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Groom Law Group

Washington, DC

Groom Law Group - Washington, DC
  • 1701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • Washington, DC
  • District of Columbia
  • USA
  • 20006-5811
  • Managing Partner: John F McGuiness
  • FirmChair:   Stephen M Saxon
  • Number of principals: 32
  • Number of other lawyers: 31

Firm Overview:
Groom Law Group, Chartered has been at the forefront of developments in the nation’s employee benefits laws since Congress passed ERISA in 1974, drawing many of its attorneys from the federal agencies that regulate employee benefits and forging strong ties with key players in all three branches of government. With over sixty attorneys dedicated to the employee benefits practice, Groom offers clients unparalleled coverage of issues and disputes arising from ERISA, the Tax Code, securities laws, HIPAA, COBRA, ADEA, and the many other laws that govern employee benefits. Working in nine different practice groups,Groom’s attorneys build upon their diverse backgrounds to share a common understanding of employee benefits law that enables them to integrate their efforts across areas of specialization to produce the best results for their clients. The firm prides itself on offering state-of-the-art advice on best practices and emerging trends in employee benefits to a diverse group of clients across the country. The firm recently expanded to serve the employee benefits needs of clients maintaining plans covering workers in Puerto Rico. Groom emphasizes a team approach to clients that assures responsive and efficient service.

Main Areas of Practice:
Executive Compensation:
Executive compensation practices have recently received unprecedented attention from the media, corporate shareholders, Congress, the IRS, and the SEC. The attorneys in Groom’s Executive Compensation Group navigate this highly charged climate for clients, helping them to design and implement executive compensation arrangements that satisfy corporate objectives while holding up under the scrutiny of federal regulatory agencies.

Fiduciary Responsibility:
From the first regulations and exemptions issued by the Department of Labor to issues seen in today’s news, the attorneys in the Fiduciary Responsibility Group have helped to shape every major administrative initiative related to ERISA’s fiduciary responsibility provisions. Their long-standing relationships with senior policymakers at the Department of Labor enable them to provide state-of-the-art advice and effective advocacy for Fortune 100 plan sponsors and major players throughout the community of plan service providers.

Governmental Plans:
Governmental plans are some of the largest plans in the nation, and while exempt from ERISA and significant parts of the Internal Revenue Code, they are subject to state or local law and special rules under the Internal Revenue Code. The firm represents many state and local plans of all types, including Code 401(a), Code 403(b) and Code 457 plans.

Health & Welfare:
The attorneys in Groom’s Health and Welfare Group are regularly called upon to advise and provide planning assistance to employers, trustees, administrators, boards of directors and other plan fiduciaries and professionals on awide variety of ERISA and tax issues. The group is playing a major role helping clients meet the challenges posed by the massive new federal healthcare reform legislation. The firm provides an array of services to managed care organizations, insurance companies, benefit funds, trade associations, benefits consulting firms, and others on a broad range of health and welfare matters.

Combining across-the-board expertise in employee benefits law with a recognition that some disputes can and must be won in the courts, Groom takes on cases throughout the country for plan sponsors, financial institutions, managed care organizations, service providers, trade associations, and other clients who are seeking practical, tough-minded representation in employee benefits disputes.

Multiemployer/Taft-Hartley Plans:
Groom’s attorneys have been working on multi employer plan issues since before the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980 was passed. Since then, the firm has continued to focus on multiemployer plan issues, representing both multiemployer pension and welfare plans, as well as contributing employers,with respect to issues such as plan funding, fiduciary compliance, mass withdrawal, insolvency, and compliance with ‘endangered’ and ‘critical’ status requirements.

Plan Design & Taxation:
Groom’s Plan Design and Taxation Group has earned a national reputation for its expertise in the creation and operation of all forms of employee benefit programs. Drawing on decades of experience, the attorneys on this team work with Fortune 100 companies, associations, government entities, churches, and financial institutions to design and maintain plans that adhere to regulatory standards and evolve to meet the needs of their sponsors.

Plan Funding & Restructuring:
Drawing on their unparalleled experience and longstanding relationships with key federal agencies, Groom’s Plan Funding and Restructuring Group negotiates and litigates benefits issues and provides creative, forward-looking advice on pension and health liabilities to clients involved in corporate transactions, bankruptcies, and restructurings outside bankruptcy.

Policy & Legislation:
Drawing on their substantive expertise and hands-on experience – one member of the firm’s group was the tax and pension counsel to the House Ways and Means Committee and another was the chief legislative liaison for the Department of Labor – Groom works on benefits-related policies and legislation with members of Congress and the Executive Branch on behalf of trade associations, plan sponsors, financial institutions, healthcare organizations, and other clients from the benefits community.

