Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: design in United States

Groom Law Group

The attorneys at the ‘premier’ Washington DC-based Groom Law Group are ‘the best of the best’ when it comes to employee benefits and executive compensation law. Allison Ullman is ‘a true pleasure to work with’ and David Levine ‘brings great experience and intelligence to his work’. The ‘very knowledgeableJeff Witt advises public and private companies on the full range of mandates including qualified retirement plans, executive compensation agreements, defined contribution plans and DOL audit preparations. Also of note are Rachel Leiser Levy (‘a rock star in the area of healthcare policy’), and Mark Lofgren, who specializes in matters concerning the IRS and the Department of the Treasury. Clients also recommended Stephen Saxon and Jeffrey Kroh for administrative and legislative matters concerning tax-exempt organizations and ERISA fiduciary compliance. Other names to note include Jon Breyfogle, Michael Prame and Thomas Roberts, all of whom have expertise in fiduciary compliance, health plan structuring and collective investment funds.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP fields ‘a highly responsive and knowledgeable’ 75-lawyer team across 11 offices nationwide, providing ‘outstanding’ advice on the entire scope of employee benefits and executive compensation matters. The ‘extraordinarily knowledgeableCraig Bitman heads the practice from the New York office, where he advises a client roster of public businesses, trusts and individuals on qualified and non-qualified deferred compensation plans, health and welfare benefit plans, equity compensation agreements and fiduciary compliance issues. Washington DC-based Althea Day is noted as ‘a very experienced and responsive’ professional, having advised a roster of Fortune 100 companies, tax-exempt organizations and governmental employers. Deputy practice leader Amy Pocino Kelly, John Ferreira and Matthew Hawes are names to note in the Pittsburgh office, and Lisa Barton leads the team in Massachusetts. Chicago-based Lindsay Goodman was also praised by one client as ‘an extremely intelligent’ associate. Standout clients for the team include Honeywell International, Toyota, Exela Technologies and Talen Energy.

Proskauer Rose LLP

According to one client, the 50-lawyer team at Proskauer Rose LLP is ‘the best that a client can expect'; indeed 'there is no problem or issue the team can’t solve’. Anthony Cacace and Neal Schelberg ‘always bring unique ideas to the table and run circles around other law firms’; the latter serves as benefits counsel to multi-employer pension and welfare benefit plan trustees including Morgan Stanley, the NHL, the NBA and Star Gas Partners. Robert Projansky designs and implements 401(k), defined benefit and health and welfare plans for clients including S&P Global, Philip Morris and Citigroup. Washington DC-based practice co-head Paul Hamburger serves as primary outside counsel to the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico; in a major ongoing mandate, Hamburger is assisting with the restructuring of its retirement plans to address the board’s pension liabilities; Ira Golub is assisting on the matter. Also recommended are Washington DC-based Seth Safra and associate Elizabeth Down, who has acted for clients such as Beckton, Dickinson & Co, the Metropolitan Opera Association and UPS. Myron Rumeld and Rory Albert jointly head the practice group. Named lawyers are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s full-service employee benefits and executive compensation team boasts a client base comprising plan sponsors and fiduciaries such as banking institutions, broker-dealers, insurers, trade associations and investment entities. Key individuals include practice head Paul Ondrasik, and Melanie Nussdorf, who has particular expertise in ERISA fiduciary mandates including prohibited transactions and DOL corrections. Nussdorf and Eric Serron handled a number of plan compliance corrections in response to DOL investigations, and Ondrasik and Edward Mackiewicz are providing broad legal advice to numerous health and welfare funds. Notable clients include Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. Patrick Menasco left the firm for Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP and William Bortz joined as senior counsel from the US Treasury Department. The team is based in Washington DC.

Winston & Strawn LLP

Winston & Strawn LLP has a highly regarded practice group comprising 30 professionals primarily based in Chicago. Recent highlights included assisting Applied Materials with complex ERISA fiduciary, securities and IRS requirements involving the termination of the company’s $400m common stock fund held in its 401(k) plan. Co-head Nancy Gerrie, of counsel James Isaac and associate Juliet Rognile handled the matter. Also of note, David Rogers, Brian Benko, Ruth Wimer and Joanna Kerpen in the Washington DC office are advising Embraer Aircraft Holding on its health and welfare and retirement plans, and are also assisting leisure travel company Carnival Corporation with its domestic and international benefits and compensation plans. Susan Nash, with assistance from Amy Gordon and Marcus Garcia, is lead counsel to Starbucks regarding the adoption of a private healthcare exchange for its employees. Practice co-head Scott LandauSteve Flores and associate Ariane Andrade are also recommended. AECOM, Lear Corporation, Holland America Group, Broadridge Financial Solutions and Argent Trust Company are also among the team's clients.

