Our ERISA and employee benefits practice has a two-fold role. We serve as General Counsel to a considerable number of pension, welfare, annuity and labor-management cooperation and apprentice funds. ABGL provides clients with advice regarding any type of ERISA and I.R.S. compliance issues. Our Attorneys have the ability to work with our clients during this time of enhanced government scrutiny of all benefit plans, whether union or employer-sponsored.
Our background allows our clients to share the benefit of our experience both from a practical and innovative standpoint. Several of our Attorneys have spoken nationally on cutting edge issues such as consumer-driven personal health accounts, the merger of employee benefit plans, DOL compliance, the responsibility of plan sponsors and trustees in the investment area and HIPAA issues. One of our Partners has co-chaired the working paper presented to the U.S. Secretary of Labor on hedge funds and prudent investment practices, as well as a separate paper on 401(k) compliance issues in view of the Pension Protection Act and other legal developments. Another partner has a well-deserved reputation based on his prior career with the U.S. DOL, Employee Benefits Security Administration, to counsel both union and employer clients as to potential I.R.S. and DOL issues. A number of our attorneys have considerable employee benefit and fringe benefit collection expertise and backgrounds.
We advise and counsel employers of all sizes on the design, creation, compliance and operation of all types of employee benefit plans. We are experienced in dealing with qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, welfare plans, and deferred compensation arrangements. We regularly represent employers and advise on employee benefit issues in mergers. We also assist companies in resolving IRS audits and Department of Labor investigations of employee benefit plans.
The firm developed a considerable reputation assisting plan sponsors, their trustees and administrators, in their fiduciary capacity, with respect to administration of benefit plans. Our Employee Benefits team is equipped to help you:
- Prepare plan merger documents;
- Advise as to solicitation and retention of professional advisors;
- Advise concerning the appointment, monitoring and removal of trustees;
- Develop programs with respect to design and administration of plans;
- Draft all forms of provider agreements, including investment management agreements, investment consulting agreements and third-party administration agreements;
- Defend breach of fiduciary duty claims under ERISA;
- Counsel plan sponsors, trustees, and fiduciaries with respect to ERISA claims;
- Litigate claims for contributions owed to multiemployer benefit plans;
- Litigate ERISA claims in a bankruptcy context;
- Counsel clients on fiduciary “pitfalls”;
- Represent clients before the U.S. DOL and the IRS;
- Comply with labor and employment laws regarding compensation and employee benefits, including compliance with all laws surrounding discrimination, family leave, mandated leave, and labor wage and related laws;
- Maintain compliance with federal tax laws, ERISA, and related laws;
- Advise on the impact of laws and regulations governing employee benefits, including ERISA, tax laws, COBRA, HIPAA, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, Sarbanes Oxley, WARN Act, and other federal and state rules;
- Develop procedures and practices in satisfaction of fiduciary duties;
- Address benefits issues in corporate transactions and restructurings, providing a range of services, including due diligence reviews of benefit programs and counsel on post-closing benefit issues, such as plan liability transfers and plan amendments and terminations; and,
- Implement strategies to insulate and prevent benefits-related dispute lawsuits, whether arising from the government or plan participants.
Our ERISA litigators defend clients in ERISA lawsuits involving employee benefit plans and plan fiduciaries. We also advise our clients in administering their plans. Because the level of confidence that both union and management trustees have in the performance of our legal services, we generally serve as sole counsel on the Funds that we represent.
Finally, our level of expertise in the employee benefit areas has been widely recognized. Invitations to speak before trade associations, attorney associations, employment groups, and labor unions have included issues such as:
- Retiree health benefits
- Alternative ERISA collection techniques
- Laws that affect benefit funds as an employer
- Trustees’ role in selecting investment managers and investment consultants
- Interaction of collective bargaining process with the role of ERISA trustees
- Making a merger of employee benefit plans work
- Recent legislative regulatory and legal developments in health care field
- Pension Protection update