Representative Clients: American Benefits Council, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, California State Teachers Retirement System, Eli Lilly, Hess Corporation, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, Pfizer, Prudential Financial, Toshiba America.

Areas of Practice

  • Executive Compensation
  • Fiduciary Responsibility
  • Health & Welfare
  • Litigation
  • Plan Design & Taxation
  • Plan Funding & Restructuring
  • Policy & Legislation
  • Public & Multiemployer Plans
  • Governmental Plans
  • Multiemployer/Taft-Hartley Plans


  • 1701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
  • Washington, DC,
  • District of Columbia
  • USA
  • 20006-5811
  • Tel +1 202 857 0620
  • Fax +1 202 659 4503
  • Email : info@groom.com
  • Website : www.groom.com

Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation - District of Columbia

THE FIRM This employee benefits and executive compensation boutique has earned a deserved reputation as a powerhouse in the market. The 60 specialized attorneys offer unrivaled depth and breadth across the practice area, with groups dedicated to employee benefit plan design and restructuring, multiemployer pension schemes, fiduciary responsibility, executive compensation and tax issues. The firm is also in a strong position to guide employers through the complexities of healthcare reform, and enjoys close links with the DOL, IRS and Congress which allow it to apprise employers of developing legislation and new policies. Major clients include Prudential Financial, Pfizer and the American Benefits Council.

Sources say: "Almost any one of their partners would have to be considered a major player."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Gary Ford is an authority on plan termination insurance, with one well-placed client observing that "his experience is pretty much unmatched in this area." Ford handles the complex resolution of benefit plans issues in cases of bankruptcy for an impressive range of major clients, including American Airlines.  

Louis Mazawey has earned a reputation as a "real solid lawyer" in matters touching on ERISA law and executive compensation as well as the design and maintenance of benefits plans to ensure ongoing compliance with government standards.

David Levine chairs the IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities and is an acknowledged expert on the redesign of pension plans in the wake of complex M&A.

Andrée St Martin is described by her peers as "just extraordinarily good" and concentrates on complexities arising from Title I of ERISA. She also possesses great expertise in the structuring of products for the welfare and pensions spheres.

John McGuiness heads the firm's executive compensation group and concentrates on executive compensation and retirement plans in both the public and private sectors. 

Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation - Nationwide

THE FIRM Groom Law Group remains at the forefront of the employee benefits field in the USA. Operating out of DC, the firm has a great platform from which to influence policy and legislation, and is widely acknowledged as a go-to group for advice on fiduciary responsibility, plan design, funding and restructuring, as well as multiemployer and government plans. It represents clients including Pfizer, Toshiba and the American Benefits Council in a wide array of benefits issues.

Sources say: "They provide excellent service. They are extremely knowledgeable, quick to respond, focused on our long-term goals and careful about spending our money."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Gary Ford has "unmatched experience" in the employee benefits field, according to interviewees. He specializes in plan funding and restructuring and is noted for his Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) work. He regularly advises on the consequences and implications of bankruptcies for benefit plans.

Louis Mazawey is described as "a careful and thoughtful lawyer" by his peers. He heads the group's plan design and taxation practice, and advises a range of clients, including Fortune 100 companies, on the inception and upkeep of their plans. He has a wide range of experience in this area, which includes advising on employee stock ownership and qualified plans.

ERISA Litigation - Nationwide

THE FIRM This firm is held in high esteem for its deep expertise in ERISA matters, and houses an impressive bench of experienced attorneys. It recently acted as lead counsel for American Airlines on pension matters following on from the company's bankruptcy proceedings, and continues to advise Eastman Kodak on similar matters. The group has also handled a number of ESOP transactions of late.

Commercial Awareness "They are experts in their field and tremendous to work with. They make sure they respond to our questions quickly, efficiently and accurately, and provide advice which will assist us with providing services rather than just telling us what the law says."

Client Service "They are extremely cost-efficient, and provide excellent results and creative solutions – I always look forward to working with them.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Prame has been praised for always “ensuring that issues are addressed in a timely and efficient manner.” Clients go on to comment: "Michael can anticipate issues, which allows us to be proactive rather than just reactive because he understands our business. He is an outstanding attorney." Among other cases, he has continued to defend Regions Bank and Wilmington Trust in putative class action lawsuits.

Edward Scallet offers extensive experience in ERISA matters, and has a particular focus on preemption issues. He has defended a number of clients involved in DOL investigations.

Lars Golumbic specializes in ERISA litigation, and is highly regarded by clients for his strategic approach to complex matters. His recent highlights include acting for a national pension fund during a DOL investigation.