Rising Stars

Firms To Watch: Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: design

Fisher & Phillips  advises on qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, health and welfare benefit plans, as well as equity-based compensation arrangements. Key contacts in the team include practice leader Sheldon Blumling, who is located in the firm’s Irvine office.

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

Groom Law Group, Chartered

Washington DC-based boutique firm Groom Law Group, Chartered’s experienced team handles the provision of the full spectrum of benefits, health and retirement matters, advising a range of plan sponsors on plan design, compliance and addressing new legal developments, alongside providing counsel to a number of financial institutions that provide products and services in the benefits area. Standout partner David Levine advises an array of clients on employee benefits matters, including both retirement and executive compensation to health and welfare plan matters, while Jon Breyfogle is experienced in fiduciary and health matters. Jennifer Eller advises large corporate and public plan sponsors on all aspects of ERISA fiduciary compliance, and Brigen Winters counsels a range of clients on a variety of matters, with a notable legislative focus. Michael Kreps has expertise in benefit plan recordkeeping and the development of financial and insurance products. Daniel Hogans advises clients on a wide range of employee benefits and executive compensation matters, with Christine Keller focusing on the administration of welfare benefit plans, cafeteria plans, health savings accounts, and other employee benefit arrangements. Bolstering the team is Mark Lofgren, who specializes in the handling of tax-qualified and nonqualified retirement plan arrangements.

Practice head(s):

David Levine; Allison Itami; Jon Breyfogle; Lisa Campbell; Lars Golumbic; William Delany; Brigen Winters; Jennifer Eller; Michael Kreps

Other key lawyers:

Mark Lofgren

Key clients

Committee on Investment of Employee Benefit Assets

American Benefits Council

National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators, Inc.

Defined Contribution Alternatives Association

National Association of Professional Employer Organizations

Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH)

Tax-Exempt Structuring for Tax-Free Royalties

Design Complex LTIP Programs for Large Financial Institutions

Alternative Investments in Nonqualified Plans

Change in Nonqualified Plan Investment Structure and Risk Hedging

Coverage for Abortion Services

The Consolidated Appropriations Act and Mental Health Parity

New York State Common Retirement Fund

Smart USA Co.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP maintains its leading role advising on employee benefits and executive compensation plans, boasting an extensive client list of blue chip and Fortune 500 companies. The department has a number of key specialisms, including a management representation practice, an IRA and annuities practice, and an interdisciplinary multiemployer plan practice. Group head and New York-based Craig Bitman helps businesses comply with their fiduciary duties and qualified and nonqualified deferred compensation plans, while deputy head Amy Pocino Kelly offers strategic guidance on the design, governance and operation of retirement plans and executive compensation arrangements from the Philadelphia office. Washington DC’s Rosina Barker is intimately familiar with ERISA compliance measures and has experience counselling clients on the Internal Revenue Code, while Jonathan Zimmerman is a crucial point of contact for clients concerned with the fallout of Dobbs vs Jackson and other complex and unique health and welfare matters. The firm is also able to cover a range of emerging fiduciary issues; the Pittsburgh-based Elizabeth Goldberg is well-informed of the potential influence ESG and cybersecurity factors may have on her clients’ operations. Althea Day, who is also at the Washington office, has been highly active in practice matters, possessing expertise regarding the regulatory compliance of retirement plans, health and welfare benefits, and compensation arrangements, while Michael Gorman advises on a range of legal issues surrounding ERISA, the Affordable Care Act and the Multiemployer Pension Protection Act from Pittsburgh.

Practice head(s):

Craig Bitman; Amy Pocino Kelly

Other key lawyers:

Rosina Barker; Jonathan Zimmerman; Althea Day; Elizabeth Goldberg; Michael Gorman

Key clients

Toyota Motor North America, Inc.


Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Maersk Inc.

CSX Corporation


The Kroger Co.

Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Work highlights

  • Represented CSX Corp. in a Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA) refund suit involving employee moving expenses.
  • Assisting Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with an application for a prohibited transaction exemption before the United States Department of Labor.
  • Represented Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) and Amtrak in all facets of its benefit programs, including retirement, health, and executive compensation.

Proskauer Rose LLP

The ‘top notch’ team at Proskauer Rose LLP has a ‘depth of knowledge’ across executive compensation issues, including corporate governance and employment law expertise. The practice is notably capable at advising clients on single-employer plan compliance, multiemployer plan representation, and extensive fiduciary duty guidance. Alongside private equity firms, hedge funds and asset managers, the team cooperate with a range of entertainment, media, healthcare and energy companies. New York-based Robert Projansky works closely with the entertainment industry, with significant work highlights including providing considerable counsel to The Screen Actors Guild, The American Federation of Musicians, and The Metropolitan Opera Association on a variety of complex issues regarding health and welfare plans and pension funds. Team head Paul Hamburger, who is based in Washington DC, has ‘significant subject matter expertise and experience’, and regularly advises national and global employers on IRS audits, health care reform and wellness programs. DC’s Seth Safra co-heads the team and competently handles ERISA, tax, and laws concerning qualified and nonqualified retirement plans. Justin Alex primarily aids financial sponsors on both single-employer and multiemployer pension plans and New Orleans-based Jennifer Rigterink is active on matters involving regulatory, legislative and legal compliance issues.

