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ERISA 2017: The Evolving World


Speaker(s): Alan Lebowitz, Alicia C. McCarthy, Allison E. Wielobob, Andrew L. Oringer, Arthur H. Kohn, Bruce D. Gallant, Christina Y. Lee, Constance Markakis, Gisele M. Sutherland, H. Douglas Hinson, Harold J Ashner, Ian L. Levin, Jason Bortz, Jeanie Cogill, Jennifer E. Eller, Joseph P. Craven, Karen L. Handorf, Lori E. Bostrom, Michael B. Richman, Michael J. Boro, Peter E. Haller, Phyllis C. Borzi, Robert C. Fleder, Sarah L. Burt, Seth Rosenbloom, Shannon Barrett, Steven W. Rabitz, Tammy Bawnik, Thomas D'Elisa, Wendy Schick Dougall
Recorded on: Jul. 31, 2017
PLI Program #: 186658

Alicia C. McCarthy is Counsel in the Executive Compensation and Benefits Department at Wachtell Lipton.  Ms. McCarthy advises clients with respect to executive compensation and employee benefit matters involving mergers and acquisitions, spin-offs, joint ventures, financings, litigation as well as plan compliance.  Her experience includes ERISA’s fiduciary rules and the investment of plan assets with an extensive background representing financial institutions, fund sponsors and ERISA investors.  She also advises on executive compensation matters including performance-based compensation plans, nonqualified pension plans, and employment, severance and change in control agreements.

Ms. McCarthy chairs the Committee of Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.  She speaks frequently on executive compensation and ERISA topics for the Practicing Law Institute where she co-chairs the ERISA Investment Fiduciary Basics program.  She is the recipient of the Pro Bono Publico Award (2010, 2011 and 2014) for her services to The Legal Aid Society.  She is also recognized in Best Lawyers of America (2012-2019) in Employee Benefits (ERISA) law and New York Super Lawyers (2013-2018).  She recently co-authored the articles “Sun Capital Redux:  Private Equity and Pension Liability,” The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation (April 5, 2016); “Counting to 80,” Private Equity Manager (August 2013); and “New Ways to Manage Old Pension Liabilities,” Law 360 (June 17, 2013).

Ms. McCarthy received her B.A. in 1981 from Georgetown University and her J.D. cum laude in 1984 from Brooklyn Law School, where she was a member of the Journal of International Law.


Allison Wielobob is General Counsel at the American Retirement Association.  Allison brings nearly 20 years of experience—both in government service and private practice—with a broad range of employee benefits issues under ERISA and the Code.  Allison served as a legislation counsel for the Joint Committee on Taxation of the U.S. Congress and was on the staff of the Office of Regulations and Interpretations of the Employee Benefits Security Administration.  After leaving the Labor Department, Allison worked at Eversheds Sutherland (US) in Washington, DC.


Andrew L. Oringer is a partner and the co-chair of the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group at Dechert LLP.  He is the co-chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association’s Business Section, the Emerging Issues Coordinator of the Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Taxation, a former co-chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the Tax Section of the New York State Bar Association and chair of the NYSBA’s Committee on Attorney Professionalism.  Mr. Oringer is a charter member of the Practical Law Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Advisory Board and was a long-standing member of the Advisory Board for the Bloomberg BNA Benefits Resource Practice Center and for the Tax Management Compensation Planning Journal.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, a Senior Fellow from Practice for the Regulatory Compliance Association and an adjunct professor at the Maurice A. Deane Law School at Hofstra University.  He is co-editor of a leading treatise on ERISA fiduciary law and has authored a chapter in a leading treatise on the taxation of nonqualified deferred compensation.  Mr. Oringer is highly rated by a number of key ranking organizations, is included in a widely disseminated list of the Top 100 lawyers in New York City across all practice areas and is a member of The Legal 500 Hall of Fame.


Arthur Kohn is a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton LLP. His practice focuses on compensation and benefits matters, including executive compensation, pension compliance and investment, employment law and related matters.

He repeatedly has been recognized for his work on behalf of clients by the business and legal press, including Best Lawyers, which named him its 2014 New York Employee Benefits (ERISA) Lawyer of the Year. He has also been recognized for his work in employee benefits and executive compensation law by Chambers USA, The Legal 500, Super Lawyers of New York and others.

