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ERISA 2020: The Evolving World - Part II


Speaker(s): Alan J. Yurowitz, Alicia C. McCarthy, Andrew L. Gaines, Andrew L. Oringer, Emily S. Costin, Erin K. Cho, Erin Rose Miner, Ian L. Levin, Janet M. Lee, Kara Getz, Michael P. Kreps, Paul R. Koppel, Peter E. Haller, Rhonda Prussack, Sarah E. Downie, Sarah L. Burt, Shannon Barrett, Suzzanne Yao, Theresa Brunsman, Thomas D'Elisa, William E. Ryan III
Recorded on: Dec. 16, 2020
PLI Program #: 301341

Alan J. Yurowitz is an attorney in BlackRock’s Legal & Compliance Department and is responsible for ERISA legal and compliance matters.  Alan advises the firm with respect to ERISA’s fiduciary responsibility and prohibited transaction rules in connection with BlackRock’s asset management business.  Prior to joining BlackRock, Alan served as a Corporate Counsel for Prudential Financial where he advised on ERISA issues relating to its asset management business and on compensation and employee benefits matters.  Before Prudential, Alan worked as an associate in the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation group at Debevoise & Plimpton, advising on the ERISA, tax and securities law aspects of executive compensation and employee benefits.  Alan received his J.D., cum laude, from Rutgers School of Law - Newark.


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 (2012-2021) in Employee Benefits (ERISA) law and New York Super Lawyers (2013-2020).  She recently co-authored the articles “DOL Proposes New Rules Regulating ESG,” The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation (July 7, 2020) and “Sun Capital Redux:  Private Equity and Pension Liability,” The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation (April 5, 2016).

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.


Andrew L. Gaines is a partner in the firm’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group.

Andrew advises employers on all aspects of executive compensation and employee benefit plans and their treatment in corporate transactions and in bankruptcy. He also represents employers and executives in the negotiation of employment and severance agreements. Andrew counsels investment fund sponsors on ERISA issues associated with the formation of private investment funds and the structuring of underlying investments. Andrew also frequently counsels large institutional pension investors on fiduciary issues arising in connection with investing in private investment funds, as well as upper-tier arrangements for their partners and employees.

Andrew has been recognized as a leading individual in Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation by Chambers USA and the Legal 500 for the past seven consecutive years, with clients describing him as “an incredible subject matter expert who is also very practical.” Andrew was named the 2020 “Lawyer of the Year” for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (NY) by The Best Lawyers in America, and has been recognized in both the Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law and Tax Law (NY) categories since 2006.

Andrew frequently advises private funds clients and their portfolio companies, including representations of:

  • Apollo Global Management;
  • Ares Management;
  • Chatham Asset Management;
  • CI Capital Partners;
  • Crestview Partners;
  • General Atlantic;
  • KKR;
  • KPS Capital Partners;
  • Oak Hill Advisors;
  • Palladium Equity Partners;
  • PointState Capital;
  • Silver Point Capital; and
  • Wellspring Capital.

Andrew is a frequent writer and lecturer on executive compensation and employee benefits topics.


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, Emerging Issues Coordinator of the Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Taxation and chair of the New York State Bar Association 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 two of its chapters, and has authored a chapter in a leading treatise on the taxation of nonqualified deferred compensation and.  Mr. Oringer is highly rated by a number of key ranking organizations, has been repeatedly 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.


Emily Seymour Costin is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Alston & Bird LLP, and the leader of the firm’s ERISA Litigation team. Emily primarily represents employers, plan sponsors, insurers, and fiduciaries in employee benefit disputes and advises on litigation avoidance strategies. She has experience defending a variety of individual, mass action, and class action claims for benefits and breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA, including those involving investments, excessive fees, employer stock, actuarial factors, benefit termination, and health care matters.  Emily also represents clients in related disputes that include employment, securities, insurance, breach of contract, professional malpractice, and government contract matters. She also assists clients responding to government audits, investigations, and subpoenas.

Emily was one of five lawyers named a “Rising Star” by Law360 in the field of employee benefits in 2018, and was most recently recognized by The Best Lawyers in America© in Litigation – ERISA. Emily is the former chair of the American Bar Association’s Joint Committee on Employee Benefits (JCEB), a member of the editorial advisory board of the Benefits Law Journal, and a contributing author to the BNA treatise ERISA Litigation.


Erin K. Cho is a partner in the Retirement Services and Employers Practice Groups at Groom Law Group and Chair of its Women’s Initiative.  She advises clients on a wide range of matters involving ERISA’s fiduciary and conflict of interest rules. 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. She also has extensive experience advising broker-dealers, asset managers, insurance companies and investment bankers with respect to the many and varied services and investment products they offer to U.S. pension plans.

Erin also represents clients in connection with audits and investigations as well as advisory opinion and exemption requests before the Department of Labor. Erin regularly writes on pension investment matters for a variety of publications. She is a frequent speaker on ERISA matters and is the co-chair of the Practising Law Institute’s annual conference, “ERISA: The Evolving World.”

Erin received her J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School and her B.A. Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude from Yale University.   


Erin Rose Miner is Director at Credit Suisse in New York heading the US regulatory compensation group as well as providing Executive Compensation coverage in the Americas.  Ms. Miner ensures the bank’s compensation plans and programs comply with US regulatory expectations as well as manages the execution of the compensation plans for employees based in the Americas. Ms. Miner received her undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Maryland, College Park and received her law degree from New York Law School.


Ian L. Levin 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, New York Super Lawyers and Best 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.


Janet is senior counsel and advises the firm on products and services to individual retirement accounts and ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) plans. Janet also advises the firm on executive compensation and employee benefit matters.  Prior to joining Goldman Sachs in 2006, Janet was an associate in the Benefits and Compensation group at Latham & Watkins LLP and an associate in the Executive Compensation group at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.  Janet is a graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Law School.


