District of Columbia

Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation

Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation - District of Columbia


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What the team is known for Preeminent benefits specialists renowned for handling the most significant and sophisticated benefits and tax concerns for clients in the pension services industry, financial services and public sector. Formidable bench of accomplished subject matter experts, most recently excelling with a burgeoning healthcare practice. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)  

"We consistently get practical legal advice. Groom starts with a very sophisticated understanding of the question we are asking and, in all likelihood, has advised one if not several other clients on similar issues. Their expertise gives us confidence."

"A small firm loaded with lawyers with specific ERISA expertise. Any issue we have goes to a specialist."

Work highlights Acted for AT&T on obtaining a prohibited transaction exemption, allowing around $9.1 billion of preferred LLC equity interests in its Mobility wireless subsidiary to be contributed to AT&T's pension plan.

Represented a church-related entity in cutting-edge benefits litigation concerning its church plan status.  

Notable practitioners  

Widely regarded as the "dean of the Bar," Gary Ford remains preeminent, excelling in Title IV ERISA litigation. Market observers characterize Ford as "a balanced, well-rounded employee benefits lawyer with good judgment." Satisfied clients assert that "there's no one better than Gary."

The "terrific" Louis Mazawey continues to be held in high esteem and is described by peers as "a splendid encapsulation of what you'd want an ERISA lawyer to be." Clients attest to the "technical expertise and creativity" he brings to bear in his tax-focused benefits and compensation practice.

David Levine is well regarded for his broad based benefits practice. His recent work includes advising on pension plan de-risking, payroll reporting, and executive compensation plan corrections for operation and document failures under Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code.

Andrée St Martin continues to impress with her Title I focused practice, garnering particular praise for her strength in the area of prohibited transactions. Sources attest that she "knows ERISA backwards and forwards, and is very calm and authoritative in her advice."

IRS alumna Christine Keller is highlighted by sources for her "distinguished expertise in health and welfare." Impressed commentators call her "very knowledgeable and very client-focused."

The "very knowledgeable" John McGuiness heads up the firm's executive compensation group. He has a broad scope of experience in the field, including advising multinational clients on recent spin-out and divestiture projects. Clients praise McGuiness as being "very experienced and very calm."

Significant clients American Benefits Council, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, California State Teachers Retirement System, Eli Lilly, Hess.

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What the team is known for Highly rated group of esteemed employee benefits and executive compensation specialists, with a depth of experience appearing before federal government agencies. Typically acts for large multinational companies, and is highly adept in handling sophisticated issues at the vanguard of regulatory reform.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They hire the best people and provide the best service." 

"They have the technical expertise we look for, and also have a nice ability to manage risk and know what we're looking for."

Work highlights Advised AstraZeneca on employment and benefits matters connected to its $4 billion acquisition of Bristol-Myers Squibb's interests in its diabetes alliance.

Continued to provide counsel to the NFL on all employee benefits and executive compensation matters.

Notable practitioners  

The highly esteemed Amy Moore continues to garner praise for her wide-ranging expertise in the field, with commentators asserting that "she knows a lot about a lot." Moore's practice includes the representation of employers before federal agencies as well as advising plan fiduciaries and asset managers on benefit plan investments and prohibited transaction exemptions.

The "excellent" Richard Shea is well versed in complex benefit plan designs, routinely handling major strategic compensation and benefits issues for blue-chip clients. Interviewees also identify him as a leading expert on cash balance cases.

Robert Newman is making waves in the market as a "very diligent, very careful, detail-oriented and persistent" practitioner with wide-ranging expertise. He has worked extensively with the NFL of late, with regard to its executive compensation and employee benefits plans, in addition to advising Pepco Holdings on its merger with Exelon.

The "spectacular" John Vine continues to be considered "the dean of the Bar." His enduring reputation as an ERISA expert ensures he remains a valued resource to the group, as well as being "very well respected by clients."

Significant clients The ERISA Industry Committee, Dow Chemical, GE, Textron, NFL.

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What the team is known for Well-regarded boutique housing a compact team of dedicated benefits specialists, closely integrated with a renowned tax practice. Offers accomplished subject matter expertise pertaining to health and welfare plans, qualified retirement plans, plan terminations and fringe benefits.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"A highly regarded benefits boutique." 

