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Pension Plan Investments 2018: Current Perspectives


Speaker(s): Amanda A. Sonneborn, Andrew L. Oringer, Arthur H. Kohn, Barbara D. Klippert, Charles Yovino, Christina Y. Lee, David M. Cohen, David R. Cantor, Erin K. Cho, Erin Turley, Gary DeWaal, Howard Pianko, Ira G. Bogner, James S. Frazier, Karen L. Handorf, Mary E. Alcock, Patricia Anne Kuhn, Patrick S. Menasco, Shannon Barrett, Steven W. Rabitz, Veronica M. Wissel, William E. Ryan III
Recorded on: May. 15, 2018
PLI Program #: 221498

Andrew L. Oringer is a partner and the co-chair of the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group at Dechert LLP.  He is 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 has authored a chapter in a leading treatise on the taxation of nonqualified deferred compensation and is co-editor of a leading treatise on ERISA fiduciary law.  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.


Barbara D. Klippert principally advises underwriters, sponsors, investment managers and investors relating to financial transactions with respect to Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) issues. She works extensively on the ERISA fiduciary aspects of securities offerings, particularly asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities, CLOs, hedge funds, distressed debt funds, real estate and venture capital funds, funded all or in part by ERISA and governmental benefit plan assets, and their related derivative and credit transactions.

Barbara has represented The Bond Market Association/The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) in obtaining US Department of Labor approval to permit a broader range of asset-backed securities to be purchased by benefit investors.

Barbara is a member of the ABA Tax Section, Employee Benefits Committee, and is a past member of the Executive Committee and past co-chair and current member of the Employee Benefits Committee of the Tax Section of the New York State Bar Association. She is the author of the “ERISA Considerations” chapter of Offerings of Asset-Backed Securities (Aspen Press, 2005, now published by Walter Kluwer/annual updates), a comprehensive analysis of ERISA considerations relating to asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities and the author of the Practical Law Practice Note “Guide to ERISA Issues in Mortgage-backed and Asset-backed Securities Transactions.”  Barbara is a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel and has been listed as a leading employee benefits practitioner in “New York Area’s Best Lawyers” by New York Magazine, the New York Times’ “New York Super Lawyers” and the Best Lawyers in America.


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.


David M. Cohen focuses his practice on matters related to fiduciary responsibility, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and qualified plans.

Prior to joining SRZ, David held positions in both the private sector (as vice president and assistant general counsel of a major investment firm) and government service (with the Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration’s Divisions of Regulatory Coordination and Exemptions). He speaks and writes widely on ERISA and benefit fund-related issues, including authoring ERISA compliance guides for broker-dealers for Practising Law Institute and presenting on “Handling ERISA Issues When Managing a Plan Asset Look-Through Fund” for a Financial Research Associates Hedge Fund Tax, Accounting and Administration Master Class and on “Fund Formation Issues,” “Current Topics in Private Equity and Alternative Investments” and “Current Fiduciary Issues” for recent Practising Law Institute Pension Plan Investments and ERISA Plans in the Financial Markets conferences. In recognition of his accomplishments, he was selected for inclusion in New York Super Lawyers, a listing of outstanding attorneys in the New York metro-area, Chambers USA and The Best Lawyers in America. David is a 1981 graduate of The George Washington University Law School and a 1978 graduate of Columbia University.


David is a Senior Principal at Mercer Investments. He has over 17 years of experience consulting with defined benefit plans around investment strategy and pension risk transfer.

David received a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Binghamton University in 2002. He is a qualified pension actuary, a CFA charterholder, and a Financial Risk Manager charterholder. David is also a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries.

David is currently a member of the Society of Actuaries Investment Committee. He is also the Chair of the Society of Actuaries Retirement Research Committee. Dave speaks and writes frequently on a variety of investment and pension related topics including a recent talk titled “Outsourcing Fiduciary Risk” and one titled “Obligation Based Asset Allocation” in addition to a paper titled “An Analysis of Debt and Equity Market Reaction to Pension Risk Transfer Announcements: What Investors Need to Know”.


