Find Lawyers in New York, New York for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
Practice Area Overview
Employee benefits law is a practice area for lawyers who counsel employers on different types of retirement and welfare benefit plans, with particular emphasis on benefits arrangements regulated by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (commonly known as “ERISA”).
ERISA lawyers, sometimes referred to as employee benefits attorneys, can provide legal guidance and representation to employers, plan sponsors, plan administrators, trustees and other parties involved in employee benefit plans. They may help with the creation and administration of these plans, as well as compliance with ERISA regulations and other laws governing employee benefits.
Some specific tasks an ERISA lawyer might handle include drafting plan documents, advising on plan design and operation, handling claims and disputes, representing clients in court or before regulatory agencies and providing guidance on tax and other related issues.
Areas of Focus for an ERISA Attorney:
Depending on their particular interests and expertise, an ERISA attorney may focus on a variety of areas related to employee benefits and retirement plans. Some common areas of focus include:
Plan Design and Drafting
An ERISA attorney can assist in the design and drafting of employee benefit plans, including pension plans, 401(k) plans and health and welfare plans.
ERISA attorneys can advise plan sponsors and administrators on their duties and obligations under ERISA, including compliance with reporting and disclosure requirements. ERISA lawyers can also provide guidance on strategies to minimize the risk of claims and disputes related to employee benefit plans.
ERISA attorneys can provide guidance on fiduciary responsibilities and liability, including investment decisions, plan expenses and potential conflicts of interest. ERISA lawyers can also review investment decisions made by plan fiduciaries to ensure that they are in compliance with ERISA regulations and that they align with the goals and objectives of the plan.
Plan Audits and Investigations
ERISA attorneys may represent clients in plan audits or investigations conducted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the Department of Labor (DOL). An ERISA lawyer can help plan sponsors and administrators navigate the audit or investigation process, ensuring that they are in compliance with ERISA regulations and minimizing any potential liability or financial impact.
Claims and Disputes
ERISA attorneys can handle claims and disputes related to employee benefit plans, including disputes over benefit entitlement, breach of fiduciary duty and alleged violations of ERISA.
ERISA attorneys can represent clients in litigation related to employee benefits and retirement plans, including claims for benefits, breach of fiduciary duty and other claims under ERISA.
Other Aspects of Work for ERISA Lawyers
As mentioned before, employee benefits law encompasses a wide spectrum of matters, including assisting clients with ongoing compliance matters relating to new statutes and regulations.
ERISA law also requires working with government agencies in connection with voluntary corrections, closing agreements, audits and investigations. This may involve working with organizations including:
- Internal Revenue Service.
- Department of Labor.
- Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
In many of the top ERISA law firms, employee benefits law practitioners are called upon to identify special issues and potential problems in corporate and partnership reorganizations, mergers, acquisitions and securities transactions. Lawyers work closely with public and private investment funds to counsel on fiduciary duties, prohibited transactions and various tax issues related to plan asset investments.
Executive compensation matters are an important component of employee benefits legal services and involve advising clients on the tax and accounting concerns surrounding:
- Equity-based compensation.
- Bonus arrangements.
- Supplemental retirement and deferred compensation plans.
- Executive employment and severance arrangements.
- Securities law compliance.
Employee benefits lawyers assist in ERISA litigation disputes to prosecute and defend a wide variety of fiduciary duty claims on behalf of employee benefit plans, plan trustees and plan service providers, including:
- Claims arising from significant plan investment losses.
- Claims challenging plan amendments or terminations.
- Claims challenging plan restrictions on particular types of coverage.
ERISA lawyers can represent corporations in benefits litigation, as lawyers for employees in a dispute or as counsel on a host of employment law matters. Hiring an ERISA lawyer can help protect interests, ensure compliance with ERISA regulations and mitigate the financial risk associated with employee benefit plans.
Stephen Ferszt guides businesses and high-net-worth individuals through the complexities of employee benefits, ERISA and executive compensation issues. He also advises on tax, estate and family and business succession planning. Steve chairs Olshan’s Employee Benefits Practice and is a member of the Employment and Tax & Personal Planning Practices. With a nuanced understanding of ERISA and employee benefits matters, Steve advises on the design, implementation and administration of qu...
Steven J. Friedman advises employers on a variety of aspects of employee benefits law, including: The structuring and implementation of qualified and non-qualified retirement plans Welfare and fringe benefits programs Early retirement programs Severance plans He also has extensive experience counseling employers on Employee Retirement Income Security Act and tax compliance issues related to employee benefits plans, dealing with the governmental agencies that regulate such plans and construing...
Jamie Hutchinson is the firm’s Chief Administrative Partner and the partner-in-charge of the New York office. As Chief Administrative Partner, Jamie is responsible for the firm’s finance, business development, information technology, human resources and administrative functions, and assists the managing partner and governing Partners’ Committee with strategic direction and lateral partner acquisitions. Jamie is a member of the firm's Employee Benefits & Executive Compens...
Regina Olshan is the global head of Skadden’s Executive Compensation and Benefits Group. Her practice focuses on advising companies, executives and boards on navigating the regulatory complexities of executive compensation and benefits. This includes tax laws (including laws governing deferred compensation, golden parachute arrangements and deduction limitation rules), securities laws (including reporting and disclosure requirements and registration issues) and compensation-related liti...
Scott Price is a partner in the Firm’s Executive Compensation Practice Group. Scott has extensive experience handling a wide range of executive compensation matters in complex business transactions, including domestic and international mergers, leveraged buyouts and other acquisitions. In addition, Scott has represented numerous high profile executives and management teams in negotiating employment and incentive arrangements. Scott’s practice includes structuring and implementing ...
S. John Ryan is a partner in Seward & Kissel’s Employee Benefits Group. He joined the Firm in 1998. John advises a variety of clients — publicly and closely held corporations, partnerships, governmental entities, tax-exempt foundations and sole proprietorships — concerning all aspects of employee benefits matters. These matters include representation involving the structuring, drafting, operation, amendment and termination of qualified and non-qualified pension, profit-s...
As part of Lowenstein Sandler LLP's Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits group, Taryn provides counsel to clients on all aspects of employee benefits and executive compensation matters. Working closely with corporate executives, private companies —from start-ups to private equity firms— and public companies across a broad array of industries, she consistently focuses on providing sophisticated and efficient legal services that align with and enhance her clients’ busi...
Regina Couto is an associate in the firm’s ERISA & Executive Compensation practice and assists with a wide range of compensation and benefits matters. Ms. Couto advises both public and private companies on tax and securities law issues in connection with mergers and acquisitions, financings, initial public offerings and other corporate transactions. Ms. Couto is admitted to practice in Illinois only. She is working under the supervision of the partners at Goodwin.
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