Practice head(s):

Paul Hamburger; Seth Safra

Other key lawyers:

Justin Alex; Jennifer Rigternik; Neil Schelberg; Robert Projansky


‘Proskauer has top notch personnel. They have enough resources and a client-oriented philosophy to respond promptly and appropriately to various client needs.’

‘Robert Projansky brings tremendous insight to the work he does and sprinkled with humor, helps the client understand and analyze challenges as well as their potential solutions. He is a repository of the law and a practical advisor on its application.’

‘Paul Hamburger understands our company and how it operates very well. He promptly responds to calls and requests. He has significant subject matter expertise and experience. I would highly recommend Mr. Hamburger and his colleagues.’

‘Depth of knowledge specifically in ERISA employee health and welfare and defined benefit pension plans.’

‘Robert Projansky and Neal Schelberg are extremely knowledgeable and experienced in this area. Both are incredibly responsive, thoughtful, and proactive when it comes to problem solving or developing strategy for our organization. Both possess a high degree of professionalism and humanism which makes interactions extremely successful.’

Key clients

Citigroup Inc.

SAG-AFTRA Health Plan, SAG-Producers Pension Plan, and AFTRA Retirement Fund

American Federation of Musicians & Employers’ Pension Fund

IAM National Pension Fund

Ares Management Corporation

The Metropolitan Opera Association


Henry Schein, Inc.

Foot Locker


McDermott Will & Emery LLP

McDermott Will & Emery LLP has an experienced team that advises clients on retirement plans, fringe benefits, ESOPs, fiduciary duties and plan investment, as well as the potential impact SECURE 2.0 may have on their businesses. The group demonstrates a particular specialism in healthcare matters, advising multinational and financial services corporations on a number of varying health and welfare plans. Furthermore, the practice is abreast of emerging challenges for businesses to navigate, such as increased DOL audits in the wake of strengthened cybersecurity attacks on employee retirement plans, travel expenses in a post-Covid work environment, and redesigning benefit plans in response to Dobbs vs Jackson. Boston team and wider practice head Andrew Liazos is a trusted advisor to both multinational companies and individual entrepreneurs and executives, providing expert advice pertaining ERISA, fiduciary duties, executive compensation matters, and pay, bonus and severance issues. The Chicago-based Todd Solomon handles pension, profit sharing, and employee stock ownership plans, while Allison Wilkerson focuses on the design and implementation of non-qualified plans and executive compensation arrangements from the firm’s Dallas office. Counsel Alden Bianchi strengthened the team in Boston, arriving from Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. in December 2022.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Liazos

Key clients


Discover Financial Services

ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC)



Healthcare Trust of America

Liberty Mutual

Huron Consulting

Kaiser Aluminum

Trinity Industries

Work highlights

  • Advised Liberty Mutual on a solution to the overfunding of the Liberty Mutual pension fund.
  • Advised Trinity Industries on a major annuity lift out project.
  • Advised on the redesign of Huron Consulting’s executive compensation incentive plan.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Seyfarth Shaw LLP has particular expertise in handling ongoing employee benefits needs, handling the design and implementation of such plans and agreements. The firm is consistently involved in retirement plan design, handling issues such as the legislative compliance of plans, as well as health and welfare plan design. The firm represents large and well-known businesses engaged in notable industries, such as manufacturing, retail, health care, insurance and financial services. Based in the firm’s Chicago office, ‘valued and trusted advisor’ Diane Dygert has deep experience regarding the rules and regulations surrounding employee benefits, alongside considerable expertise in regard to the health and welfare space. Also based in Chicago is Jennifer Kraft, who advises clients on retirement and benefit plans, and ‘standout’ Jon Karelitz, who is experienced in executive compensation matters, as well as cutting-edge pension de-risking projects. Seattle-based Liz Deckman plays an important role in building the employee benefits capabilities for the firm on the West Coast.

Practice head(s):

Diane Dygert

Other key lawyers:

Jennifer Kraft; Liz Deckman; Jon Karelitz; Benjamin Conley


‘Jon Karelitz is a standout partner, conveying complex information in a client-focused, practical manner.’

‘Diane Dygert is very knowledgeable in the defined contribution and welfare benefits space and is a valued and trusted advisor to our internal teams.’

Winston & Strawn LLP

Winston & Strawn LLP advises various clients on the full spectrum of employee benefits services, encompassing M&A, health and welfare benefit plans and qualified retirement plans, amongst others. Chicago-based joint practice head Joe Adams has a wealth of expertise that includes the drafting and operation of 401k plans and incentive compensation arrangements. Alongside him, Scott Landau, who is active in the firm’s New York office, has a particular focus on acquisitions, divestitures, and restructurings for both private and public clients. Also in New York, David Rogers is a vastly experienced figure within the team and remains highly active.