Erin K. Cho is a principal in the Fiduciary Responsibility practice group at Groom Law Group. Ms. Cho advises clients on matters involving ERISA’s fiduciary and conflict of interest rules. She advises asset managers, broker-dealers and investment bankers with respect to the many and varied services and financial products (including complex structured products and derivatives) they offer to U.S. pension plans. She counsels hedge funds and private equity clients on the consequences of accepting investments by benefit plan investors, as well as plan assets and prohibited transaction concerns arising in connection with venture capital investments and corporate transactions. She counsels plan sponsors on all aspects of ERISA fiduciary compliance, including plan governance, plan expense issues and the selection and monitoring of plan investment options. Ms. Cho also represents clients on exemption requests and regulatory initiatives before the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Ms. Cho regularly speaks on pension investment matters, including as a co-chair of the Practising Law Institute’s annual conference, “ERISA: The Evolving World”.  Ms. Cho received her B.A. in History from Yale University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and her J.D. from Harvard Law School (cum laude).


Erin Turley is a partner at the international law firm McDermott Will & Emery LLP, specializing in issues pertaining to Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) compliance.

Nationally known for her leadership and technical expertise, Ms. Turley has been a member of the McDermott Will & Emery Management Committee since early 2018. In recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field of employee benefits, she also was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel (ACEBC) in 2017.

Ms. Turley’s ESOP practice focuses on the design, implementation, maintenance, and termination of ESOPs. She has represented companies, inside ESOP trustees, and outside ESOP trustees in buy-side and sell-side transactions, as well as in ongoing ESOP compliance matters. Ms. Turley has been involved in hundreds of transactions, including leveraged buyouts, mergers, acquisitions, and the structuring and financing of ESOPs using private equity. She has extensive experience representing lenders in designing and negotiating credit facilities specifically tailored to the needs of ESOP-owned companies.

Ms. Turley regularly writes and speaks on topics she encounters in her practice, including issues raised in connection with corporate mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, ESOP compliance, ERISA’s regulatory framework, and health and welfare benefit plan arrangements. She is the co-author of Bloomberg Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) Tax Management Portfolio 354 – ESOPs and BNA Corporate Practice Portfolio 62 – ESOPs in Corporate Transactions.


Ira G. Bogner is chair of the firm’s Tax Department and a member of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group. Ira represents a varied list of clients, including financial service companies, entertainment industry clients, and tax-exempt organizations, and also actively represents individual executives in executive compensation matters.

Areas of Concentration

Ira has provided guidance to clients on a wide variety of matters in the areas of employee benefits and executive compensation, including:

  • investment of plan assets
  • implementation of employee benefit plans
  • employee benefit issues in mergers and acquisitions
  • awarding of equity-based compensation
  • negotiation and drafting of employment agreements and severance arrangements
  • structuring, analyzing and maintaining investment funds that are suitable for plan investors

Ira counsels clients with respect to the tax, securities law disclosure, corporate governance, stock exchange and other requirements relevant to executive compensation arrangements. Ira also provides advice regarding equity arrangements, employment agreements, change in control agreements and all other types of executive compensation arrangements, including guidance regarding “409A,” “162m,” “457A,” and “280G.”

Ira frequently is called on to structure and analyze alternative investments for pension trusts and other exempt organizations. He also works with the firm’s corporate and real estate lawyers in structuring and maintaining investment funds that include participation by pension plans. Through his work in the investment fund area Ira has obtained substantial experience in applying the rules provided under the “plan asset” regulations, including the operation of venture capital operating companies and real estate operating companies. He has assisted in the formation of private equity, real estate, infrastructure and hedge funds, including “fund of funds.” Ira also has advised clients on both avoiding ERISA “plan asset” status and operating an investment fund in accordance with ERISA.

Thought Leadership

Ira has published a number of articles in publications such as The New York Law Journal, The New Jersey Law Journal, The Daily Deal, The Journal of Pension Planning and Compliance, Mergers and Acquisitions (The Monthly Tax Journal), The Journal of Taxation and Regulation of Financial Institutions, The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, European Private Equity & Venture Capital Associations, The LPA Anatomised and Private Equity International and has been named to the Board of Advisors of the Journal of Taxation and Regulation of Financial Institutions. He also has lectured on topics such as the classification of workers, drafting employment agreements, equity alternatives for senior executives, investing IRA assets, the plan asset regulations, shareholder approval of equity plans, Code Section 409A, and key provisions for ERISA investors investing in a private equity fund.

