Karen L. Kahn

Karen L. Kahn

Modrall Sperling

Recognized since 2009

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Practice Areas

Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2021 - Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2017 - Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
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Karen Kahn concentrates her practice in ERISA and employee benefits law. For more than thirty years she has advised clients and drafted documents for defined contribution plans including 401(k) and 403(b) plans, ESOPs, traditional defined benefit pension plans, cash balance plans, Section 125-cafeteria plans, HSAs and HRAs, welfare plans including health insurance plans, wrapper plans, severance plans, and non-qualified deferred compensation plans. Karen 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.

In addition, she represents many clients filing under the IRS Voluntary Compliance Program and the Department of Labor Voluntary Fiduciary Compliance Program when retirement plans have compliance issues. Karen also advises on benefits issues in mergers and acquisitions.

Chambers USA has recognized Karen in the area of Employee Benefits and Compensation, and is seen by several clients as one of the leading practitioners in the state. A client says, “Karen does excellent work, she is flawless and attentive. She was always on top of the matter and did everything smoothly and quickly. She pursued it with diligence and great success.” Best Lawyers in America® named Karen 2017 Employee Benefits “Lawyer of the Year” in Albuquerque. She is Chair of the firm’s Benefits/ Investments Committee, and is a shareholder in the firm’s Albuquerque office.

Before joining Modrall Sperling, Karen worked as in-house counsel for an international life insurance company, as director of benefits and counsel for a large healthcare organization, and in private practice in California and Albuquerque. She clerked on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for the Honorable Judge Harry Pregerson.

Contact & Links


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


  • Pitzer College, graduated 1975
  • University of Southern California, graduated 1976
  • Loyola Marymount University, graduated 1982

Bar Admissions

  • New Mexico, State Bar of New Mexico
  • California, State Bar of California


  • State Bar of New Mexico - Member

Federal Clerkships

  • United States Court of Appeals

Modrall Sperling
Headquarters: Albuquerque, New Mexico

32 The Best Lawyers in America® awards

2 Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America awards

Best Law Firms Badge
Full Firm Profile

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2021 - Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2017 - Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law

Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers® for:

  • Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, Albuquerque (2021)
  • Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, Albuquerque (2017)

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022 for work in:

  • Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law

Special Focus

  • Pension, Health and Welfare
  • Qualified Plans
  • Retirement Planning


  • YWCA Women on the Move, 2001
  • Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in Employee Benefits & Compensation, 2017-present
  • Best Lawyers in America® “Lawyer of the Year” in Albuquerque in Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2017
  • Best Lawyers in America® in Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2009-present

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"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."

"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 (Calavo Growers, Inc.), Santa paula, CA

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