Baker McKenzie LLP

Baker McKenzie LLP fields a ten-partner employee benefits and executive compensation team following the promotions of Denise Glagau and Aimee Soodan to partner in the San Francisco and Chicago offices respectively. Another contact in the San Francisco office is Barbara Klementz, who serves as managing partner following the retirement of Valerie Diamond, and has particular expertise handling the implementation of global equity compensation programs. In Chicago, Maura Ann McBreen provides expertise on single employer, multi-employer and multinational benefits, as well as the implementation of tax-qualified retirement plans. Another name to note is Brian Wydajewski, who focuses on designing domestic and international equity compensation plans. Sinead Kelly, Victor Flores and newly hired counsel Maria Weydemuller, all based in San Francisco, also come recommended.

Greenberg Traurig LLP

Greenberg Traurig LLP acts as external counsel on employee benefits and executive compensation matters for a solid client base including Western Digital, NFP, Collective Health, Granite Construction and Midlands Management Corporation. Silicon Valley-based Magan Ray serves as ERISA counsel to companies such as Twitter, Xilinx and Intuit, which she advises on 401(k), health and welfare and deferred compensation plans as well as fringe benefit matters. Richard Sirus in Chicago has ‘the ability to think outside of the box to reach creative conclusions’ when it comes to designing and implementing retirement plans, ESOPs, executive compensation arrangements and ERISA Title 1 compliance. Renee O’Rourke in Denver, Steven Lapidus in Miami and Ian Herbert in Washington DC are also names to note. Leslie A Klein and Jeffrey Mamorsky jointly head the practice group from Phoenix and New York respectively.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Leveraging a 30-lawyer team of ‘industry-leading’ experts, McDermott Will & Emery LLP provides ‘world-class advise’ on all aspects of employee benefits mandates. New York’s Steven Eckhaus is particularly noted for his expertise in negotiating executive compensation arrangements, and the ‘excellentTodd Solomon, who leads the practice from Chicago, is the key name for designing and amending pension plans, profit-sharing arrangements and ESOPs. In a recent practice highlight, Solomon and Boston-based Andrew Liazos assisted Darden Restaurants with a major pension de-risking exercise. In addition, Liazos and Boston-based Joseph Urwitz advised Chipotle on the restructuring of its executive compensation agreements in light of the 2017 tax reforms. Also recommended are Dallas-based Allison Wilkerson and Erin Turley, who 'exceed all expectations‘ for their clients, and together provide ongoing employee benefits advice to clients including Dr. Pepper, Cactus Feeders, Freeman Decorating and the American Council of Engineering Companies. Also of note, the Washington DC office was recently strengthened by the addition of David Fuller from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. Other key clients include HSBC, Lenovo, MasterCard and Snapchat.

Miller & Chevalier Chartered

Miller & Chevalier Chartered provides comprehensive service with dedicated lawyers advising on health and welfare plans, qualified plan implementation, DOL investigations and compliance, executive compensation and fringe benefits. The Washington DC-based team is headed by Theresa Gee, who is particularly known for her expertise in ERISA fiduciary concerns. Michael Khalil is a key contact for ACA compliance issues.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP

Notable recent mandates for the team at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP include drafting defined benefit and 401(k) plan amendments for Estée Lauder and preparing amendments to long-standing client Incyte’s employee stock incentive plan and executive compensation agreements; New York-based Peter Hunt led on both matters. Having joined the San Francisco office from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in 2018, Jonathan Ocker regularly advises public companies, boards of directors and high-profile executives on compensation and corporate governance issues. In one matter, Ocker advised VICE Media on a newly instated CEO’s preparation agreement. The team also provides ongoing employee benefit and executive compensation advice to Clearwater Paper, Bank of the West and Hewlett Packard. San Francisco-based Christine Richardson is another key contact, and Cindy Schlaefer was made practice head in 2018 following Susan Serota’s retirement.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