Recognition

Ira has been recognized and ranked by various directories. US Legal 500 has carried the following comments: “Ira Bogner is ‘available, responsive and knowledgeable;” “Ira Bogner ‘provides a level of comfort with respect to business issues that is rare in the world of ERISA;” “Ira Bogner is the ‘go-to guy for fund sponsors needing help with ERISA.’"


James Frazier focuses his practice in the area of ERISA and employee benefits. A large part of his practice is devoted to advising clients with respect to the application of ERISA's fiduciary standards and prohibited transaction provisions to their activities in transactional and regulatory matters.

James regularly advises financial services firms with respect to the structuring of investment vehicles and other investment products, including complex structured products and derivatives, offered to employee benefit plans and entities deemed to hold the assets of such plans. He routinely advises financial services firms in connection with the provision of services, such as investment management and brokerage services, to such plans or entities. James also advises clients regarding issues that arise under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code in the context of corporate transactions. He also routinely represents clients before the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Recognized by Chambers USA as a leading lawyer, James was praised for his ERISA experience and clients noted that he "is thoughtful, has a great practical approach and is very helpful in giving us a sense of where we are in the pack." James was also recognized in the 2016 and 2017 editions of The Best Lawyers in America as one of the nation's leading lawyers in ERISA law.

Prior to entering private practice, James was a Pension Law Specialist with the U.S. Department of Labor, where he spent extensive time working with the fiduciary provisions found in, and prohibited transaction exemptions issued under, Title I of ERISA.

James received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Arkansas School of Law, and an LL.M. in Taxation and Certificate in Employee Benefits Law, as well as an LL.M. in Labor Law, with distinction, from the Georgetown University Law Center. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina. He is admitted to practice in New York and North Carolina.


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.


Mary E. Alcock is counsel based in the New York office.

Ms. Alcock’s practice focuses on employee benefits and executive compensation matters, including design and regulatory compliance. She regularly counsels financial institutions on the issues arising under pension and tax laws with respect to their many and varied interactions with pension funds. Ms. Alcock also advises clients on corporate governance issues as well as on disclosure issues relating to compensation matters.

Ms. Alcock is recognized as a leading employee benefits lawyer by Chambers USA, The Best Lawyers in America and The Legal 500 U.S.

Ms. Alcock joined the firm in 1993 and became counsel in 2002. She received a J.D. degree in 1993 from Yale Law School and an undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, in 1988 from Yale University.

Ms. Alcock is a member of the New York State Bar.


Mr. Ryan is President and Chief Fiduciary Officer of Newport Trust Company, and served as President and Chief Fiduciary Officer of Evercore Trust Company, N.A., prior to the acquisition of Evercore Trust’s institutional trustee and independent fiduciary business by Newport Trust in 2017. Prior to Evercore Trust, Mr. Ryan was with Morgan Stanley, where he was an Executive Director in the Legal and Compliance Division and Head of ERISA Law, responsible for coordinating ERISA and qualified tax issues for Morgan Stanley's Institutional Securities Group (Institutional Brokerage), Morgan Stanley Investment Management (Asset Management), and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (Retail Brokerage). Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Mr. Ryan was the Chief ERISA/Benefits Counsel for Prudential Financial, Inc. from 1995 through 2004, handling ERISA-related HR, compensation and product issues for Prudential Insurance, and was in private practice in New York from 1987 through 1995, specializing in ERISA issues. On behalf of various industry groups, Mr. Ryan has met with and testified before the U.S. Department of Labor, the Treasury Department, the White House, and various state regulators on fiduciary and other retirement issues. He has also served on various industry groups, including the SIFMA Retirement Committee (where he served as co-chair from 2010-2013). Mr. Ryan holds an A.B. Degree in History from Princeton University in 1984, a J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1987 (where he was an editor of the Stanford Law Review), and a Masters in Taxation (LL.M.) from New York University School of Law in 1995.


Patricia is a member of the bank’s Legal Department. She provides advice and guidance on ERISA, fiduciary and other employee benefit plan and retirement issues to the Global Wealth and Investment Management business.  Her responsibilities include supporting institutional and individual retirement programs and services and non-qualified deferred compensation and equity plans.