He is frequently invited to speak about executive compensation, taxation and corporate governance matters across the United States. Arthur is an adjunct professor at  New York University School of Law, a guest lecturer at Columbia Law School and a member of the Columbia College Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Arthur joined Cleary in 1986 and became a partner in 1995.

He received a B.A. from Columbia University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Scholar and received Phi Beta Kappa honors.


Bruce D. Gallant is Of Counsel at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP.  Prior to joining Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP in 2016, Mr. Gallant was Managing Director and Associate General Counsel at JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., supporting the JPMorgan institutional investment management and related business units with primary responsibility for ERISA and general fiduciary matters.  He was also responsible for advising clients on new products, portfolio investment transactions and business practices, participation in legal and business staff training and education and providing general legal advice.  Prior to joining JPMorgan in 1996, Mr. Gallant worked at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton from 1981, where his responsibilities included representations of broker-dealers, investment banks and other financial institutions, investment managers and other corporations. Mr. Gallant is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, in 1977 and the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1981.


Christina is lead ERISA counsel for the institutional broker dealer and the asset management businesses of Morgan Stanley.  Prior to joining Morgan Stanley in 2011, Ms. Lee was an attorney at Allen & Overy LLP, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Proskauer Rose LLP, representing clients in all aspects of employee benefits and executive compensation.  

Christina received her JD from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, where she was an editor of the Law Review and a Bachelor of Science, with distinction, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Ms. Lee is admitted to practice in New York.


Harold Ashner is a partner in the law firm of Keightley & Ashner LLP, a nationally recognized boutique law firm practicing in a broad range of employee benefits areas, including all matters relating to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.. He previously served as Assistant General Counsel for Legislation and Regulations at the PBGC, where he drafted or supervised virtually all regulations and policies issued by the PBGC from 1988 until he left the agency in early 2005, along with the PBGC’s General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel, to form Keightley & Ashner LLP.

Harold is the author of several publications on PBGC-related matters, is a frequent speaker on such matters at professional conferences, is a Fellow and former Officer and Member of the Board of Governors of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, serves in various leadership roles in the American Bar Association, and is often quoted in the media. He is routinely retained by major law firms, actuarial consulting firms, investment banking firms, and employers of all sizes, including many Fortune 100 companies, to deal with PBGC-related issues.


Ian L. Levin is a partner in the Employment & Employee Benefits Group at Schulte Roth& Zabel LLP. He concentrates on executive compensation and employee benefits, with a focus on the employee benefit aspects of mergers and acquisitions and issues arising from the investment of pension plan assets. He represents both executives and companies with respect to the negotiation and drafting of executive employment agreements and advises as to the design and establishment of virtually all types of employee benefit arrangements ranging from cash incentive, equity, deferred compensation and change-in-control arrangements to broad-based retirement and welfare plans. He also advises clients on fiduciary and plan asset requirements of ERISA, including the structure and offering of various securities and securities products; the formation and ongoing compliance of private equity and hedge funds; the administration, management and investment of employee benefit plans; and compliance with ERISA’s various prohibited transaction rules and exemptions.

Ian has been recognized as a leading employment and employee benefits attorney by Chambers USA, The Legal 500 US and New York Super Lawyers. The Legal 500 US noted that he “operates at a very high level across many areas, but brings a particularly unique set of skills to ERISA Title I matters in his representation of private investment funds.” A highly sought-after thought leader, he has been quoted in articles published by Bloomberg and The Washington Post. He co-authored the SRZ Alert “DOL Fiduciary Duty Rule Officially Dead” and he discussed “ERISA: The M&A Transactional Practice” at the PLI’s ERISA: The Evolving World Seminar. Ian serves as a member on the Advisory Board and as chair of the Center for Transactional Law and Practice Advisory Board at the Emory University School of Law. He also serves as an adjunct professor at New York Law School. Ian earned his LL.M. from New York University School of Law, his J.D. from Emory University School of Law and a B.A. from Union College.


Jeanie Cogill practices in the executive compensation, pension plan investments, and employee benefits areas of law. She advises public and private companies on all aspects of executive compensation arrangements, including equity incentive programs, golden parachute arrangements, performance incentive arrangements, severance programs, and nonqualified deferred compensation plans.