According to one client, the ‘down-to-earth’ team at Seyfarth Shaw LLP has ‘a level of knowledge and professionalism that far exceeds all expectations’. A standout mandate for the practice included Richard Schwartz advising David Yurman Enterprises on certain 401(k) and executive compensation agreements; senior counsel Richard Loebl and associate Chelsea McCue in New York were also involved in this matter. Chicago-based Jonathan Karelitz and Jennifer Neilsson act as outside counsel in relation to RR Donnelley’s employee benefit plans, while New York-based Randell Montellaro provides ongoing advice to Northwell Health on a range of issues including 403(b) plans, 457(b) plans and required submissions to the IRS and DOL. Schwartz and Howard Pianko (also based in New York) provide ongoing qualified and non-qualified retirement and executive compensation plan advice, as well as benefit plan consolidation advice to multi-hospital system the University Hospitals Health System. Chair Robert Flanagan and Diane Dygert (chair-elect as of 2019) jointly head the practice from the Chicago office.

Arent Fox LLP

The ‘extremely knowledgeable’ professionals at Arent Fox LLP ‘always have the answers’ for their clients, which include Monsanto, AARP, Carl Zeiss, Choice Hotels International and Jimmy Choo. In particular, clients have singled out the ‘very smart and organized’ practice head Quana Jew, and William Charyk, a ‘trusted advisor’. As well as serving as outside counsel the its existing client roster, the Washington DC-based team was newly retained by the American Bankers Association to advise on its employee benefits issues including retirement, health and welfare and fringe benefits plans. Further instructions involved drafting executive deferred compensation plans, ESOPs, stock option plans and defined benefits arrangements.

Ballard Spahr LLP

Ballard Spahr LLP’s ‘very knowledgeable and practical’ benefits practice saw considerable growth in 2018 following a merger with Lindquist & Vennum PLLP, which brought to the team Minneapolis-based Joshua Natzel and Robert Hartman. ‘Excellent advisor’ and practice head Brian Pinheiro has ‘thorough knowledge of the benefits field and is pleasure to work with’; he and Diane Thompson regularly handle matters involving executive compensation, including 409A and 280G compliance, health and welfare benefit plans and qualified and non-qualified retirement plans. In addition, the team advises Capital Health on C-suite deferred compensation agreements, and assists Wawa Inc with its ESOP and employee health benefit arrangements. Further, Pinheiro and counsel Edward Leeds are providing ERISA fiduciary advice to CSL Behring. Additional clients include American Pension Services, NRG Energy and Union Pacific. Named lawyers are based in Philadelphia unless otherwise stated.

Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered

Ongoing clients for the team at Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered include NASA Federal Credit Union, Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Public Welfare Foundation and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The team has expertise in drafting 409A, 457(f) and 457A deferred compensation plans as well as the application of 403(b) ‘church plans’. Practice head Richard W. Skillman and of counsel Ronald G. Cluett are key names for this Washington DC-based practice. Joanne Youn left the firm for an in-house position at TrustBridge Global Foundation in Switzerland.

Dechert LLP

The team at Dechert LLP is co-chaired by David Jones in Philadelphia and Andrew Oringer, the latter of whom advises on ERISA matters for clients including Credit Suisse Securities, Actua, Cerebus Capital Management and FMC. Oringer also leverages his fiduciary Title 1 expertise, acting as primary counsel to a client roster of investment banks and managers, mutual funds and trust companies regarding changes to the DOL’s fiduciary rule (and subsequent repeal). Having recently joined from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, Steven Rabitz brings even more experience to the team’s ERISA practice and is instructed by clients from the investment management sector. Partners are based in New York unless otherwise stated.


Kansas City-based Martin Moderson leads Dentons’ pensions, benefits and executive compensation practice group, which advises on qualified retirement, deferred compensation, 403(b), 457(b), ESOPs and all other relevant mandates. Washington DC-based attorney Michael Maryn (‘very attentive and skilled’) conducted a Section 280G tax analysis for Veraction as well as a review of its employee benefits and equity incentive compensation plans. Kansas City-based Katharina Babich has particular experience advising on troubled plans, including DOL and IRS employee plan audits and COBRA compliance audits.