Practice head(s):

Joe Adams; Scott Landau

Other key lawyers:

David Rogers

Work highlights

  • Providing day-to-day fiduciary advice for the Association in its oversight of pension and 401(k) plans with approximately $13bn in assets.
  • Represented Danfoss in its acquisition of Eaton’s Hydraulics business for a cash purchase price of $3.3bn USD. Eaton’s Hydraulics business provides products for customers in markets such as agriculture and construction, and in industrial market segments.
  • Advised ERIC and a consortium of large companies regarding student loan debt and retirement plans, including organizing meetings with the Department of Treasury and IRS officials and in meeting with the Senate Finance Committee regarding pending legislation.

ArentFox Schiff

ArentFox Schiff‘s ‘top-notch’ and ‘pragmatic’  practice includes notable expertise in fixing broken employee benefit plans for both employers and third-party plan providers. Its matters comprise of a large amount of compliance and counselling work. The team is led by Quana Jew, who is experienced in design issues relating to plans such as money purchase pension plans and profit-sharing plans, among others. She also designs and advises clients on employee stock ownership plans, executive incentive and deferred compensation arrangements, and qualified and nonqualified stock option plans. Bill Charyk focuses on employee benefits and executive compensation in relation to tax planning, as well as the taxation of partnerships. Both attorneys, who are based in Washington D.C., have been involved in assisting in emergency plan design and correction matters in regard to merger and acquisition activity. Mamta Shah joined the team from Troutman Pepper in May 2022; she is now based in the firm's New York office.

Practice head(s):

Quana Jew

Other key lawyers:

Bill Charyk


‘This team is top notch. They are very plugged in to what is happening in Washington and how to best navigate issues that are not completely settled law or are ambiguous. Their attention to responsiveness, diversity, billing and collaboration is outstanding.’

‘The team is authentic, pragmatic, and doesn’t waste time in just zeroing in on the really important decisions to be made.’

‘Quana Jew and Bill Charyk are seasoned experts that respond very quickly with precise communications (verbal and written) that address significant questions with answers that take into account the level of understanding of their audience(s). When issues need more nuanced and sophisticated analysis, it’s clear they’ve done their homework and can translate complex issues into actionable insights.’

Key clients

Monsanto Company/Bayer Corporation

RTI International

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Vox Media


Lavazza Professional

Carl Zeiss, Inc.

Choice Hotels International

Monumental Sports & Entertainment

Panda Restaurant Group

American Bankers Association

Catholic Charities USA

Work highlights

  • Advised the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc on its employee benefit plans and legal issues involving potential fund investments.
  • Advising Vox Media on all of its employee benefits plans, including its retirement, health and welfare, and fringe benefit plans.
  • Advising the American Bankers Association on all of its employee benefits, including but not limited to retirement, health and welfare, retiree benefits, and fringe benefits.

Baker McKenzie LLP

Baker McKenzie LLP handles a wide range of matters, including equity compensation plans, tax-qualified and non-qualified plans, and pension plan management. The firm also has a standout capability in advising companies that are redomiciling to new jurisdictions, as well as newly formed or merged companies on laws and regulations regarding employee benefits. The team’s client roster features multinational corporations and financial services companies that cover a broad range of industries, including tech, chemicals, utilities, and travel. San Francisco-based team head Barbara Klementz focuses on executive compensation and global equity programs and is supported on the West Coast by the highly active Sinead Kelly, who has extensive experience of preparing tax and regulatory due diligence reports to accompany benefit packages. Denise Glagau leads the compensation practice in the firm’s California offices and is well versed in providing counsel on various IRC codes, while Angélique Poret-Kahn, based in Chicago, has also been involved in matters concerning compensation and retirement benefits.

Practice head(s):

Barbara Klementz

Other key lawyers:

Sinead Kelly; Denise Glagau; Angélique Poret-Kahn

Ballard Spahr LLP

Ballard Spahr LLP has a strong specialism in health benefit plans, assisting numerous clients with the implementation and maintenance of programs for complying with ACA requirements, privacy and security rules as well as laws governing wellness initiatives. The firm also has considerable experience of benefit pension plans, advising on the merger and termination of pension plans, among other issues. Its client list includes plan sponsors, plan committees, investment funds, and investment advisors. Brian Pinheiro leads the practice from the firm’s Philadelphia office, representing for-profit, tax-exempt, church and government employers in relation to a full array of plans. Edward Leeds, who is also based in Philadelphia, has a central focus on the design, administration and taxation of health and welfare benefit plans, and is valued for his ‘expertise and responsiveness’. Washington DC’s Finn Pressly, an August 2022 recruit from Littler Mendelson, P.C., also counsels on health and welfare benefit plans, as well as handling benefits-related due diligence for mergers and acquisitions.

Practice head(s):

Brian Pinheiro

Other key lawyers:

Edward Leeds; Finn Pressly


‘This team has the benefits expertise and the historical knowledge of our programs which is critical. They are on top of new regulations and help to keep us compliant in all areas.’

‘They understand the client and their unique needs and work with us to meet our objectives and remain legally compliant.’