Jeanie also regularly advises public and private companies and private equity clients in connection with executive compensation and employee benefits issues arising in the context of mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs, restructurings, and similar corporate transactions. She advises banks, broker-dealers, and other financial services clients on the fiduciary responsibility provisions of ERISA, including considerations associated with the structuring, developing, and offering of financial products and services to ERISA plans. In addition, she represents investment managers, hedge funds and private equity funds, and their principals in connection with fund structuring for ERISA and operational compliance with ERISA, providing counsel on fiduciary responsibility, prohibited transaction, VCOC, REOC, and other plan assets issues. 

Jeanie helps employers, management, and plan fiduciary committees, design and administer tax-qualified pension plans, health and other welfare plans, and counsels them on their fiduciary compliance responsibilities and the handling of claims and litigation.

Jeanie is a chapter author of the Section 409A Handbook (BNA Books 2010).


Jennifer E. Eller is Co-Head of the firm’s Fiduciary practice group and one of five members of the firm’s Executive Committee. In her role as practice group Co-Head, Ms. Eller is responsible for ensuring that the strategic direction and new initiatives of the Fiduciary group position the firm to serve the needs of our financial institution, corporate and public plan clients. Ms. Eller advises financial institutions on the design and delivery of products and services to the retirement plan marketplace, including addressing fiduciary status, prohibited transaction considerations and exemption strategies, and the intersection of employee benefits and federal securities, banking and insurance law. She also advises large corporate and public plan sponsors on all aspects of ERISA fiduciary compliance, including plan governance, fiduciary process, selection and monitoring of employer securities as a plan investment option, investment strategies, plan expense issues, participant communications, and plan reporting requirements. Ms. Eller also represents financial institutions and plan sponsors in connection with Department of Labor investigations.

Ms. Eller is a frequent speaker on fiduciary issues. Recent speaking engagements include the Fiduciary Risk Management Association 2015 National Conference, April 2015, Practising Law Institute Pension Plan Investments Conference, April 2014 and the ALI-CLE Investment Adviser Regulation – Institutional Advisory Legal and Compliance Forum, April 2014. Recent publications include: View from Groom: Fiduciary Advice Proposal Signals a Fundamental Shift in the DOL's Approach, Bloomberg BNA, June 4,2015; View From Groom: Department of Labor Investigations, Bloomberg BNA, June 17, 2013; Paying Employee Benefit Plan Expenses, Practical Law Company, June 2013; Foreign Account Reporting for Retirement Plans, Journal of Retirement Planning, February 2010; Dodd-Frank Meets ERISA, Bloomberg BNA, August 24, 2010; and How to Avoid a 401(k) Lawsuit, Executive Counsel, February/March 2009.


Karen L. Handorf is a Partner at Cohen Milstein and Chair of the firm’s Employee Benefits (ERISA) Practice Group. She joined the firm in 2007 following a distinguished career in government service litigating ERISA cases in federal and district courts. In her role as head of the Employee Benefits Practice, Ms. Handorf represents the interests of employees, retirees, plan participants and beneficiaries in ERISA cases in the district courts and on appeal.

Ms. Handorf is involved in litigation and appeals involving a broad range of employee benefits issues. She currently leads a team of litigators in a series of lawsuits alleging that health care systems wrongfully claim their pension benefit plans are exempt from ERISA’s protection because they are church plans.  Ms. Handorf is also litigating issues involving the selection of proprietary funds by 401(k) plans sponsored by financial institutions and imprudent and non-diversified investments by defined benefit plans.  She also represents Oregon officials in a lawsuit alleging that a provision of the state’s OregonSaves retirement program for private-sector employees is preempted by ERISA.

Prior to joining Cohen Milstein, Ms. Handorf was an attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), where she litigated ERISA cases in federal and district courts for 25 years. While at the DOL, she played a major role in formulating the Government’s position on ERISA issues expressed in amicus briefs filed by the Solicitor General in the United States Supreme Court.

Ms. Handorf is a recipient of the Department of Labor Distinguished Career Service Award and received Exceptional Achievement Awards for her work on ERISA 401(k) plan remedies, the amicus brief in the Enron litigation, retiree health care, the amicus program in general, the appellate brief in the Department’s Tower litigation, termination annuities litigation and multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWAs) litigation.

