Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation

Recognized by U.S. News & World Report
and Best Lawyers®

National Tier 3, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law

Metropolitan Tier 2, Dallas/Fort Worth & Houston
Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law

The attorneys of Gardere’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group offer a multitude of services to help companies and organizations develop and execute employee benefit strategies. We provide services in all facets of employee benefit law, including:

  • Qualified plans such as 401(k) and pension plans
  • Non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements including SERPS and excess plans, as well as related Internal Revenue Code Section 409A operational and documentary compliance considerations
  • Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and other stock-based compensation programs
  • Health and welfare plans including advice regarding compliance, disclosure and reporting obligations under the Affordable Care Act which has been referred to as “ACA” or “Obamacare”
  • Fiduciary compliance matters

Our team also assists in employee benefit-related considerations associated with business transactions, including:

  • Stock and asset purchases, and other mergers and acquisitions
  • Multi-employer pension plan terminations and withdrawals and ERISA-related litigation
  • Claim disputes and regulatory inquiries including representation before the IRS, DOL and PBGC

We’ve helped a number of private and public companies in the design, implementation, update and administration of employee benefit plans designed to meet the needs of employees and the cash flow limitations of the client. Our attorneys provide counsel to our clients with respect to filings with the Internal Revenue Service, Securities and Exchange Commission, and Department of Labor regarding the following:

  • Amendments and restatements
  • Voluntary correction programs
  • Terminations
  • Proxy filings
  • Audits or examinations of their plans by various governmental agencies, including DOL audits and IRS Closing Agreement Programs or CAPs)
  • Exemption applications for prohibited transactions and settlements with the IRS and the DOL in connection with potential plan disqualification issues, penalty assessments and fiduciary matters

Our attorneys have been involved in numerous transactions relating to employee stock ownership plans, ranging from fiduciary/trustee representation in connection with the initial adoption of an ESOP to the sale of ESOP stock in connection with merger and acquisition-related or redemption transactions. Our team evaluates and performs due diligence of benefit employee benefit pension, welfare and deferred compensation programs of companies being acquired by clients to determine possible plan design, qualification or fiduciary issues to be addressed and various correction programs that may be utilized.

In addition, we have vast experience in preparing representations, warranties and covenants relating to employee benefit plans for all different aspects of purchase, sales, merger and loan/financing documents. We also assist companies in the termination of their plans, including:

  • Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation compliant standard
  • Distress and involuntary terminations of plans
  • Representation in bankruptcy and other solvency-related proceedings
  • Designing employee (including electronic) communications
  • Supervising and designing plan liquidation and distribution procedures and addressing rollover issues

Many of our employee benefits and executive compensation lawyers serve as special and general counsel to trust departments of banks, trust companies, plan committees and independent fiduciaries on fiduciary and transactional matters, as well as counsel to boards of trustees of multi-employer pension and health and welfare plans and compensation committees.

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