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Employee Benefits, Compensation & ERISA

Employee Benefits, Compensation & ERISA


We make it easier for employers to attract and retain the best and brightest employees by helping them offer competitive to cutting-edge benefit packages while minimizing liabilities. 

We also help service providers offer their expertise and bring innovative products to market using our knowledge of the numerous regulations that govern their industries.

Practical Solutions

Our practical solutions for plan sponsors and service providers make it possible for employees to receive much-appreciated and affordable retirement and welfare benefits. 

We help minimize costs and liabilities by advising on Internal Revenue Code and ERISA requirements, in general, and fiduciary issues, in particular. Our knowledge covers qualified retirement plans, nonqualified plans, and insurances, including medical and life, allowing us to provide creative solutions with limited risk.

Service Providers

Our advice to service providers, including the insurance industry, securities broker-dealers, financial services companies, third-party administrators, managed care companies, and welfare plan claims adjusters, helps them offer the services and products that plan sponsors need with the desired tax and fiduciary impacts.

Plan Sponsors

We assist plan sponsors with the entire benefit plan life cycle, starting with which arrangements to offer, the proper selection of service providers, and drafting or reviewing plan documentation. Our ongoing counseling includes advice on fiduciary compliance, plan interpretations, administrative advice, error correction, and claims administration. We also advise on plan terminations or conversions.

We handle arrangements including 401(k) plans, defined benefit plans, IRAs, profit-sharing plans, money purchase pension plans, 403(b) plans, 457 plans, 409A plans, life insurance, medical insurance (fully insured and self-insured), cafeteria plans, wellness programs, flexible spending accounts, parking reimbursement plans, and wrap documents.

Our clients include public entities, for-profit closely held companies, controlled groups, and nonprofits.

Targeted Skills

We advise service providers as to their obligations under contract and applicable law, including ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, the Securities Act, and FINRA Rules. Regarding welfare benefit plan sponsors and providers, we advise on numerous issues, including the Affordable Care Act, COBRA, and FMLA requirements.

We offer fiduciary advice to service providers and plan sponsors to minimize liabilities while providing proper plan services, and we defend the actions of those sponsors and service providers when questioned by a participant, beneficiary, regulatory agency, or court.

We advise on proper plan documentation and operations, including the correction of later-discovered errors. To the extent those errors are discovered by a regulatory agency, we represent our clients in audit situations.

We defend our clients in court, advise them outside of it, and frequently offer our insights at speaking engagements and in publications.


Representative ERISA Matters
  • Counsel for numerous financial institutions and insurance companies in the area of ERISA litigation involving both employee welfare and retirement plans. In the health and welfare benefit plan area, we represent clients in multidistrict class action litigation against major managed care providers. We have prevailed in matters for plan sponsors in cases involving such cutting-edge issues as preemption of state law enforcement of a plan reimbursement provision, and the inapplicability of the “make whole” doctrine to a health insurer’s or health plan’s enforcement of a plan reimbursement provision.
  • Whether death benefits resulting from autoerotic asphyxiation are covered under an accidental death policy provision that excludes benefits for death resulting from the intentional infliction of bodily injury.
  • Use and enforcement of the “gender rule” for purposes of coordinating plan benefits.
  • Whether future medical benefits become vested and irrevocable for individuals receiving long-term disability benefits at the time of disability or at the time the medical benefits are incurred.
  • Whether bipolar disorder is a mental or physical illness for purposes of limiting long-term disability benefits.

​Representative Retirement Plan Area Experience

  • Defended 401(k) plan service providers in nationwide class action involving their receipt of revenue sharing fees.
  • Obtained dismissal on behalf of a life insurance client in putative class action involving IRC § 412(i) plans.
  • Prevailed on motion to dismiss for a 401(k) plan trustee in ERISA breach of fiduciary duty stock-drop case.
  • Represented 16 state guaranty funds in litigation in federal court in California relating to claims by holders of more than $200 million in guaranteed investment contracts against the guaranty funds for alleged breaches of ERISA fiduciary duties in connection with insurer’s rehabilitation plan.


Our Team

Key Contacts

Lowell J. Walters
Of Counsel

Additional Members

Gina Alsdorf
Washington, D.C.
Cathleen Bell Bremmer
Of Counsel
Todd M. Fuller
Stephen W. Kraus
Washington, D.C.
James M. Sconzo


The information on this website is presented as a service for our clients and Internet users and is not intended to be legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. Although we welcome your inquiries, please keep in mind that merely contacting us will not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Consequently, you should not convey any confidential information to us until a formal attorney-client relationship has been established. Please remember that electronic correspondence on the internet is not secure and that you should not include sensitive or confidential information in messages. With that in mind, we look forward to hearing from you.