Goodwin’s practice head, Scott Webster, provides ERISA Title 1 advise to financial services organizations and fund sponsors. Retirement plan asset investments (including fiduciary, investment and prohibited transaction matters) and the establishment and operation of collective investment vehicles including VCOCs and REOCs are particular strong points. Natasha George is a key name for designing, implementing and terminating executive compensation and severance agreements, while San Francisco-based Lynda Galligan provides the full range of compensation and benefits advice to clients in the technology and life sciences sector. James Mattus also comes recommended for structuring, implementing and administering equity-based and incentive compensation plans, including providing advice with respect to tax and securities law. Rachel Smith and Sarah Bock are also names to note in the Boston-based team.

Jackson Lewis P.C.

Headed by Joy Napier-Joyce in Baltimore, the team at Jackson Lewis P.C. provides ‘an unparalleled level of expertise’ and ‘exceeds all expectations’ when it comes to advising on employee benefits matters. Recent highlights for the team included advising on a number of IRS benefit plan investigations for both public and private companies, including the necessary restructuring of a 401(k) plan. In addition, Greenville-based Suzanne Odom (who recently joined the team from Nexsen Pruet, LLC) implemented a Section 457(f) executive employment agreement for the CEO of three related non-profit organizations, and Brian Johnston handled the implementation of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ nationwide 403(b) retirement plan roll-out. The team saw further growth with the addition of San Francisco-based Yana Johnson from Morrison & Foerster LLP, and David Sawyer, who joined the Miami office from Ogletree Deakins.

Mayer Brown

Maureen Gorman in Palo Alto leads the employment and benefits practice at Mayer Brown, which has expertise in domestic and international tax and benefit advice, ERISA fiduciary compliance and preparations for IRS and DOL investigations. Highlights include Gorman and counsel Karen Grotberg advising the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce on its qualified plan structuring, and Lennine Occhico assisting a global private equity fund with the structuring and establishment of an investment vehicle in compliance with securities law and ERISA obligations. The team also serves as primary ERISA counsel for a leading hedge fund. Debra Hoffman is another key contact. Adapt Pharma, Envestnet, Liberty Mutual Insurance and the Hartford Financial Group are also noteworthy clients. Named lawyers are based in Chicago unless stated otherwise.

Thompson Hine LLP

Thompson Hine LLP’s employee benefits and executive compensation team acts for an extensive client roster that includes names such as Cardinal Health, Kroger, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Verizon and Macy’s. Kim Wilcoxon leads on group health plan mandates including ACA compliance, while Edward Redder has expertise in ERISA fiduciary compliance. Wilcoxon and Tim Brown continue to assist News Corp with its $2bn 401(k), pension and deferred compensation plans, and Cleveland-based Julia Ann Love is handling all US employee benefits matters for NCR. Further, practice head Laura Ryan is advising Fifth Third Bank on its 401(k), frozen pension and group health plans. Named lawyers are based in Cincinnati unless otherwise stated.

Vedder Price

Notable mandates for the ‘technically competent, easy to work with and very responsive’ team at Vedder Price include ongoing executive compensation advice to Hewlett Packard and 401(k) and defined benefit advice to ArcelorMittal. In a unique matter, practice co-head Kelly Starr is advising newly acquired client Coaching Right Now on executive compensation, employee benefits, independent contractor and contingent workforce issues for its decentralized workforce spanning 20 countries. Patrick Spangler serves as primary outside counsel to aviation services company AAR, and Thomas Hancuch advises educational supplies company Follett on benefits matters including medical and welfare, incentive and deferred compensation plans. Thomas Desmond co-heads the practice, and Daniel Lange and Christopher Collins are also recommended. Named lawyers are based in Chicago.

Baker & Hostetler LLP

Baker & Hostetler LLP has experience in the implementation of retirement, health and welfare, executive compensation and 409A plans, acting for a range of clients including multi-employer funds and public company executives. Cleveland-based John McGowan and John Boyd are advising a health insurer on the impact of ACA repeal-and-replace initiatives, and Columbus-based Georgeann G. Peters assisted a financial services client with changes to its retirement and 401(k) plans. Raymond Malone in Cleveland regularly handles the design and implementation of qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, including 457 plans, and also acts as benefits counsel to hospitals, universities, church-affiliated institutions and other tax-exempt employers. Also recommended is Susan Lubow in Columbus, who is advising a regional airport authority on its benefits and welfare plans structures, including HIPAA compliance issues.