Prior to Bank of America, Ms. Kuhn was a Managing Director at BlackRock in Legal and Compliance and a counsel at Shearman & Sterling LLC in the Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits Group.  She advised clients on issues arising under the Title I and Title IV of ERISA and other employee benefit plan and employment issues.

Patricia received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the State University of New York, College at Purchase in 1983, and a Juris Doctor degree from Boston University, cum laude in 1989, and she was a member of law review.


Patrick Menasco is a nationally-recognized ERISA and public plan investment lawyer with 25 years of public and private sector experience.  He enjoys longstanding connections with regulators, a broad technical proficiency in ERISA and public plan regulation, and a gift for blending analysis with insight.  Patrick’s work focuses on investment funds (particularly real estate, transportation and stable value-related strategies), general asset management, bank/broker-dealer netting opinions, derivatives and other capital market transactions, prohibited transaction exemptions, government investigations, and adversarial proceedings.  His clients include major national and international financial institutions.

Patrick is also a frequent lecturer on employee benefit investment issues at the Practising Law Institute in New York and has served as an adjunct professor at the George Washington University Law School for ten years. He is regularly recognized by Chambers USA and The Legal 500 lists of top lawyers for employee benefits and executive  compensation.


Practice Area:

Employee Benefits

Plan Governance

Fiduciary Advisory Services

Executive Compensation

International Benefits

Howard Pianko is the head of Seyfarth Shaw’s New York benefits practice and the national chair of its Fiduciary Advisory Services practice group. During his more than thirty-five years of experience in employee benefits law and executive compensation, he has counseled both domestic and international clients on matters running the full benefits gamut. His current practice focuses extensively on fiduciary and plan governance matters, executive compensation (including both domestic and cross-border equity and incentive plans) as well as benefit and employment considerations in M&A transactions, including post-transaction implementation and restructuring.

He is a Charter Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel and a founding member of the International Pension and Employee Benefits Lawyers Association. He has been recognized for his professional expertise by, among others, Chambers, Legal 500 and Best Lawyers in America and also designated as a BTI Client Service All-Star. He co-chairs the basic ERISA fiduciary program as well as the more advanced PLI Pension Investment Program intended for more advanced practitioners in this area.


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.

 


Charlie Yovino is the principal for Global HR GRC, and is a writer and speaker on HR governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC).  His most recent book is Undivided Loyalty: Retirement Plan Governance and How to Reduce and Manage Fiduciary Risk. Prior to creating Global HR GRC, Charlie led the Atlanta Global HR Services (GHRS) practice for PwC and was a national resource for HR and benefit plan GRC, focusing on financial management, risk management and controls, transaction effectiveness, and HR operational excellence.

Prior to joining PwC, Charlie was a tax/ERISA associate with a Washington, DC law firm, and served as a Senior Reviewer in the Employee Plans Technical and Actuarial Division in the National Office of the IRS.

Charlie received his B.A. (cum laude) in history (with honors) from Hofstra University, a J.D. from American University, and a Masters of Law in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center.

Among the variety of projects on which Charlie consulted, are:

  • Design and administrative considerations for all types of qualified and nonqualified retirement plans, including preparation of administrative manuals and quality controls
  • Compliance, controls, risk management and governance reviews covering all plan and benefit types (including qualified retirement plans, nonqualified plans, COBRA, HIPAA, ACA, cafeteria plans, and others), which in the aggregate benefit approximately 3 million participants
  • Developing strategy and implementation roadmap for global HR compliance organization
  • Evaluate global benefit plan governance, compliance and risk management and propose strategy to improve GRC
  • Training of plan committee members and employee benefits and internal audit personnel
  • Work-flow and staffing studies of employee benefits departments
  • Plan spin-offs, mergers and terminations
  • Due diligence reviews and golden parachute calculations
  • Total benefit program design and implementation following corporate spin-offs
  • Implementing benefits-based tax strategies, such as 404(k) dividend deductions
  • Project management of complex benefit program implementations, including open enrollment, benefit outsourcing, vendor transitions, and global GRC reviews involving 7-32 countries
  • Benefit plan vendor searches and reviews


Ms. Sonneborn is a partner in the Labor & Employment Department of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.   Ms. Sonneborn also serves as co-Office Managing Partner of the Firm’s Chicago office.  She actively advises clients in the health care, construction, print media, hotel, gaming, manufacturing, transportation, and energy industries.  Ms. Sonneborn previously was named one of the National Law Journal’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in Chicago. 

