products suitable for qualified retirement plans, and work with plan committees and individual trustees, helping them understand their responsibilities as ERISA fiduciaries
  • Represent banks and insurance companies in developing mutual funds and other investment packages for sale to retirement plans
  • Design processes that are intended to assist clients in complying with applicable fiduciary issues relating to these transactions
  • Analyze plan investments to determine whether unrelated business taxable income may be generated for plan investors
  • Advise clients on other tax issues, such as the unrelated business income tax

Mergers, acquisitions and other transactional work

We are experienced in structuring ESOP transactions for tax and ERISA compliance, financing and ESOP’s purchase of employer securities, and advising on corporate and securities issues relating to ESOP transactions.

Our lawyers have extensive experience in advising clients on many types of ERISA and other employee benefits litigation. We have handled cases involving multi-employer plan withdrawal liability, benefit claims, contribution collections, and ERISA fiduciary matters.