"A good, solid firm." 

Notable practitioners  

The "excellent" Kevin O'Brien is highly regarded for his extensive expertise in the benefits field. Commentators observe: "When he gives advice, he covers the waterfront of activity - it's really solid, thoughtful stuff."

Benefits and tax expert Rosina Barker routinely advises Fortune 50 clients in relation to their employee compensation plans, demonstrating particular proficiency in the qualified plan space. Sources say she is "super, super smart."

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What the team is known for Venerable employee benefits and tax boutique, esteemed for its capacity to handle a broad range of complex issues, particularly those involving governmental agencies. Offers deep expertise pertaining to healthcare reform and information reporting, with impressive sector-specific experience in a range of industries.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're excellent and you can always rely on their advice: it's very thorough, always timely and very accessible from a client's perspective."

"They have good contacts in the federal agencies, so you can get that perspective too - they provide a very thorough and complete analysis that links together."

Notable practitioners  

Marianna Dyson is well regarded for her extensive expertise pertaining to fringe benefits, payroll taxes and information reporting. Her recent work includes advising hospitality industry clients in relation to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxation of tips.

Chair of the employee benefits group Fred Oliphant continues to be held in high esteem for his proficiency in handling the federal tax aspects of employee benefits and executive compensation work. Commentators observe that he "serves clients efficiently and very well." Clients also praise him as "a very good communicator" who "discusses things with you on a level you can understand."

The "wonderful" Gary Quintiere counsels clients on the full spectrum of benefits concerns, demonstrating diverse expertise across the board. Clients attest that "his judgment is very good, and he applies a lot of common sense to things that are sometimes very difficult and technical questions."

Michael Lloyd's practice spans the employee benefit and tax fields, with particular expertise pertaining to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. He counsels clients - typically large multinationals - with regard to compliance with information reporting and withholding rules.

Elizabeth Drake continues to impress marketplace observers, focusing her practice on defined benefits and defined contribution retirement plans. Sources say she is "careful, responsive and thoughtful."

Anthony Provenzano's practice continues to blossom. Provenzano offers an impressive level of expertise in executive compensation work, and is praised as "very thorough and very knowledgeable of the tax code." 

Significant clients GE, Abbott Laboratories, Texas Instruments, Peabody Energy, Darden Restaurants.

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What the team is known for Robust practice, impressing with both its bench strength and its nationwide reach, and offering distinguished fringe benefits and regulatory expertise. Acclaimed for its representation of vendors, as well as acting for a broad range of corporate and investment management clients.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The firm has a broad reach and competency in many different areas and geographic locations."

"They are very knowledgeable and have the expertise to respond to questions promptly, and their turnaround is very quick."

Work highlights Advised InnoPharma with respect to all employee benefits elements of its $225 million sale to Pfizer.

Acted for the senior executive team of rue21 with regard to the negotiation of executive compensation arrangements after the $1.1 billion sale of the company to Apax Partners.

Notable practitioners  

The "excellent" Mary Hevener counsels clients in connection with the minimization of payroll tax and the maximization of corporate deductions on worker benefits. Sources say: "Her technical expertise is fantastic."

Althea Day's practice continues to thrive, advising plan sponsors with respect to the full spectrum of benefits concerns. Day is described by observers as being "very practical and very realistic."

Daniel Hogans demonstrates substantial regulatory expertise in the field of executive compensation, notably with respect to 409A matters, and is well respected for his Treasury background. Clients say he is "down to earth and practical," with one interviewee valuing him as "one of the most knowledgeable attorneys I've worked with."

Significant clients Google, American Airlines, Alliant Techsystems, rue21, InnoPharma.

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What the team is known for Maintains a longstanding reputation in the employee benefits space, supported by a prominent litigation team. Handles the full spectrum of benefits concerns for financial institutions and large corporate clients, including fiduciary work for the securities industry. Demonstrates particular strength in the areas of ERISA litigation, investigations, tax issues and prohibited transactions. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The partners have good relationships with the Department of Labor and can offer insight into the department's views on various topics." 

Work highlights Represented Morgan Stanley in a putative class action brought by a 401(k) plan alleging ERISA violations. The team secured dismissal of the claim in the Southern District Court of New York.

