Leslie A. Klein - Greenberg Traurig LLP

Leslie A. Klein

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2006
Phone: 602-445-8328

Leslie A. Klein has more than 25 years of experience advising publicly held companies, privately held companies, not-for-profit corporations, fiduciaries and executives in all aspects of employee benefits and executive compensation. He is recognized as a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel for having made significant contributions to the advancement of the field of employee benefits. Les regularly counsels clients in connection with pension, profit sharing, cash balance, 401(k), 403(b), 457, employee stock ownership (ESOP), supplemental executive retirement (SERP), deferred compensation and welfare benefit plans and frequently represents plan sponsors and fiduciaries before the Internal Revenue Service, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and U.S. Department of Labor. Les advises companies and senior executives in connection with stock options, phantom stock, stock appreciation rights, annual bonus, long-term incentives, restricted stock, employment agreements, parachute agreements, retention agreements and severance agreements.

Les also advises clients regarding ERISA's fiduciary responsibility rules and the Internal Revenue Code's prohibited transaction excise taxes. From 1980 to 1984, Les was a trial attorney in the Chicago office of the District Counsel of the IRS where he was responsible for several prohibited transaction excise tax cases. Les represented the Commissioner of the IRS before the U.S. Tax Court in a case in which the IRS asserted prohibited transaction excise taxes against the Central Conference of Teamsters as a result of the sale of its airplane to its pension fund. As the attorney in charge of that and other prohibited transaction cases, Les regularly consulted with and advised senior staff of the Department of Labor and the IRS. Les has continued to counsel clients, including sponsors of plans, plan committees, institutional and individual trustees, and investment funds regarding the prohibited transaction excise taxes and ERISA fiduciary rules, DOL and IRS investigations, and employee benefits litigation.

Prior to joining the firm, Les was a partner in the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP where he practiced for 22 years.

University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignBS 1977Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of TechnologyJ.D. 1980
American Bar AssociationAmerican College of Employee Benefits CounselChicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology

Case History

Areas of Concentration
  • Design and provide advice on tax, ERISA and securities laws relating to:
    • Tax qualified retirement plans
    • Nonqualified retirement plans
    • Executive compensation arrangements
    • Senior executive employment agreements
    • Senior executive parachute agreements
    • Senior executive retention and severance agreements
  • DOL and IRS voluntary compliance programs
  • DOL, IRS and PBGC employee plan audits
  • ERISA fiduciary and prohibited transaction rules
  • ERISA litigation

Client Comments

"Les Klein is one of only a handful of lawyers in the country who has such a comprehensive breadth and depth of experience in both employee benefits and executive compensation law. In addition, he is the strongest advocate a client could have when it comes to matters of IRS or DOL controversy."

-Clarissa Cerda
SVP, General Counsel & Secretary
Lifelock, Inc.

Office Location

77 West Wacker Drive, Suite 3100
Chicago, IL 60601
United States

Practice Areas

Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law