DLA Piper LLP (US)

The team at DLA Piper LLP (US) provides the full range of benefits services and has expertise in the design and implementation of qualified retirement plans, ERISA regulation, pension fund investments and welfare benefit plan implementation. Cisco Palao-Ricketts co-heads the practice from Silicon Valley, and has a particular focus on executive compensation in the life sciences and technology sectors. Richard Ashley and Rita Patel also co-head the practice from Chicago and Washington DC respectively; Patel regularly advises public companies on retirement and deferred compensation plans as well as implementing plan failure strategies under IRS and DOL correction programs, and Ashley regularly works with plan administrators on benefit plan compliance and testing issues. New York-based Adrienne Scerbak is a key contact for ERISA Title 1 mandates, and Mark Muedeking is a name to note in the Baltimore office.

Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.

Michelle Capezza and Gretchen Harders jointly lead Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.’s ‘responsive and highly capable’ practice group, which was recently strengthened by the addition of Tzvia Feiertag from Marathas Barrow & Weatherhead LLP and the promotion of Andrew Shapiro to partner. The full-service practice advises on the design, implementation and termination of retirement, executive compensation and health, welfare benefit plans and ERISA Title 1 compliance. Other key contacts include Sharon Lippett, Chicago’s Christopher McMican and associate Cassandra Labbees. Named lawyers are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Eversheds Sutherland

The team at Eversheds Sutherland received particular praise for its knowledge of complex tax issues arising from benefits and executive compensation designs, with one client stating its ‘depth of knowledge far exceeds what other firms can offer’. The ‘exceptionally bright and knowledgeable’ practice head Adam Cohen ‘knows how to grow a strong team’; Paul Lang, Atlanta-based Brenna Clark and Vanessa Scott also received top client praise. Plan fiduciary and ACA compliance are particular strengths, with one key highlight seeing Scott advising the US Chamber of Commerce on ongoing legislative changes in the employee benefits and executive compensation field. Atlanta-based associate Brittany Edwards-Franklin was also commended for her ‘positivity, availability and relentless desire to solve complex issues’. Also of note, the ‘proactive and responsive team’ was further strengthened by the arrival of Robert Neis from the Department of the Treasury. Lawyers are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Washington DC-based Michael Collins and Palo Alto-based Stephen Fackler jointly head Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s employee benefits and executive compensation team. Typical instructions including advising on executive and director compensation, equity compensation, retirement plans, health and welfare plans and retention and severance arrangements. The team acts as counsel to a solid client base including Amazon, AECOM, the NLF Players Association and MGM Resorts; it was also instructed by Parson in relation to the design and administration of its ESOP arrangement.

Ivins, Phillips & Barker

Clients rate Ivins, Phillips & Barker for its ‘deep experience and expertise in tax laws and regulations specific to employee benefits’. Kevin O’Brien heads the Washington DC-based boutique, and has ‘a wealth of knowledge and practical experience’ with issues including executive compensation, plan design, ERISA fiduciary compliance and hybrid plans. Of counsel Harry Gutman has expertise in federal tax legislation and regulatory issues, and Los Angeles-based Steve Witmer serves as primary outside benefits counsel for a range of corporate clients. Jodi Epstein is the name to note for qualified plan expertise. IBM, General Mills, Jacobs Engineering, Con Edison and GE are among the team's clients.

Jenner & Block LLP

Jenner & Block LLP’s Chicago-based practice group acts as external counsel to clients such as General Dynamics, Hertz, SPX and Olin, which it advises on the full range of employee benefits and executive compensation matters. Sarah Haddy is advising The Budd Company’s Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA), which was established following the company’s Chapter 11 proceedings, on all aspects of the trust’s maintenance including investment, administration and fiduciary compliance. Matthew Renaud heads the practice group, and Raymond Sinnappan comes recommended for pension de-risking strategies. Tony Ling left the team for Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP.

