Karen L. Kahn - Modrall Sperling

Karen L. Kahn

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2009

Karen Kahn concentrates her practice in ERISA and employee benefits law.  For more than twenty-five years she has advised clients and drafted documents for defined contribution plans including 401(k) and 403(b) plans,  ESOPs, defined benefit pension plans, hybrid plans, Section 125-cafeteria plans, HSAs and HRAs, welfare plans, severance plans, and non-qualified deferred compensation plans.  In addition, she represents many clients filing under the IRS Voluntary Compliance Program and the Department of Labor Voluntary Fiduciary Compliance Program. 

Ms. Kahn provides legal counsel to more than 250 employee benefit plans. 

Karen provides advice and counsel to employers, health insurance agencies and others on the implications of the Affordable Care Act on health plans and other employer-provided benefit plans. She also advises group health plans and physician practice groups on COBRA, HIPAA compliance, domestic partner benefits, and on regulatory compliance for healthcare providers. Additionally, Karen advises on benefits issues in mergers and acquisitions.

Pitzer CollegeBS 1975University of Southern CaliforniaMS 1976Loyola Marymount UniversityJ.D. 1982
State Bar of New Mexico

Case History

Employee Benefit Plans
  • Advised more than 250 employee benefit plans for profit, non-profit, governmental, and tribal organizations on qualified plans and 403(b) regulations, including drafting of plan documents and amendments.
Correction Programs
  • Guided several companies through the Internal Revenue Service's voluntary correction program and the Department of Labor's voluntary fiduciary correction program to maintain the qualified status of these 401(k), profit-sharing plans, and defined benefit plans.  Corrections included non-amenders, discrimination test failures, late salary deferral deposits, non-compliance with the plan terms, failures to defer elected contribution amounts, inclusion of ineligibles, and many loan program violations.  
ESOP Advantages
  • Advised clients on the advantages of using an ESOP for passing ownership of small businesses.  We have negotiated bank loans for ESOP, drafted the plan documents for ESOPs, and represented ESOPs during audits.  
Cafeteria Plans and Heath Reimbursement Accounts
  • Represented a large number of cafeteria plans and health reimbursement account plans, and have developed strategies to meet the employer's goals for provision of benefits and compliance with new laws. 

Client Comments

"Karen is my go-to person on all my 401k questions. Her experience and knowledge are stellar. I greatly appreciate her response time, as I usually need the answer 'yesterday'. She provides very detailed, yet easily understood information, usually via email, which is helpful for reference later on. Karen is a pleasure to work with, and I would highly recommend having her on your compliance team!"

-Pat Vorhies
Director, Human Resources
Calavo Growers, Inc.

"Karen has helped our firm for 10 years in dealing with documents for defined contribution plans including 401(k) and 403(b) plans, ESOPs, defined benefit pension plans, hybrid plans, Section 125-cafeteria plans, and HSAs and HRAs. In addition, we call upon Karen for consulting on questions concerning Cafe plans, cobra and HRA Plans."

Office Location

500 Fourth Street, NW, Suite 1000
P.O. Box 2168
Albuquerque, NM 87103
United States


Lawyer of the Year Awards

2017 Lawyer of the Year in Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law of the Albuquerque Metro Area
Karen L. Kahn has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2017!

Practice Areas

Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (ERISA, Pension, Health and Welfare, Qualified Plans, Retirement Planning)

Other Information

Gender: Female