Ms. Handorf has been recognized for her expertise by her colleagues in the ERISA bar, who named her a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel. She is a frequent speaker on ERISA issues for the ABA, various Bar associations and at private seminars. She serves as plaintiffs' co-chair of preemption subcommittee of the Employee Benefits Committee of the ABA's Labor Section. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, she was named to the Best Lawyers in America.

Ms. Handorf attended the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, where she received a B.S. in Speech and History, and earned her law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School.


Lori E. Bostrom is Managing Director and Chief Legal Officer of Newport Trust Company, which serves clients with fiduciary services in retirement and investment management.  Lori manages the legal work for Newport Trust, and is also on the senior team responsible for new business engagements.  She previously served as Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at OFI Global Asset Management, Inc. (OppenheimerFunds) for over 10 years, heading a team of 30 attorneys, paralegals, and marketing compliance professionals covering investment product distribution. Previously, Lori spent 9 years in-house at Prudential Financial, Inc. and The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, specializing in investment products and initiatives, having started her legal career at large and midsize law firms. She has served on various committees of financial industry and benefits trade associations, focusing on retirement policy and investment product distribution. Lori has a B.A. from Skidmore College and a J.D. from Cornell Law School. 


Michael B. Richman is a partner in Morgan Lewis's Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice. His principal focus is on matters under the ERISA fiduciary responsibility rules. He advises plan sponsors on investment matters for defined benefit and defined contribution plans, and also counsels banks, investment advisers and broker-dealers on ERISA compliance for ERISA plan separately managed accounts, collective investment funds, private funds and other arrangements. In addition, he counsels clients on fiduciary governance of ERISA plans, prohibited transaction issues in proposed transactions and transactions under government investigation, and preparing requests to the U.S. Department of Labor for prohibited transaction exemptions and advisory opinions.  His practice also includes advising IRA custodians on permissible IRA investments and investment restrictions.

Prior to joining Morgan Lewis, Mr. Richman was counsel in the benefits and executive compensation and investment management groups at Reed Smith LLP.

Mr. Richman earned his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 1988, where he was managing editor for the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law. He earned his A.B., magna cum laude, in history from Princeton University in 1985.

Mr. Richman has authored or co-authored a number of articles on ERISA issues. He is the co-author of the book ERISA Class Exemptions and of chapters on the ERISA class exemptions and trustee responsibility in the book ERISA Fiduciary Law, as well as of an overview of the ERISA-prohibited transaction rules for the online Bloomberg BNA Benefits Practice Resource Center.

Mr. Richman is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and Maryland and before the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.


Mr. Kronheim leads TIAA’s Pension Law group, which specializes in the ERISA, Internal Revenue Code and insurance aspects of defined contribution retirement plans and products.  He was formerly Law Vice President at Alcatel-Lucent and Lucent Technologies, a partner at Rogers & Wells (now Clifford Chance), and associate and counsel at Debevoise & Plimpton.

Mr. Kronheim graduated from Williams College, the Columbia University School of Law (Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar), and New York University Law School (LL.M. Taxation).

He is a member of the Board of Directors of the ERISA Industry Committee and makes frequent industry and client presentations on fiduciary matters, pension litigation, 403(b) plans, and related insurance issues.


Mr. Lebowitz serves as a Senior Advisor to Newport Trust Company. Mr. Lebowitz previously served in a similar role with Evercore Trust Company, N.A., prior to the acquisition of Evercore Trust’s institutional trustee and independent fiduciary business by Newport Trust in 2017. Mr. Lebowitz retired as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Program Operations of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration in 2013.  In this capacity, he was the chief operating officer of the Agency and oversaw EBSA's regulatory, enforcement and reporting activities.  Prior to joining the Department of Labor Mr. Lebowitz held several positions in the Employee Plans area at the Internal Revenue Service, ending as Chief of the Prohibited Transactions staff. 

Mr. Lebowitz received his B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, and an LL.M. in Taxation from The George Washington University Law School.


Peter E. Haller is a partner in the Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits Department and practice leader for ERISA fiduciary issues.

Mr. Haller advises clients on their employee benefit plans and programs, with an emphasis on the fiduciary responsibility and prohibited transaction rules under ERISA, including the DOL guidance and court decisions arising out of the Fiduciary Rule and related exemptions.  He has significant experience with ERISA issues raised by hedge funds, private equity funds and financial institutions and their broker-dealer, asset management and private bank affiliates.  Mr. Haller represents clients with their prohibited transaction exemption requests before the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefit Security Administration. He also advises on ERISA and other employee benefits matters in connection with corporate transactions involving asset management and financial services firms.