‘Edward Leeds is absolutely the best benefits counsel I have worked with throughout the years.’

‘I value Edward Leeds’s honesty, willingness to work through issues and compromise where needed, expertise, and responsiveness.’

Key clients

The Chemours Company

Temple University/Temple University Health System

Republic Services, Inc.

American Red Cross


Wawa, Inc.

CSL Behring LLC

Ricoh USA, Inc.

Union Pacific Corporation

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland advises on a diverse range of matters beyond conventional range of employee benefit matters, handling issues relating to cybersecurity, legislative and regulatory change, ESG considerations and complex health and welfare plans. The practice also continues to show considerable expertise in retirement plan and tax concerns, competently handling ERISA, annuities, IRAs and 403(b) plans. The practice is most active in Washington DC and Atlanta, with group head Adam Cohen managing client affairs from the former. Cohen is an expert across the full range of compensation and retirement plan issues, and adeptly handles the firm’s most complex cross border mandates, as well as keeping clients informed on the implications of SECURE 2.0. Washington DC-based Carol McClarnon advises plan sponsors and service providers on ERISA and federal tax issues relating to lifetime income guarantees and defined contribution plans and is regularly supported by Laura Taylor, who has a strong understanding of federal and state laws relating to health and welfare plans. The Atlanta office is headed by Brenna Clark, who works with a number of blue-chip companies on a broad range of employee benefits and compensation issues.

Practice head(s):

Adam Cohen

Other key lawyers:

Carol McClarnon; Brenna Clark; Laura Taylor

Key clients

Empower Retirement

Cox Communications

Element Markets

Gray Television



BakerHostetler handles employee benefits and executive compensation aspects of mergers and acquisitions. Focusing on health plans, the firm has counseled clients through pandemic-related shifts in employment and employee benefits. In relation to retirement plans, the firm has extensive experience in assisting employers with ESOPs, multiemployer plans and not-for-profit and governmental employer retirement plans, alongside executive compensation, handling issues such as the drafting of partnership interest compensation plans. Its client list includes multi-employer plans, major healthcare-sector organizations and a number of nationwide employers. Susan Lubow, based in the firm’s Columbus office, specializes in all areas of employee benefits law, with significant experience in ERISA compliance and disputes and complex benefit plan structuring work, while Cleveland’s Jennifer Mills is particularly experienced in the field of healthcare.

Practice head(s):

Jennifer Mills; Susan Lubow

Other key lawyers:

Stefan Smith; Ann Caresani; Susan Whittaker Hughes

Key clients

Thermo Fisher Scientific

Land O’Lakes

Hard Rock Cafe

The E.W. Scripps Company

Huntington National Bank

Teleflex Incorporated

Kaiser Permanente/Kaiser Foundation Health Plan

American Automobile Association


Dentons advises a variety of employers on all aspects of pensions, benefits and executive compensation, offering an interdisciplinary approach, combining their expertise in labor and employment with an in-depth knowledge of tax and securities, among others. Martin Moderson, who is based in the firm’s Kansas City office, specializes in advising ERISA-governed plan investment and administrative committees on their fiduciary duties under ERISA. Des Moines’s Courtney Strutt Todd is experienced in pension plans, profit-sharing plans and employee stock ownership plans. Kansas City’s Katharina Babich specializes in assisting troubled plans, such as the handling of Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service employee plans audits, while Washington DC-based Michael Maryn regularly advises clients in the design and administration of qualified retirement plans.

Practice head(s):

Martin Moderson; Lauren Crossett; Courtney Strutt Todd

Other key lawyers:

Michael Maryn


Goodwin, a ‘well known firm in the technology space’, has vast experience of all aspects of ERISA and the compensation and benefits provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. The firm has expertise in executive compensation matters, including tax, accounting, corporate governance and securities law issues, as well as advising private and public clients on stock option and stock purchase plans, routinely addressing retirement plan issues, such as correcting plan errors through the IRS’s voluntary correction procedures. Washington’s Patrick Menasco concentrates his practice on ERISA issues and pension plan investments, alongside other transactions and investments, while James Mattus, who is based in the firm’s Boston office, is experienced in numerous executive compensation and ERISA matters, such as incentive compensation plans and programs. Rachel Faye Smith , who is also active in Boston, counsels on qualified plan issues, such as 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Menasco; James Mattus

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Faye Smith; Grace Smith


‘Well known firm in the technology space.’

Grace Wirth — very responsive and easy to work with.

Key clients

Advent International


Blueprint Medicines

Brookline Bancorp, Inc.

Circle Internet Financial, Inc.

Citrix Systems

Deliverr, Inc.

Innovium, Inc.

Intermediate Capital Group (ICG)

ThredUp Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised Donahue Schriber Realty Group, Inc on its sale to First Washington Realty, Inc.
  • Advised Advent International on its fundraising for its flagship fund, Advent International GPE X.
  • Advised SailPoint Technologies Holdings, Inc in its sale to Thoma Bravo in an all-cash transaction that values SailPoint at approximately $6.9 billion.