Acted for Staples with regard to claims filed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation alleging liability for unfunded benefit and Title IV liabilities.

Notable practitioners  

The "brilliant" Melanie Nussdorf is a celebrated ERISA Title I expert, praised for her "unparalleled experience in this area of law." She handles investigations for financial institution clients, as well as excelling in fiduciary advisory and prohibited transaction exemption work. One source notes: "You feel like you're her only client."

Paul Ondrasik is held in high regard for his litigation-focused employee benefits practice and is esteemed for his depth of experience handling ERISA class actions. Recent work includes representing Morgan Stanley and Staples in plan disputes.

Significant clients Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, SIFMA, Credit Suisse, UBS.

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What the team is known for Broad practice of subject matter specialists, acting for clients on a national basis. Provides distinguished expertise in a range of matters, including actuarial issues, health and welfare concerns, ERISA litigation and Congressional relations.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are extremely responsive, as well as strategic and incredibly knowledgeable."

"They help to bridge the gap between what the law says and what's practical in reality." 

Work highlights Acted for Southside Bank on its $307 million acquisition of Omni American Bancorp, advising on benefits matters related to the transaction.

Represented actuary Buck Consultants in a malpractice suit brought by the City of Providence, concerning projected savings from a pension system reform.

Notable practitioners  

Thomas Schendt routinely appears before regulatory agencies, impressing with his proficiency in handling IRS, DOL and PBGC matters. Clients appreciate that he is "incredibly knowledgeable," and "offers great guidance."

Significant clients Hilton Worldwide, Regions Financial, Wells Fargo, CenturyLink, Imerys.

Band 3 | Arent Fox LLP

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What the team is known for Advises employers, benefit plans and plan fiduciaries on the full spectrum of benefits concerns, providing counsel on tax and compliance issues, as well as the benefits aspects of corporate transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"A lot of collegiality is apparent in terms of their culture, and that makes them good business partners."

"They have a wealth of experience and provide good, practical advice. They also understand our organization, which makes their advice more attuned to our risk tolerance."

Work highlights Represented the Official Committee of Retired Employees of Eastman Kodak Company through the company's bankruptcy and subsequent restructuring, advising on the structure of funding and insurance vehicles to ensure ongoing benefits.

Advised Panda Restaurant Group with respect to its executive equity participation plans, retirement benefits and health plans.

Notable practitioners  

The "fabulous" Quana Jew advises on health and welfare benefits as well as fringe benefits, in addition to handling IRS and DOL audits. Clients laud her as an "excellent counselor," noting that she "goes above and beyond the call of duty and is always available."

William Charyk is highlighted as an "exceptionally responsive" practitioner, who is "very quickly able to cut through a complicated situation and understand what's going on." He focuses on benefit and compensation tax planning, as well as taxation of partnerships.

Significant clients Atlantic Media, Monsanto, Carl Zeiss, Choice Hotels International, Washington Real Estate Investment Trust.

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What the team is known for Compact yet respected employee benefits and insurance tax boutique, particularly adept at helping clients navigate the legislative and regulatory arenas. Houses attorneys with significant governmental backgrounds, positioning the group at the forefront of developments in the field.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"It's a very small firm, but really influential." 

"They know how to present arguments on the Hill that are effective."

Notable practitioners  

The "excellent" Kent Mason continues to impress peers with his comprehensive expertise pertaining to retirement plans. Market commentators highlight that he is "very knowledgeable," adding: "You're not going to find a smarter lawyer."

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What the team is known for Noted for its strength in benefits and compensation matters arising from corporate transactions, with particular presence in the private equity space. Also highlighted for its expertise in matters concerning multiemployer plans and sophisticated ERISA disputes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Practical, responsive and very knowledgeable." 

"They provide outstanding benefits and executive compensation support."

Work highlights Represented the NFL Players Association in collective bargaining with the NFL over pension and disability benefits matters.

Acted for the board of directors and some executives of Kodak in an ERISA stock-drop case in the Western District of New York. 

Notable practitioners  

Michael Collins is cochair of the firm's executive compensation and employee benefits group, and is valued by clients as being "extremely responsive, very knowledgeable and very efficient." His advisory practice spans all aspects of benefits and compensation work.