Mr. Haller chairs the New York City Bar Association subcommittee on ERISA Fiduciary Duties, Private Equity and Plan Investments.  Mr. Haller also serves as an adjunct professor and teaches a class with Barry Barbash at Georgetown University Law Center and Howard University Law School on ERISA Fiduciary Duties and the Regulation of Private Funds.  He is also a frequent speaker and lecturer on a wide variety of employee benefits and ERISA related topics.

Prior to returning to Willkie in 2015, Mr. Haller was counsel for Credit Suisse in New York, where he served as the global head of the ERISA and Executive Compensation practices, and head of the U.S. Bank Regulatory practice.  In this role, he advised Credit Suisse with the development and offering of complex financial products in their investment banking and asset management divisions.  Mr. Haller is also a Certified Public Accountant.         

Mr. Haller received a JD from Boston College Law School in 1993 and a BS in accountancy (cum laude) from Bentley College in 1988, where he received the Falcon Society Award for academic achievement.           


Sarah Burt is the Chief Legal Officer for the ERISA/Benefits team at Prudential Financial and leads a team of attorneys who provide advice to the businesses and human resources on ERISA, Internal Revenue Code, and other laws affecting benefit plans and IRAs.  Sarah has served as the lead ERISA attorney on the Department of Labor Fiduciary Investment Advice Rule and is a member of Prudential’s Extended Leadership Team. 

On a daily basis, Sarah and her team provide advice on a wide range of ERISA and Internal Revenue Code issues including, but not limited to, prohibited transaction exemptions, fiduciary requirements, and fund structure.  In addition, Sarah and her team provide advice on welfare, wellness, pension, severance, and deferred compensation plans.  Sarah’s clients include the Prudential businesses that sell products and services to ERISA plans and IRAs including Prudential’s broker-dealer, asset management, insurance, and annuity businesses. Sarah is also the lead lawyer for the Investment Oversight Committee of Prudential’s company plans.

Sarah joined Prudential in 2007 as a Director, Corporate Counsel.  In 2010, Sarah was promoted to Vice President, Corporate Counsel, and in 2012, Sarah became primarily responsible for providing advice on ERISA Title I issues.  In 2013, Sarah became Co-Lead ERISA Counsel for the ERISA/Benefits team, and in 2018, Sarah become Chief Legal Officer for the ERISA/Benefits team.

Before joining Prudential’s Law Department in 2007, Sarah was an attorney in Proskauer Rose LLP’s Employee Benefits Practice Group.  While at Proskauer, Sarah primarily provided ERISA and Internal Revenue Code advice to multi-employer pension and welfare plans (i.e., Taft-Hartley plans).

Sarah graduated cum laude from Cornell Law School.  She received her undergraduate degree from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. 


Seth Rosenbloom is Associate General Counsel & Senior Director at Betterment, an automated investment service that manages over $14 billion in assets for more than 350,000 clients. Seth serves as the lead counsel for the company’s digital advice and 401(k) product offerings. He also spends significant time responding to regulatory and policy developments that impact Betterment. Prior to joining Betterment, Seth worked as an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP and served as a law clerk to Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Seth received a J.D. from Columbia Law School and a B.A. from Stanford University. 


Shannon Barrett is a partner in O’Melveny’s Washington, DC office.  He concentrates his practice on ERISA-related litigation and on providing advice relating to Title I of ERISA. He has been involved in litigating a broad range of ERISA matters at both the trial and appellate levels, with a particular focus on fiduciary issues. In addition to his litigation practice, Shannon has assisted clients in responding to regulatory investigations and has counseled clients, including financial institutions and plan sponsors, on ERISA issues such as fiduciary structure, fee disclosure, and compliance with ERISA’s prohibited transaction provisions. Shannon also has advised independent fiduciaries in their representation of employee benefit plans’ rights in connection with ERISA and securities settlements.

Shannon is a frequent thought leader on ERISA-related topics and serves as the co-editor of the ERISA Litigation Reporter. He is recognized by Chambers USA and Legal 500 in the ERISA Litigation (Nationwide) category.