Greenberg Traurig LLP

Greenberg Traurig LLP handles design aspects in relation to an array of plans, such as retirement plans, nonqualified deferred compensation plans and executive employment agreements, for an impressive client roster that includes large multinational corporations. Its work includes the design of employer group health plans as a result of health care reform, ERISA compliance, redesign of retirement plans and the negotiation of benefits issues in mergers and acquisitions. Co-head Magan Ray, based in Silicon Valley, handles a wide variety of plans, such as health and welfare benefit plans, for major companies. Alongside her, Miami’s Mindy Leathe has particular experience of advising in M&A in relation to executive compensation and employee benefits aspects. Ian A. Herbert, who is based in the firm’s Northern Virginia and Washington DC offices, bolsters the team with his deep expertise in the space, while Silicon Valley-based associate Stephanie Ahmad primarily concentrates on employee benefits and ERISA matters.

Practice head(s):

Magan Ray; Mindy Leathe

Other key lawyers:

Ian Herbert; Stephanie Ahmad; Rich Sirus


‘They are professional, extremely capable and very knowledgable.’

The team at GT is very responsive, provide great legal and business insights and are well co-ordinated.’

I work most closely with partner Rich Sirus. He has outstand personal relationship skills and I use him as a business advisor as well as consulting him for legal matters. He responds to my calls very quickly and always brings value to our discussions.

Key clients


Google, Inc.

Snap, Inc.




Ross Stores, Inc.


Granite Construction

Northwell Health, Inc.

IBEW Local No. 117 Fringe Benefit Funds

NFP Corp.

Work highlights

  • Advised Amazon on the full array of benefit plans as well as handling ERISA claims and litigation.
  • Advising Snap on all facets of its retirement plan, health & welfare, and fringe benefits.
  • Advising Google on the design and implementation of various plans, addressed numerous plan operational issues, developing a compensation program, and strategic advice regarding wellness programs.

Jackson Lewis P.C.

Jackson Lewis P.C. advises a diverse range of clients such as Howard University and Equinor USA on a wide range of employee benefit matters. The firm has been active on a number of current market trends, such as handling issues arising after the Dobbs v Jackson decision. Baltimore’s Joy Napier-Joyce, who has considerable expertise in employee benefits, and New York’s Melissa Ostrower, who concentrates on general compliance and administration of qualified retirement plans and nonqualified retirement plans, lead the team.

Practice head(s):

Joy Napier-Joyce; Melissa Ostrower

Key clients

Howard University

Equinor USA

Gemma Power Systems

Adventist Health System

NFI Group, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised several high-profile companies on how to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health.
  • Advised NFI Group on several matters which were all of supreme importance to the client’s day-to-day business operations; one matter alone was valued at $40,000,000 of potential financial damages for the client.

K&L Gates

K&L Gates handles a variety of plans, including equity compensation, retention and deferred compensation plans. The firm advises publicly-held companies on the disclosure implications of executive compensation decisions under US securities laws, including advice on the drafting of required disclosures, the design and implementation of equity and cash incentive plans, as well as the preparation and analysis of Section 457(f) plans. San Francisco’s Rikki Sapolich-Krol concentrates on a variety of benefit plan and compensation arrangement work for public, private, non-profit and government clients, while Seattle’s ‘knowledgeable’ and ‘responsive’ Karrie Johnson Diaz is experienced in advising clients on all aspects of qualified retirement plans, in addition to health and welfare plan matters.

Practice head(s):

Rikki Sapolich-Krol; Karrie Diaz

Other key lawyers:

Charles Smith


‘Karrie Diaz is very knowledgeable in retirement plan law. She is responsive and thorough. She is approachable and does not talk down to us.’

Key clients

PPG Industries

PPL Corporation

Braskem America

Celanese Americas LLC

Nu Holdings

Securitas AB

Hexagon AB

Sinch AB

DDW, Inc.


In2Bones Global, Inc.

Inflection.com, Inc.

Laird Norton Company LLC

Office Ally, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advising PPL Services Corporation on all benefit plan documentation, day to day matters and strategic benefit planning.
  • Advising Celanese Americas LLC on all employee benefits and executive compensation matters.
  • Representing Nu Holdings on all executive compensation matters, including executive employment agreements, design and implementation of cross-border (Latin America & US) equity plans and day-to-day compliance matters.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown has established strength in advising multinational corporations, investment managers and financial services on issues concerning pension plans investments, compliance with ERISA and DOL regulations, and controversy work involving employee benefits and executive compensation arrangements. Practice head Maureen Gorman is based in the Palo Alto office and regularly counsels clients on ERISA fiduciary issues and IRS and DOL audits. Recent practice addition Erin Cho, who arrived from Groom Law Group, Chartered, fronts the Washington office and has expertise in pension plans and helping businesses negotiate with benefit plan investors. Chicago’s Hillary August works on matters regarding tax-qualified retirement plans, executive compensation arrangements, and health and welfare policies.