William Kilberg is a seasoned ERISA expert held in high esteem for his all-encompassing employment, labor and benefits practice. Recent work includes providing counsel to Kodak executives and JPMorgan Chase directors in stock-drop cases.

Significant clients Arkansas Best Freight, Capital One, Hamilton Lane Partners, Moody's, UBS.

Band 3 | Jones Day

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What the team is known for Solid employee benefits and executive compensation team, benefiting from broad interdisciplinary expertise and international reach. Notably strong in ERISA litigation.

Work highlights Acted for Peabody Energy in a dispute regarding its liability to pay retiree health benefits to former employees of former subsidiaries after a 2007 spin-out transaction.

Represented The PNC Financial Services Group in an ERISA dispute concerning severance pay claims arising from the 2008 acquisition of National City Corporation and the subsequent divestiture of part of its operations.

Notable practitioners  

Evan Miller is a well-respected ERISA litigator with experience ranging from stock drop cases to fiduciary duty class actions. He also provides counsel to sponsors and administrators on a broad spectrum of employee benefits matters.

Significant clients GM, Harman International, Halliburton, City of Detroit, Total Petrochemicals Pension Plan.

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What the team is known for Demonstrates a broad range of experience across the spectrum of employee benefits and executive compensation work. Adept in the representation of media, real estate, banking and financial services clients, and excels particularly in ERISA matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're incredibly responsive and their advice is very clear and business-oriented."

"The quality of the work and the quality of the advice are always consistent."

Work highlights Advised Orbital Sciences on all aspects of employee benefit plans and equity compensation awards related to its Morris Trust transaction with Alliant Techsystems.

Acted for Kite Realty Group Trust on its merger with Inland Diversified Real Estate Trust, advising on compensation and benefits aspects of the transaction.

Notable practitioners  

Kurt Lawson is held in high esteem by peers for his significant ERISA and healthcare experience, and for his deep 401(k) expertise. Clients say he is "thoughtful, responsive and practical."

Significant clients Dell, NextEra Energy, 21st Century Fox, The McClatchy Company, American National Red Cross.

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What the team is known for Well-reputed executive compensation, employee benefits and ERISA litigation offering, demonstrating particular proficiency in the handling of de-risking programs and prohibited transaction exemptions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)  

"The team was personable, honest about the challenges, incredibly thorough in research and explanation, and provided us with important confidence that it could complete the job in the timeline provided while dedicating the right mix of resources."

"These lawyers lead with client skills, have the business judgment, and are well rounded." 

Work highlights Advised Frontier Communications with respect to benefits and compensation issues pertaining to its $2 billion acquisition of AT&T's Connecticut wireline residential and business services.

Acted as independent counsel to the fiduciary committee in GM's de-risking transaction, which involved shifting the liability for the payment of pensions from the GM plan to Prudential Financial through the purchase of guaranteed annuities.

Notable practitioners  

Mark Wincek heads up the firm's employee benefits group and is an accomplished practitioner with a broad-based practice. One client notes: "He's one of the smartest lawyers I've ever worked with and the only guy I want to use for ERISA."

Significant clients ING Direct, Dun & Bradstreet, Yum! Brands, PepsiCo, Office Depot.

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What the team is known for Comprehensive employee benefits offering, benefiting from a nationwide footprint and deep multidisciplinary bench with expertise in the fields of investment funds, tax, labor law and ERISA litigation.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"What's great about Proskauer is it's such a great firm with a lot of specific knowledge - no matter how complicated the area, they always have an expert."

"All the attorneys we have dealt with are very smart and knowledgeable in their area, and the coordination between different groups has been very fluid."

Work highlights Acted for Chrysler in negotiations concerning its acquisition by Fiat. Fiat bought the $3.65 billion shares owned by the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust.

Advised Becton, Dickinson & Company with regard to the structuring of an investment management outsourcing agreement with Goldman Sachs Asset Management as the outsourcing investment manager for the defined benefit plan master trust.

Notable practitioners  

The "phenomenal" Paul Hamburger spearheads the DC practice. He advises on all facets of employee benefits programs statewide and nationally, and offers noted expertise pertaining to the Affordable Care Act. One client characterizes him as "very precise, very knowledgeable and very careful and diligent in his analysis."

