We deliver comprehensive solutions that help clients address day-to-day issues and execute long-term business strategies. By establishing efficient, cost-effective teams with a well-rounded view of each client’s needs, we help design and implement customized solutions that are practical, comprehensive and conform to regulatory requirements. To ensure that clients are up to date on emerging employee benefits issues, we constantly monitor legislative, regulatory and judicial developments under the Internal Revenue Code, the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and federal and state employment and securities laws.
Our team provides counsel to plan sponsors (employers), institutional fiduciaries, securities issuers, plan administrators, and securities brokers and dealers on the implications of their employee benefit plan activities. We regularly advise companies and fiduciary committees regarding plan governance, plan investment selection and monitoring, the retention and monitoring of third-party administrators, and the handling of benefits claims. This advice encompasses ERISA standards for fiduciary conduct, prohibited transactions, available exemptions, plan asset issues and disclosures to participants and beneficiaries.
We regularly handle employee benefits issues raised in the acquisition and disposition of businesses, such as negotiation of employee benefit agreements, plan assumptions and integrations, plan terminations, plan spin-offs and special problems involving plans for collectively bargained employees. We also provide tax advice regarding the consequences to the plan sponsor, plan and plan participants of all types of employee benefit programs, including obtaining private letter rulings from the IRS.
When disputes arise, we represent employers in arbitrations involving pension and benefit claims arising under collective bargaining agreements and employment agreements, including disputes over “shutdown” pensions, service dates, benefit calculations and other issues. We have negotiated, arbitrated and litigated employee benefits issues with many unions, including the United Steelworkers, PACE (and its predecessors), Machinists, American Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, Teamsters, IBEW, Graphic Communications International Union, United Auto Workers, IUE-CWA (and their predecessors), United Food and Commercial Workers (and its predecessors), Plumbers & Pipefitters, Carpenters, SEIU, UNITE-HERE, and Transport Workers.
The Employee Benefits Group is key practice within our full-service firm, working closely with lawyers in the firm’s labor and employment, corporate, estate planning and litigation departments. We have represented clients in collective bargaining benefits work in virtually every significant American industry, including bakery, aluminum, steel, paper, automotive, communications, chemical, cement, food processing, grocery retail, grocery warehouse, trucking, energy production and distribution, security and others. Our clients have business operations in countries around the world, and we regularly advise clients on the relationship between U.S. and foreign benefits laws; in particular, we provide counsel about foreign law compliance in implementing global stock compensation plans. With offices in capitals and commercial centers worldwide, and well-established relationships with lawyers in an even longer list of jurisdictions, we help clients comply with the unique rules found in different legal systems worldwide.