Practice head(s):

Maureen Gorman

Other key lawyers:

Erin Cho; Hillary August

Key clients


American Equity Life Insurance



Bristol-Myers Squibb

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

The Dow Chemical Company

Morgan Stanley

Northern Trust


Work highlights

  • Advised CIBC on a variety of qualified and welfare plans in the United States.
  • Representing AT&T in a litigation dispute challenging its pension plan actuarial assumptions.

McGuireWoods LLP

McGuireWoods LLP, a ‘knowledgeable’ team of the ‘highest caliber’, is experienced in handling issues related to the design, implementation and maintenance of equity-based and performance-based incentive compensation plans. These arrangements include omnibus incentive plans, stock option plans and stock ownership plans, among others. Taylor French, active in the firm’s North Carolina office, uses his ‘in-depth experience’ to help clients with an array of traditional executive compensation and employee benefits matters. Richmond’s Robert Cipolla primarily focuses on qualified retirement plans, health and welfare plans, executive compensation and other related benefits matters. Chicago-based Carolyn Trenda is vastly experienced in designing and assisting clients with the ongoing administration of tax-qualified retirement plans.  Charlotte’s Allison Tanner, who focuses on advising employers on the legal aspects of employee benefit and executive compensation matters arising under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code, was promoted to partner in 2022, while Richmond’s Robert Wynne, whose practice includes all aspects of executive compensation and employee benefits law.

Practice head(s):

Taylor Wedge French

Other key lawyers:

Robert Cipolla; Carolyn Trenda


‘The McGuire Woods Team are very knowledgeable in public sector laws and have a keen understanding of our industry.’

‘All the individuals we work with at McGuire Woods are of the highest caliber.’

‘Taylor French has helped us with many unique and complex benefit and retirement plan issues of the years. We are grateful for his knowledge and in-depth experience.’

Key clients

Equitrans Midstream

The ExOne Company

The Neiman Marcus Group

DXC Technology

NorthShore University Health System

Dominion Energy Services, Inc.

Direct Energy (sold to NRG Energy)

Sheridan Capital Partners

Navient Solutions, LLC

Work highlights

  • Advising Equitrans Midstream on various executive compensation, retirement and health plans.
  • Advising NMG on all aspects of NMG’s compensation and benefits programs.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP advises domestic and international clients on issues regarding equity compensation, ERISA fiduciary guidance, and health and welfare plans. Cindy Schlaefer fronts the Palo Alto office and has a comprehensive understanding of retirement and health plans. Los Angeles-based Mark Jones and New York's Peter Hunt focus on complex compensation and equity incentive matters, while Jessica Lutrin handles an array of employee benefit issues from the firm’s Texas office. San Francisco-based Christine Richardson is highly active on matters concerning the retail and consumer sector, including tax-qualified and non-qualified plans, as well as health and welfare programs.

Practice head(s):

Cindy Schlaefer; Christine Richardson; Mark Jones; Jessica Lutrin; Peter Hunt

Key clients



Blackhawk Network

Bluepoint Games

Cenntro Automotive Group Limited

Clearwater Paper

Concentrix Corporation

Estee Lauder


General Reinsurance Corporation


Invitae Corporation


JSR Corporation

Kirei Corporation

LifeSpeak Inc.

MSUITE Corporation

Nomura Research Institute

NTT Data, Inc.

Panasonic Corporation

People’s Care Holdings, LLC


Rockley Photonics, Ltd.

SecurityScorecard, Inc.

Shield AI

SYNNEX Corporation

The Giving Block

The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd. and its U.S. affiliate Yokohama Industries Americas Inc.

Ullico Infrastructure Fund (UIF)

Uqora, Inc.


Work highlights

  • Represented The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. on employee benefit matters, including advice on complex defined benefit pension plans and 401(k) plan compliance matters, drafting plan amendments and restatements and obtaining IRS approvals of same.
  • Advised 1stdibs on its initial public offering.
  • Advised Clearwater Paper on preparing amendments to Clearwater’s Stock Incentive Plan.

Thompson Hine LLP

Thompson Hine LLP’s ‘tremendous’ and ‘extremely responsive’ team advises a number of Fortune 1000 companies, alongside clients in the financial services and utilities sectors, many of whom have a national and global footprint. The team is led by Cleveland’s Julia Ann Love, who has particular expertise of group health plan rules and regulations. Kim Wilcoxon is also experienced in handling healthcare matters, while Laura Ryan advises on all aspects of compliance related to their retirement, health and welfare, and compensation programs. Tim Brown is capable of handling a variety of plans, such as health and welfare plans, whereas Shane Starkey primarily focuses on executive compensation matters. These attorneys are all active in the firm’s Cincinnati office. Washington DC’s Dominic DeMatties focuses on retirement plans.

Practice head(s):

Julia Ann Love

Other key lawyers:

Kim Wilcoxon; Laura Ryan; Timothy Brown; Shane Starkey; Dominic DeMatties


‘The team has deep knowledge of the subject matter and is able to handle ancillary questions within the firm.’

‘Everyone is extremely responsive and gives actionable, concise advice.’

‘Thompson Hine’s attention to detail and willingness to go to great lengths to read through exhaustive documentation to make sure that our best interests are always represented in anything we do is unsurpassed in the industry.’

