Our attorneys help clients design and implement compensation and benefits packages that comply with today's complex regulatory requirements, attract and retain a quality workforce, and maintain fiscal and fiduciary responsibility.

We advise on ERISA and related federal and state laws governing benefits and compensation for clients ranging from publicly traded, Fortune 100 corporations to privately held and regional companies. We also have a significant presence in the tax-exempt and government sector, where we counsel health care systems, colleges and universities, churches, foundations, and governments.

Our attorneys advise clients in four major areas: executive compensation, qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, health and welfare benefit plans, and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs).

  • When clients wish to implement a new equity-based or cash-based incentive or deferred compensation program, we provide guidance on avoiding significant tax traps and satisfying all shareholder disclosure requirements, including the stock exchange rules.
  • When clients need assistance in solving a 401(k) or 403(b) compliance problem or terminating a defined benefit pension plan, we draw upon the experience of our attorneys who have worked at the IRS and the Department of Labor.
  • When clients seek ideas on how to control the sharply increasing cost of providing employee and retiree health benefits, we create and evaluate solutions based on our experience advising some of the largest and most sophisticated employee health plans in the nation.
  • We advise clients throughout the pipeline of an ESOP, from design and planning to compliance, implementation, financing, corporate governance, and merger and acquisition activities. Our national ESOP team facilitates the tax-favored transfer of employer stock to employees. We represent independent trustees, sellers, ESOP companies, and their employee owners in related legal and transactional matters.

Our team works closely with the firm's corporate lawyers to analyze the employee benefits and the executive compensation implications of acquisitions, divestitures, and corporate reorganizations. We also advise plan sponsors, plan committees, investment funds, record keepers, and investment advisers on fiduciary and governance matters.

We work closely with the lawyers in our Labor and Employment Group to advise on compliance with state and federal laws and provide advice, counsel, and training on issues related to discrimination, sexual harassment, immigration, investigations, health and safety compliance, drug and alcohol testing policies, affirmative action plans, diversity and inclusion, restrictive covenants, trade secret agreements, and more.

When litigation arises, we work with the litigators in our Labor and Employment Group to represent employers, plans, fiduciaries, and administrators in all aspects of ERISA litigation, from class action lawsuits to routine claims for benefits by a single participant. Our employment lawyers also have significant strength and experience handling complex employment litigation including Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective actions and multi-party or class action discrimination matters. 

Together with the firm's Health Care Group, our attorneys are helping clients understand and prepare for changes involving the federal health care reform effort. Our Health Care Reform Initiative members are closely monitoring ongoing legislative developments.

Members of our Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group have experience counseling Compensation Committees in all areas of executive compensation, both cash-based and equity-based, for privately held and publicly traded companies. We provide this counseling as part of our general representation of the company or as special counsel to the Compensation Committee.


Brian M. Pinheiro
Practice Leader
Tel 215.864.8511