Craig R. Pett - Alston & Bird LLP

Craig R. Pett

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2003
Phone: 404-881-7469

Craig Pett concentrates his practice on ERISA, qualified retirement plans and executive compensation. His practice includes advising clients on matters involving defined benefit pension plans, 401(k) plans and ESOPs; executive compensation issues arising under Code Section 409A; legal audits and dispute and voluntary resolution with the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (including agency audits and voluntary correction of errors involving qualified retirement plans); merger and acquisitions involving ERISA plans; 403(b) plans and other qualified and nonqualified retirement plans for tax-exempt entities; early retirement windows and initiatives; and executive incentive and deferred compensation. 

Craig is an adjunct professor at Emory Law School in Atlanta, Georgia, where he teaches the ERISA and Deferred Compensation course. He is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Benefits Law Journal. He is also a contributing editor to the legal treatise “401(k) Plans,” published by the Employee Benefits Institute of America, in which he authored or co-authored chapters addressing voluntary correction programs with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Labor (DOL), how to conduct self-audits of 401(k) plans and responding to governmental audits of 401(k) plans by the IRS and DOL. 

Brigham Young UniversityBS 1981Brigham Young UniversityJ.D. 1985Brigham Young University
American Bar Association American College of Employee Benefits Counsel

Case History

  • Prepared and negotiated over 60 voluntary compliance filings and closing agreements with the IRS under the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System for qualified retirement plans and 403(b) plans for large clients (over 300,000 employees) and smaller clients.
  • Negotiated a closing agreement saving over $1 million in additional taxes and penalties in a fringe benefit dispute.
  • Reduced a proposed closing agreement penalty of over $2 million to $75,000 in a 403(b) audit.
  • Successfully negotiated a dispute involving 457(f) plans for key executives resulting saving over $100,000 in penalties.
  • Represent Fortune 500 companies in compliance issues associated with their 401(k) plans and defined benefit plans.
  • Drafted, amended and advised on legal compliance with cash balance plans for Fortune 500 companies, as well as smaller professional service companies.
  • On behalf of a health care organization, was able to reduce an IRS proposed closing agreement fee from $1.5 million down to $75,000.
  • Regularly conducts legal plan audits for qualified retirement plans to identify legal risks prior to potential audits by IRS or DOL.

Office Location

One Atlantic Center, Suite 4900
1201 West Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA 30309-3424
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2013 Lawyer of the Year in Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law of the Atlanta Metro Area
Craig R. Pett has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2013!

Practice Areas

Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law