‘I have worked with many ERISA law firms in the past and none are willing to go the extra distance that Thompson Hine do to keep us on track, compliant, and operating at a best practice governance level for our very robust benefits program.’

‘Tim Brown and Kimberly Wilcoxon are stand out partners in their knowledge of the benefits legal landscape as well as their unequaled ability to keep us organized and on track with regards to the multitude of in-flight contracts, renewals, retirement plan initiatives and employee matters we have on our plate at all times. The value they provide functions more as a part of our internal team than as outside counsel.’

‘The team has tremendous knowledge in the benefits and executive compensation areas, but, most importantly, is able to “translate” that knowledge into meaningful, practical advice. We appreciate how much they truly “partner” with us, to understand our needs, our business and our long-term vision for the company as a whole.’

‘They are great human beings on a personal level, and for whom I have tremendous respect all around.’

Key clients

Cardinal Health

McDonald’s Corporation

Quest Diagnostics Incorporated


Eaton Corporation

US Foods


Delta Air Lines



Work highlights

  • Advising McDonald’s on all aspects of compliance related to ERISA and company 401(k).
  • Advising Delta Air Lines on plan governance, fiduciary process along with other benefit issues.

Vedder Price

Vedder Price, a practice that has both ‘depth and expertise’, has a number of specialisms, including SEC disclosure, corporate law and the tax implications of executive compensation, employee benefits and retirement plans. The firm also handles a variety of day-to-day design issues as well as retirement and welfare benefit plans, alongside C-suite and executive compensation and employment arrangements. Practice head Christopher Collins has a particular focus on retirement and welfare plan design, qualification and compliance. ‘Responsive’ and ‘intelligent’ Thomas Hancuch primarily focuses on employee benefit plan design, such as ERISA compliance, while Kelly Starr has experience of negotiating and structuring executive employment agreements, executive compensation, and benefit arrangements. All listed attorneys are based in Chicago.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Collins

Other key lawyers:

Thomas Hanuch; Kelly Starr


‘The practice has depth and expertise.’

‘Tom Hancuch at Vedder Price is responsive, intelligent, and thorough. I feel comfortable entrusting him with our most sensitive matters.’

The employee benefits and executive compensation professionals I work with are experienced and practical. If you have an urgent question, they will make time for you.

Key clients

Coaching Right Now

ArcelorMittal Sales and Administration LLC

Follett Higher Education

Huron Consulting Group, Inc.

Ferrara Candy Company

Oil-Dri Corporation of America

Cleveland-Cliffs Steel LLC

Panduit Corporation

Vulcan Materials

M. Holland Company

Work highlights

  • Representing Reliastar Life Insurance Co. in a civil action involving the alleged erroneous payment by a health plan’s pharmacy benefits manager, Express Scripts, Inc., of nearly $50 million in prescription drugs over a three-year period to two family members covered under the self-funded group health plan maintained by Henkel of America, Inc.
  • Advising Follett Higher Education on ongoing employee benefit and executive compensation issues.

Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.

Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. has considerable experience in fiduciary matters, advising in relation to prohibited transactions and prudence questions as well as structuring fiduciary responsibilities. Its clients range from benefits committees to trustees, to name a few. New York’s David Garland leads the team, while Cassandra Labbees, who is also based in the New York, handles compliance-related issues for non-qualified and tax-qualified plans, advising an array of clients that include financial services companies and health care organizations.

Practice head(s):

David Garland

Other key lawyers:

Cassandra Labbees

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP handles the design and administration of various retirement, health and employee stock ownership plans, advising clients on the drafting and maintaining of equity and synthetic equity plans and a number of compensation arrangements. Austin-based co-head Anthony (Tony) Eppert focuses on executive compensation, ESOPs and employee benefit arrangements, while co-head Scott Austin, who is active in the firm’s Dallas office, has particular experience with handling deferred compensation matters, alongside qualified retirement plans and health and welfare plans.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Eppert; Scott Austin

Key clients

Kaleo, Inc.

Utica Mutual Insurance Company

Neiman Marcus

Oncor Electric Delivery Company

NuStar Energy

Vista Corp.

Texas Instruments

Valero Energy

MV Transportation, Inc.

Alkami Technology, Inc.

Spirit of Texas Bancshares, Inc.

Sunlight Financial LLC

Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC

Neiman Marcus Group

NuStar Energy

Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Instruments Incorporated

Valero Energy Company

Vistra Corp

ESW Parent, Inc.

DTE Energy Company

Smithfield Foods, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advising MV Transportation in relation to strategizing and developing alternatives relating to its participation in a significantly underfunded multiemployer pension plan in an effort to mitigate or eliminate the withdrawal liability exposure.