Steven W. Rabitz is a Partner at Dechert LLP focusing on executive compensation matters for public and private companies and the fiduciary responsibility, prohibited transaction and funding rules of ERISA.  He is regularly featured in Chambers USA for his work in employee benefits and executive compensation and in Best Lawyers for his ERISA-related practice. He is nationally recommended by The Legal 500 and was named a “Leading Lawyer” in 2017, in addition to being ranked in Super Lawyers.   Mr. Rabitz’s writing on current legal topics and issues has appeared in numerous publications, including, Tax Management Compensation Journal, Pension & Benefits Daily, Derivatives: Financial Products Report, The Hedge Fund Law Report, and he has been quoted in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Institutional Investor, Barron’s, Bloomberg, Hedge Fund Law Report, International Business Times and Law 360. In 2015, he received the Burton Award for excellence in legal writing.

Prior to private practice, Mr. Rabitz pioneered and led the ERISA, executive compensation and benefits legal function at Lehman Brothers and served in a similar capacity at Barclays Capital. He also worked as part of a dedicated team of ERISA and compensation lawyers at Goldman Sachs earlier in his career. Prior to joining Dechert, Mr. Rabitz was a partner at a national leading law firm.

 


Tammy Bawnik is a Managing Director in the Legal Department at UBS.  She is the firm's lead ERISA expert and heads a team of lawyers that provide counsel to UBS branches across the country, as well as a number of product and operations areas of the firm including New Accounts, Retirement Plans and Services, and Insurance and Annuities.

Tammy began her legal career at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation in Washington, D. C. and later relocated to New York where she was an associate with Weil, Gotshal and Manges.  In 1994, Tammy joined UBS (then PaineWebber Incorporated) as in house counsel covering the Retirement Plans product area.

Tammy has a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Welfare from SUNY Albany and graduated magna cum laude from Case Western Reserve University School of Law.  She is admitted to the bar in Maryland and New York.


A partner and chair of the firm’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group, Robert Fleder has handled ERISA, employee benefits and executive compensation matters for over 40 years. Described in The Best Lawyers in America as “without question the ‘Dean of the Bar’ in his practice area globally, period,” Rob is recognized as one of the leading lawyers in the United States in the area of employee benefits and executive compensation by peer review organizations Chambers USA, The Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal. Additionally, he has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (New York City) since 1987, and was named among the “Nation’s Most Powerful Employment Attorneys – Employee Benefits and ERISA” by Human Resource Executive magazine.

EXPERIENCE

Rob has extensive and sophisticated experience in the legal, accounting, actuarial and human resource issues connected with the implementation and operation of employee benefit plans and executive compensation arrangements.  In numerous merger and acquisition transactions, he has addressed the issues that arise in connection with the assumption of (or failure to assume) benefit plans and other employee obligations.  His major transactions include representation of the airline pilots who led the successful multi-billion dollar effort to have employees acquire a majority stake in United Airlines through an ESOP.

Rob has been involved in defending and settling significant ERISA fiduciary claims involving private plaintiffs and the Department of Labor.  Rob regularly advises about ERISA fiduciary matters for investment funds and plan fiduciaries. Corporate bankruptcies often require major support on benefits and executive compensation, and Rob regularly participates in restructuring and reorganization transactions of every type. In particular, he has significant experience dealing with troubled pension plans, including dealing with PBGC, the federal agency that insures underfunded pensions when a plan sponsor fails, and dealing with multiemployer pension plan withdrawal liability.

Rob is a member of the Executive Committee of the Tax Section of the New York State Bar Association and a member of the New York City and American Bar Associations and has written and lectured extensively.  He is co-chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the Tax Section of the New York State Bar Association.


Jason Bortz is a senior vice president and senior counsel at Capital Group, the investment manager to the American Funds.  He has been practicing law for 20 years.  Throughout his career, Jason has worked on tax and retirement plan issues.  Prior to joining Capital, Jason was a partner with Davis & Harman, LLP in Washington, D.C.  Before that, he was a law clerk for a federal court of appeals judge.  He holds a juris doctorate degree from Cornell Law School and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Hamilton College.  He is a contributing author to several books, including the 403(b) Answer Book, the Annuities Answer Book, The Complete Guide to Nonprofits and BNA’s Tax Management Portfolio on Cash or Deferred Arrangements.  He is a member of the California, New York and Washington, D.C. bars. Jason is based in Los Angeles.