Significant clients AOL, Bass Pro Shops, Bloomberg BNA, Honeywell, Humana.

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What the team is known for An emerging presence in the field, offering the full scope of employee benefits and executive compensation representation to clients ranging from multinational corporations to variable annuity issuers, broker-dealers, and 401(k) plan administrators. Experienced in handling IRS audits of retirement plans and deferred compensation plans.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are so knowledgeable in their area: with very little startup they're able to come on the scene, research and provide guidance with relative ease and strong clarity."

"Whatever I have needed their assistance on they have been very helpful."

Work highlights Acted for the American Council of Life Insurers in a legal challenge to District of Columbia legislation concerning the funding of its Affordable Care Act.

Notable practitioners  

Adam Cohen advises on the executive compensation elements of corporate transactions, as well as having particular expertise in qualified retirement plan work. He counts Time Warner as one of his clients, and is praised as being "extremely bright, very personable and very current on issues."

Carol Weiser is an accomplished practitioner, labeled "outstanding" by clients. She focuses on executive compensation work, with particular expertise pertaining to 409A rules.

Significant clients Cox Enterprises, Altria Group, Time Warner Cable, Philip Morris International Management, Procter & Gamble. 

Band 4 | Venable LLP

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What the team is known for Comprehensive employee benefits and executive compensation practice distinguished for its experience in multiemployer pension plans. Represents a broad spectrum of clients, with noted proficiency acting for government entities.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"We appreciate the expertise of the firm, its ability to help us understand the basis for its recommendations, and its proactive management of our issues."

"They are extremely approachable and very knowledgeable."

Notable practitioners  

Lisa Tavares is recognized for her expertise in tax concerns and retirement plans, among other matters. Sources say: "She is very knowledgeable and explains complex issues very well."

Other Ranked Lawyers 其他上榜律师

William Schmidt of K&L Gates is held in high esteem for his employee benefits and institutional investment expertise. He is highlighted by peers for his deep knowledge pertaining to fiduciary responsibility issues under ERISA.

David Della Rocca of Latham & Watkins LLP focuses on the compensation and benefits aspects of corporate transactions, and is singled out by one client for delivering "extremely prompt, solid advice that I have a lot of confidence in." Recent work includes handling all employee benefits-related matters connected to Darden Restaurants' sale of the Red Lobster restaurant chain.

David Rogers heads up McDermott Will & Emery LLP's nationwide benefits practice and has particular expertise pertaining to the cruise industry. He is also praised for his familiarity with the employee benefits aspects of bankruptcy. Clients note that Rogers "has an outstanding combination of skill, knowledge of the area, and ability to fashion practical and economical solutions to problems."

Raymond Cotton of Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC has extensive experience representing higher education clients with regard to executive compensation and presidential contracts. Clients praise him as being "highly professional" and "a great negotiator."

The "thorough, responsive and always available" Eric Keller of Paul Hastings LLP is lauded for his "deep subject matter expertise," notably with regard to the Affordable Care Act. He advises clients such as Sony and Credit Suisse on the benefits aspects of transactions, and is praised as a practitioner who "does a really great job of providing practical advice."

The "approachable and pragmatic" Mark Poerio of Paul Hastings LLP is praised by clients as being "very much at the top of his game." He has a breadth of employee benefits and executive compensation expertise, recently serving as benefits counsel to The Economist and AIG.

Foreign Experts

Foreign Experts are individuals with expertise in a different jurisdiction to the one they are based in. These individuals are particularly highly regarded for international and cross-border work. Usually, they will be identified in the jurisdiction in which they are based and in their country of expertise.

Senior Statesman

A 'Senior Statesman' is a lawyer who no longer works hands-on with the same intensity but who, by virtue of close links with major clients, remains pivotal to the firm’s success.

Eminent Practitioners

'Eminent Practitioners' are highly influential lawyers in a particular practice area who, due to managerial or client relationship commitments, are less active in day-to-day work but remain key players in the team.

Other Noted Practitioners

Other Noted Practitioners are individuals who have not yet been ranked but are seen to be active and accomplished in this area of law.

Other Noted Firms

Other Noted Firms are firms that have not yet been ranked but are seen to be active and accomplished in this area of law.