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

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. advises clients regarding Internal Revenue Code compliance, qualified retirement plans, deferred compensation arrangements, and fiduciary responsibilities under ERISA. Led by New York-based Michael Arnold, the team demonstrates notable expertise designing health and welfare plans, helping clients such as Citigroup and the American Staffing Association comply with the Affordable Care Act. Boston-based Patricia Moran advises clients on the full range of compensation and retirement arrangements, and also possesses a strong understanding of the Massachusetts Paid Family & Medical Leave legislation. New York's Michelle Capezza is a trusted advisor to clients on health reform, financial regulatory reform and fiduciary issues, as well as emerging matters such as ESG, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. Alden Bianchi left the practice in November 2022 to join McDermott Will & Emery LLP.

Practice head(s):

Michael Arnold

Other key lawyers:

Patricia Moran; Michelle Capezza

Key clients

John Hancock

Trion Group

Comprehensive Benefit Administrators (CBA)

American Staffing Association

Adecco, N.A.

Boston College

HubSpot, Inc.

Citigroup, Inc.

Ace Hardware

Bose Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Citigroup on all their welfare plan and Affordable Care Act compliance efforts.
  • Advised the American Staffing Association on the impact of the Congressional efforts to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.
  • Advising Ace Hardware on the establishment of an association health plan for Ace and its thousands of domestic retailers.

Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP

The Chicago-based team at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP advises clients on a range of benefit and compensation plans, as well as issues including IRS and DOL audits, compliance with tax and ERISA requirements, and large multiemployer arrangements. The group also competently handle complex and emerging issues, such as travel expense benefits in the wake of Dobbs vs Jackson, fertility, paternity and maternity benefits, and advising on the implications of SECURE 2.0. Andrew Douglass joined from Reed Smith LLP in May 2022, adding extensive knowledge of the financial and legal considerations that concern qualified and nonqualified retirement plans. Team head Patricia Cain is particularly active in the financial and manufacturing sectors, advising clients on the design and implementation of pension, health and welfare plans, while Jeffrey Bakker helps businesses understand their critical fiduciary duties as well as preparing their employment and separation agreements. Linda Hoseman focuses on retirement and welfare plans, ensuring they comply with legislative and regulatory change.

Practice head(s):

Patricia Cain

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Douglass; Jeffrey Bakker; Linda Hoseman


‘This firm provided me with exceptional service. Everyone I dealt with, including attorneys and support staff, was helpful and professional in all my interactions. Collaboration was utilized when necessary to find the best solutions to my problems.’

‘Jeff Bakker provided exceptional service to me. He listened carefully and asked meaningful questions in his effort to understand all the details of my situation. He did not hesitate to enlist the help of his colleagues when necessary. He made my priorities his own, and his thoughtful advice always put my best interest at the forefront.’

Key clients

Kemper Corporation

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital

Reed Smith LLP

Reed Smith LLP handles a range of matters, including the drafting, administration and correction of benefit plans as well as the design and implementation of executive compensation plans. The firm is also adept at advising on specialized programs such as non-stock-based plans and non-qualified retirement plans. The practice is helmed by Allison Sizemore, with specialist expertise in regard to legal compliance for qualified retirement plans and the documentation and disclosure for qualified and nonqualified plans, among others. Jeffrey Aromatorio is noted for his focus on a wide range of executive compensation matters, while Jennifer Gardner is experienced in handling executive compensation arrangements that are subject to Code Sections 409A and 457(f), among others. All listed attorneys are active in Pittsburgh.

Practice head(s):

Allison Sizemore

Other key lawyers:

Jeffrey Aromatorio; Jennifer Gardner


The hallmark of the team here is creative expertise. They’ve got an impressive view into the various options and challenges that may arise.

Sullivan & Worcester LLP

Sullivan & Worcester LLP advises on a range of retirement, welfare, equity and deferred compensation plans. The team has a strong track record of providing ‘practical solutions’ to a client list that includes non-profits, investment managers, financial advisory firms and multinational corporations. David Guadagnoli focuses on the design and implementation of nonqualified deferred compensation and equity compensation arrangements, as well as helping clients navigate IRS and DOL audits. Amy Sheridan possesses a strong understanding of Internal Revenue Code, and aids clients in compliance issues.

Practice head(s):

David Guadagnoli

Other key lawyers:

Amy Sheridan


‘The dedicated specialists have a knowledge and expertise that’s unmatched. David and Amy always provide a technical, yet understandable approach to solving or preventing retirement plan issues.’

‘Whenever I call David or Amy, they answer the phone and make time to talk through questions or let me bounce ideas off them. They have so much technical knowledge and know the practical answer based on regulatory requirements and the associated risks.’

‘Sullivan & Worcester always have someone who is a technical expert in the field and can explain the issues and provide options.’

Key clients

Iron Mountain Incorporated

AlerisLife, Inc.

ING Financial Services LLC

The RMR Group LLC

Sonesta International Hotels Corporation

Neighborhood House Charter School

College Bound Dorchester, Inc.

TravelCenters of America LLC

OneTen Coalition, Inc.

Industrial Logistics Properties Trust

Mobile Infrastructure Trust

Mobile Infrastructure Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advising OneTen Coalition, Inc on a range of employment issues.
  • Advising Mobile Infrastructure Corporation on structuring long term incentive plans and performance units, including tax consequences of awards and the preparation of documents.