Kara Getz is Chief Counsel for Ways & Means Chairman Richard E. Neal.  Prior to joining Ways & Means, Kara was Senior Tax Counsel for the Senate Finance Committee and Tax Counsel and Legislative Director for Congressman Richard Neal.  Kara also worked as Chief Counsel for the Senate Special Committee on Aging and Tax Counsel for Senator Gordon Smith.  Her private sector experience includes working as the Director of Congressional Affairs for ASPPA and as a Senior Manager in the National Compensation and Benefits Group of Ernst & Young LLP’s Human Capital practice.


Michael Kreps specializes in issues relating to public policy, fiduciary responsibility, and plan funding and restructuring. He routinely represents both private and public sector clients before federal agencies and Congress.

Previously, Michael served as the Senior Pensions and Employment Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions from the 110th through the 114th Congresses. In that role, he managed all aspects of the Committee’s retirement agenda and had primary staff responsibility for pension legislation, including the pension investment provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the funding stabilization and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation reform provisions of the MAP-21 Act of 2012, the Pension Relief Act of 2010, and the CSEC Pension Flexibility Act. He also led the Committee’s oversight of regulatory activities involving employee benefit plans.

Michael writes and speaks frequently on retirement and health policy.


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.


Paul Koppel is the Firm’s Head of ERISA. He regularly advises clients regarding a broad range of ERISA and executive compensation matters, including ERISA issues for alternative investment funds and financial institutions, advising fund sponsors on the application of ERISA to funds that include retirement plan investments and advising private equity funds and hedge funds on the issues that arise in connection with pension plan investors, and advising on compliance with ERISA’s fiduciary requirements when ERISA plan assets are being managed.

Paul has represented clients before federal government agencies, including the Department of Labor, the SEC, the IRS and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

Paul received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and his B.A. from Cornell University. He is admitted to practice in New York.


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.           


Rhonda Prussack is Senior Vice President and Head of Fiduciary and Employment Practices Liability at Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance.  Ms. Prussack has been with BHSI for the last six of her thirty years in the insurance industry.  In her extensive career, Ms. Prussack has developed and brought to market state-of-the-art policy forms and innovative coverages for corporations, organized labor, municipalities, and not-for-profits.  She also oversees pricing, profitability, underwriting, and marketing of fiduciary and employment practices liability insurance products.  Early in her career, Ms. Prussack had roles at Dean Witter, Johnson & Higgins, and the New York City Employees’ Retirement System.  She has written articles for and been quoted in many publications and is a frequent speaker at ERISA, employment practices, and executive liability seminars around the U.S. and Canada.

Ms. Prussack received her B.A. from Brooklyn College. 

Originally from Brooklyn, Ms. Prussack is now based in New York.  She can be reached at rhonda.prussack@bhspecialty.com


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. 


Sarah Downie is an Executive Compensation & Benefits partner in Weil’s Tax Department and is based in New York. Ms. Downie advises clients on all aspects of compensation and employee benefits.

Ms. Downie has extensive experience in the executive compensation and employee benefits aspects of mergers, acquisitions and financings. She represents senior executives and companies in the negotiation and drafting of employment and severance agreements. She also advises as to the design and operation of executive and employee benefit arrangements including equity compensation and cash incentive plans, change in control and retention arrangements and nonqualified deferred compensation plans. In addition, Ms. Downie regularly advises employers on the design and operation of tax-qualified retirement plans, including 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans and 457(b) plans, as well as health and welfare benefit plans.

Ms. Downie advises clients on pension plan investment and compliance with ERISA’s fiduciary obligations and prohibited transaction rules. She regularly counsels private fund sponsors in connection with ERISA’s “plan asset” regulations and with VCOC, REOC and similar issues.

Ms. Downie is recognized for Employee Benefits by Super Lawyers and has been recommended for Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation by Legal 500 US. She served as Chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Committee and is a member of the Steering Committee of the New York Chapter of Worldwide Employee Benefits Network.


Shannon Barrett 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.


Suzzanne is senior counsel and advises the firm on products and services to ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) plans. She joined Goldman Sachs in 2007 as a vice president in the ERISA and Benefits Group and was named managing director in 2013. Prior to joining the firm, Suzzanne was an associate in the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP. Suzzanne earned a BA from Columbia University and a JD from Harvard Law School.


Theresa Brunsman serves as Vice President and Associate General Counsel at Nuveen, spending most of her time on legal issues related to ERISA, derivatives, collective investment trusts and regulatory changes related to those areas.

Prior to her current role, she worked at Aegon Asset Management providing similar services, and prior to that at Invesco, where she provided compliance support and, subsequently, legal support focused primarily on the stable value program and Invesco’s collective trust business, as well as CFTC and other regulatory issues.

Prior to Invesco, she served as internal counsel to various life insurance companies in Cincinnati, Ohio, working on affiliated adviser issues, commercial real estate mortgage transactions and variable annuity and variable life products. Her legal career started in Cincinnati law firms where she helped close bond deals for non-profit health care institutions, provided general corporate advice, and handled probate, residential real estate and family law matters.

In her spare time, she likes to read, quilt, garden, write and perform in plays, write song parodies about the financial services industry and visit the gravesites of US Presidents.

She has over 20 years of experience providing in-house legal counsel to firms in the financial services sector.  She received her BA in foreign affairs from the University of Cincinnati and her JD from George Washington University.


Tom serves as Head of the Retirement Legal team within Morgan Stanley’s Wealth Management division and covers ERISA Title I and other pension-related rules along with Investment Advisers Act issues across the broker-dealer’s retirement platform.  With twenty years of experience in the financial services industry, 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 within Wealth Management.  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 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.