Ms. Sonneborn has considerable experience in the area of Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) litigation.  Ms. Sonneborn is co-chair of the Firm’s ERISA & Employee Benefits Litigation practice group.  Her ERISA and employee benefits litigation experience includes defense of single plaintiff claims for benefits, breach of fiduciary duty claims, cash balance plan claims, breach of contract claims, and ERISA Section 510 employment discrimination claims.  Ms. Sonneborn devotes a considerable amount of her practice to litigation of class-action and multi-plaintiff claims.  She also frequently advises clients regarding handling of claims brought under benefit plan claims procedures.  Ms. Sonneborn has handled hundreds of single plaintiff cases brought in federal court under ERISA. She also frequently speaks on ERISA litigation issues and serves as a chapter editor for the American Bar Association book on  Employee Benefits.

Ms. Sonneborn also is particularly well-versed in the field of labor relations law, with a particular focus on advising clients in the health care industry.  Within this arena, she has represented clients in hundreds of unfair labor practice proceedings, contractual arbitrations, representation proceedings, and Section 301 litigation.  She has served as national counsel to several corporations facing targeted corporate campaigns. She also has experience advising clients during union organizing campaigns.  In addition, she provides clients with day-to-day labor relations advice on a wide spectrum of topics, including independent contractor issues, neutrality agreements, and corporate campaigns.  She also frequently negotiates collective bargaining agreements on behalf of clients. Finally, Ms. Sonneborn has handled several appellate cases seeking review of National Labor Relations Board decisions.

Ms. Sonneborn has substantial experience with non-union employment issues as well. She has represented clients in litigation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the WARN Act, and the Illinois Human Rights Act.  Ms. Sonneborn also counsels various clients on day-to-day employment law matters and assists clients with revisions to employee policies and employment applications.

Ms. Sonneborn leads various training courses with Seyfarth Shaw at Work®, including anti-harassment training and positive employee relations training.  She also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Legal Writing Department at Chicago-Kent IIT College of Law.


Ms. Wissel is a partner in Davis Polk’s Corporate Department, practicing in the Executive Compensation Group. She advises clients on a variety of compensation-related matters, including the design and implementation of equity, retention and incentive plans, compensation, disclosure and regulatory compliance, and employment negotiations with senior executives, with a particular emphasis on compensation and benefits issues relating to mergers and acquisitions transactions. Additionally, she advises clients with respect to the ERISA aspects of the investment and management of pension plan assets in private funds and other products and arrangements, including hedge funds and private equity funds, and she advises asset managers and broker dealers with respect to the financial products they offer to U.S. pension plans and compliance with ERISA’s fiduciary rules.

Recognition

Ms. Wissel is recognized as a Next Generation Lawyer in Legal 500 U.S. 2017.

Of Note

Director, Lawyers Alliance for New York

Director, Advocates for Children of New York

Education

  • A.B., Social Studies, Harvard College, 2003
    • magna cum laude
  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 2008


Gary DeWaal focuses his practice on financial services regulatory matters. He counsels clients on the application of evolving regulatory requirements to existing businesses and structuring more effective compliance programs, as well as assists in defending and resolving regulatory disciplinary actions and enforcement matters. Gary also advises buy-side and sell-side clients, as well as trading facilities and clearing houses, on the developing laws and regulations related to cryptocurrencies and digital tokens.

Previously, Gary was a senior managing director and group general counsel for Newedge, where he oversaw the worldwide Legal, Compliance, Financial Crimes Prevention (including AML) and Regulatory Developments departments. He also worked for the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission's Division of Enforcement in New York. For several years, Gary taught a course in derivatives regulation as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School. He currently serves as a practitioner faculty and mentor for the State University of New York Buffalo Law School’s New York City Program on Finance & Law.

Gary is frequently quoted in the media for his thoughts on the international financial services industry and has published numerous articles on futures and securities industry issues. He regularly lectures or appears as a speaker at futures and securities industry conferences or in training sessions for international regulators. Gary is the sole author and publisher of Bridging the Week, a blog addressing issues in the financial services industry.