Tom serves as an attorney in Morgan Stanley’s Wealth Management division and covers ERISA Title I and Investment Advisers Act issues across the firm’s wealth management retirement platform.  Tom regularly provides counsel to the Wealth Management business on all matters relating to the firm’s ERISA policies and procedures and is instrumental in product development initiatives.  Tom maintains a specific focus on fiduciary responsibility and prohibited transaction issues related to ERISA plans and IRAs.  Prior to joining the firm in 2012, Tom worked in similar roles during the preceding ten years at Xerox Corporation and Mass Mutual.  Tom is a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park and received his juris doctorate from Hofstra University School of Law.  Tom is admitted to practice in New York.


Constance Markakis is Assistant Chief Counsel for Multiemployer Law and Policy and manages PBGC’s Multiemployer Section in the Office of Chief Counsel.  The Multiemployer Section reviews plan requests for approval of transactions, such as partitions, mergers, transfers, spinoffs, and alternative withdrawal liability rules.  The Section also advises the Multiemployer Program Division on insolvent plans and the provision of financial assistance for guaranteed benefits.  Connie is also involved in policy development to preserve and strengthen the multiemployer plan system and the multiemployer insurance program.  Ms. Markakis previously served as a senior policy advisor and case manager for multiemployer plans in the Office of Negotiations and Restructuring, PBGC, and as a Senior Policy Advisor to the PBGC Director and attorney-advisor to the Legislative and Regulatory Department.  Connie serves on PBGC’s MPRA committee and coordinates with Congress, Treasury, and Labor on policy makers.  Connie joined PBGC in 2004 after practicing ERISA law at firms in D.C. and the Employee Benefits Division at IRS.


Doug Hinson is the leader of Alston & Bird, LLP’s ERISA Litigation Group and co-leader of the Compensation, Benefits and ERISA Litigation practice at Alston & Bird.  He has led the defense of numerous Fortune 500, government, private and non-profit clients in all types of ERISA class actions, including 401(k) fee and employer stock matters, welfare benefit terminations, defined benefit calculation and anti-cutback actions, and severance matters.  In addition, Mr. Hinson has substantial experience and expertise in securities, complex commercial and insurance class action litigation.  Mr. Hinson's practice is national in scope. He has been recognized as a “national leader” in ERISA litigation by Chambers USA:  America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Best Lawyers in America and The Legal 500 publications, and is listed in Who's Who in American Law and Super Lawyers magazine.  Mr. Hinson is the past chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section—and a member of the Joint Committee on Employee Benefits—of the American Bar Association.


Ms. Dougall is AIG’s Associate General Counsel for Compensation and Benefits.  She has over twenty years of broad-based experience in the employee benefits and executive compensation field, and has held a wide range of positions: in-house counsel, consultant, legal advisor, policymaker and lobbyist. At AIG, she provides counsel to the Company’s HR infrastructure on ERISA plan design, executive compensation plans, divestitures and acquisitions, ERISA litigation and plan operational questions; advises various ERISA fiduciary committees; addresses pension investment matters; participates in the preparation of annual proxy disclosure materials and leads AIG’s 409A compliance effort. Prior to joining AIG, as a Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers, she advised both private and public clients (with an emphasis on emerging companies) on executive compensation and qualified plan matters from a tax, accounting, securities and regulatory perspective.  She designed PwC’s prototype manual for auditors conducting Sarbanes Oxley controls and process reviews of the executive compensation sections of clients’ proxy statements. As an associate at Shearman and Sterling, she assisted clients in navigating the myriad of legal issues relating to compensation and benefit programs in the context of corporate transactions such as mergers, acquisitions, and IPOs.  Prior to law school, Ms. Dougall held various positions on Capitol Hill.  She was a junior staff member of Senator Baucus’s office, a Research Analyst for the Employee Benefits Research Institute, and a Legislative Analyst for the American Benefits Council.  She is regular speaker at various ERISA conferences, a Moderator for the In-House Benefits Counsel Network, and in 2013 was named as a leading ERISA attorney in the Legal 500, Corporate Counsel 100 list. She holds a BS from the University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton School, a BA from its College of Arts and Sciences, and a JD from the University of Virginia.