K&L Gates

K&L Gates has experience in redesigning management stock plans and implementing deferred compensation plans for a number of public companies and assisting a hedge fund manager with 409A and 457(a) compliance issues. ‘Standout’ Charlotte-based attorney James Earle acts as outside counsel on executive compensation matters for global clients in the financial services, manufacturing, telecoms, and utilities sectors. ‘Top-notch’ Charles Smith in Pittsburgh focuses on corporate transactions involving ESOPs and employee benefit fiduciary matters, and Charlotte-based Lynne Wakefield is the name to note for health and welfare benefit plan drafting including ACA and ERISA compliance. Also recommended are Matthew Jones and Douglas Love in Chicago and Seattle respectively.

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. was recently strengthened by the addition of Washington DC-based O’Kelly McWilliams, who was previously a managing partner at Gordon & Rees. The team advises global and national clients on retirement plans, welfare plans, pensions and ACA healthcare reform compliance. Practice leader Alden Bianchi in Boston and New York-based Andrew Bernstein also advise on executive compensation issues and ERISA fiduciary compliance. Boston-based of counsel Patricia Moran also comes recommended for her expertise in health and welfare plan matters including fringe benefits, COBRA and health savings accounts. Key clients include Adecco, Arbella Insurance, Paradign Health Plans, Liberty Mutual Insurance and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP

On the employee benefits front, the Chicago-based team at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP assists with the design and implementation of the full range of plans including 401(k), healthcare and pension arrangements, and also provides comprehensive ERISA compliance advise. Jointly headed by Patricia Cain and Jeffrey Bakker, the team also has expertise in devising deferred, incentive and equity-based executive compensation programs. Linda Hoseman is also a key name for qualified retirement and welfare benefit plans.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

Key contacts at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP include Patrick Menasco, who recently joined from Steptoe & Johnson LLP, and Austin Lilling, who joined in New York from Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. The team is sought out for its experience of devising compensation and benefits restructuring solutions for distressed companies, and also has particular expertise in the areas of financial services and banking. Associate Bibek Pandey comes recommended for his experience with the DOL exemption process; clients in this field include Barclays, Bank of the West and First Hawaiian Bank. Other typical mandates include advising private companies on executive compensation matters and plan fiduciary assistance. Additional clients include UBS, BNP Paribas, AllianceBernstein and Deutsche Bank. Named lawyers are based in Washington DC unless stated otherwise.

Sullivan & Worcester LLP

Sullivan & Worcester LLP’s Boston-based practice received client praise for its expertise in ERISA matters including prohibited transaction, Title 1 fiduciary and other compliance issues. Practice head David Guadagnoli and Amy Sheridan also advise on healthcare reform and HIPAA privacy and security requirements, IRAs, deferred compensation agreements and ESOP plans for large and small employers. The team’s client base includes Iron Mountain, ING, Cambridge Trust and The RMR Group.

Thompson & Knight LLP

Thompson & Knight LLP acts as legal and tax counsel on employee benefits and executive compensation plans for a client base including Mary Kay, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, USA Compression Partners and NGP Energy Capital Management. Tax practice leader Todd Keator, Russell Gully, Neely Munnerlyn, senior counsel Sharon Fountain and associate Jessica Morrison regularly advise on the design and administration of qualified and non-qualified deferred compensation plans and welfare benefit plans. Named lawyers are based in the Dallas area.

Venable LLP

Venable LLP’s practice head Thora Johnson has a particular focus on employer health plans and welfare benefits, and routinely advises clients on the establishment of plans pursuant to ERISA, IRS, ACA and HIPAA regulations. Harry Atlas is the key name for devising and implementing 403(b) and 457 non-qualified plans, as well as equity compensation agreements. The team also handles the fiduciary and tax qualification aspects of ESOPs and managing DOL fiduciary rule risk. Washington DC-based Kenneth Hoffman is also a key contact. Johnson and Atlas are based in Maryland.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP acts for a number of prominent asset managers, investment banks, plan sponsors and other financial entities, with standout names including Citigroup, Warburg Pincus, Genstar Capital, Bloomberg and HealthEquity. The team's service covers the full scope of employee benefits and executive compensation matters, including ERISA obligations such as fiduciary responsibility and prohibited transactions, and designing and implementing complex compensation arrangements for investment professionals. Michael Katz, Peter Haller and Mark Holdsworth are the key names, and Geri Anne McEvoy was promoted to partner in 2018. All named lawyers are based in New York.