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employee benefits & executive compensation


The Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group uses its significant expertise in federal tax, labor, and securities law in connection with creating optimized qualified retirement plans, deferred compensation, executive compensation and welfare plans. The group provides these services to the full range of clients served by the firm.

Qualified Retirement Plans: Design, draft, implement, administer, and maintain traditional retirement plans running the gamut from sole-shareholder/sole-employee plan sponsor to single employer and multiemployer plans with thousands of participants, including profit sharing, 401(k), employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), and defined benefit pension plans.

Title I, ERISA: Advising clients on reporting, disclosure, and fiduciary responsibility rules for retirement plans and welfare benefit plans, including issues related to investment funds in which retirement plans are investors.

Transactions: Advice, counsel, and negotiation on employee benefits issues connected with corporate mergers and acquisitions and bank lending transactions such as transition benefit accruals, plan merger requirements, accommodating protected benefits accruals and structuring representations and warranties.

Welfare Plans: Design, drafting, implementation, and administration of welfare benefit plans, including group health and insurance plans, cafeteria plans, flexible spending accounts, retiree health programs, and severance pay plans.

Executive Compensation: Design and documentation of a wide range of executive benefit plans, including nonqualified deferred compensation plans, stock option plans, phantom stock plans, restricted stock plans, long- and short-term incentive plans, rabbi trust funding vehicles, supplemental executive retirement plans (SERPS), Section 457 plans for tax-exempt entities, employment contracts, and golden parachute contracts.

ESOP Services: Perform the feasibility analysis, transaction design, ESOP installation and implementation, and continuing consultation for a wide variety of types of ESOP transactions. We represent banks and other lenders in ESOP transactions, corporate and individual ESOP fiduciaries and ESOP Plan administrators. We also serve as expert witnesses in ESOP related litigation.

COBRA: Advice and counsel to sponsors of group health plans of obligation to provide continuation health insurance coverage.

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act): Advice and counsel regarding HIPAA compliance.

Retirement Benefits: Income and estate planning advice in connection with distribution planning for participants and beneficiaries.

Plan Audits: Representing clients before the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor and utilizing the correction programs of the IRS and DOL.

Title IV Matters: Advice and counsel relating to the termination of single-employer defined benefit plans, funding deficiencies and withdrawal liability issues related to multiemployer plans.

ERISA Litigation: In collaboration with the Litigation and Labor and Employment Departments, our Benefits Practice advises on and defends ERISA cases, including matters arising out of claims of breach of fiduciary duty made by participants or the Department of Labor.


Employee benefits and executive compensation are under close scrutiny and a topic of increasing importance to management teams and boards of directors. Balancing between the demands of retaining and motivating executive talent and new regulatory disclosure requirements is difficult. Executive compensation continues to be scrutinized by major investors, proxy advisory firms, and regulatory bodies. Thus, companies require critical review of their existing compensation plans and how they adapt these plans for a changing economy. This unique practice area cuts across and has implications to multiple disciplines, including Corporate & Business Transactions, Labor & Employment, Immigration, and Tax.




Practice Chair

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