Tax ramifications? Personal liability under the DOL fiduciary rules? SEC concerns? Yes to all. We guide Boards of Directors and Compensation Committees through the maze of retirement plan and executive compensation regulations.
Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
The Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation attorneys at Chamberlain Hrdlicka represent public companies, large and closely-held private companies, tax-exempt organizations, and the fiduciaries who oversee those entities' employee benefit plans. We understand incentives in the workplace, and we stand ready with an integrated approach to help you deal with them.
From qualified retirement plans, to executive compensation, to fiduciary advice, to health and welfare programs, to mergers and acquisitions, to ERISA litigation, our broad experience helps companies answer questions in these areas of the law. A background in tax, securities, and fiduciary matters is our foundation. A common theme runs through our work in these areas: we specialize in representing employers in protecting their interests and maximizing tax advantages. We understand the work that goes into creating and maintaining incentives in the workplace, and we have the technical skills to help keep a company's employee benefit plans operating at peak efficiency.
At Chamberlain Hrdlicka, we stand with Boards of Directors, Compensation Committees, and the HR teams that serve those directors and committees, as they seek to provide a stable, productive environment for company executives and workers.
For the Chamberlain Employee Benefits Blog ("E-Blawg"), click on https://www.chamberlainlaw.com/employee-benefits.
Benefit Plans that Answer the Challenge
Listening to you is the most important step in analyzing and designing a benefit plan for your company. We carefully evaluate your employee demographics and financial situation before we begin to outline options – including both tax-qualified and non-qualified plans – that make sense for both your budget and your balance sheet. We develop benefit plans that maintain your competitive edge in your business sphere.
In the area of qualified retirement plans, we design and draft pension and profit sharing 401(k), and 403(b) plans and understand the discrimination issues related to retirement plan administration. We structure employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) for employee incentive and company growth. We obtain rulings on plan tax qualification (for design and continued operation) and guide plan administrators through regulatory compliance. Further, we advise on reduction in force, early retirement, and other severance programs. Setting up and maintaining compliance for both tax-qualified and non-qualified plans requires highly specialized training.
Compensation Programs that Attract and Retain Executives
In the area of non-qualified plans, we remain mindful of the IRS’s 409A tax on improperly structured deferred compensation plans that could create current taxation. Companies retain us to review, draft, and negotiate employment, bonus, and severance agreements. We structure long-term incentive, bonus, stock option, and other equity-based programs. We ensure coordination between and among our colleagues from other legal disciplines to provide comprehensive guidance regarding tax (federal and state), securities, and labor issues related to the employment relationship between the company and executive.
Coordinating Fiduciary Roles of Directors, Management and HR
We guide plan sponsors, Boards of Directors, Compensation Committees, and HR teams regarding the consequences of their actions and oversight with respect to their plans. Routinely, we help identify who the plan fiduciaries and what their roles are. We help determine available prohibited transaction exemptions and obtain exemptions, whenever appropriate. We also structure pension plan investment and the necessary venture capital operating companies and real estate operating companies that might be needed to facilitate pension investment.
Health and Welfare Benefits
In addition, we regularly assist our clients in designing and handling the compliance requirements of medical, dental, life insurance, cafeteria and flexible spending, split dollar, and other employee fringe benefit plans.
Part of Your Team in Mergers and Acquisitions
In the context of acquisition, sale, merger, or spin-off, we quarterback and help our corporate colleagues and your HR Team in the due diligence, and determine the impact on the bottom line, of existing employee benefit programs, compensation arrangements, and health and welfare benefits. We help Boards of Directors decide whether to start anew, terminate, assume, or merge plans, and help them understand the costs in doing so pre- or post-transaction. We oversee the transfer of plan assets and supervise compliance with regulatory deadlines.
ERISA and Benefits Litigation
We provide subject matter expertise for the firm's Labor and Employment group, with respect to ERISA litigation and issues related to benefits claims, fiduciary breach, subrogation, and plan document and operational compliance.
- Reduced a possible $13 million tax exposure down to a $500,000 plan correction for a management company that had inadvertently omitted 70 percent of its workers from its 401(k) plan.
- Designed a creative solution (subsequently approved by the IRS) involving assessment of a sanction amount 50% lower than demanded by the tax rules for a company whose fiduciaries and HR personnel had poorly run its 401(k) plan and for whom outside retirement plan service providers had created regulatory tax problems.
- Negotiated with the IRS and DOL to lower sanctions for an equity fund that purchased a target company and eventually merged the target into the fund's other two companies, through identifying four years worth of fiduciary breaches and tax disqualification issues as tied to the three merged retirement plans.
- As part of a corporate deal in which an international client sold its stock and assets to a large, national buyer, structured the executive compensation of the leadership that the buyer wished to retain, post-acquisition.
- Negotiated a compensation package for a highly-recruited, but non-founder, executive that included a $300,000 base salary and a nine percent share of the technology company on a fully-diluted basis, in exchange for one day of work per week.
Areas of Expertise
- Employee Stock Ownership Plans
- Pension and profit-sharing plans
- 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans
- Retirement plan self-audits
- Fiduciary audits
- Welfare plans
- Executive compensation arrangements
- 409A deferred compensation
- ERISA issues, in the context of M&A
- Administrative proceedings, audits and litigation initiated by the Department of Labor and the IRS
- Arbitration and mediations
- ERISA and benefits litigation
- Structuring of VCOC and REOCs to allow pension plan investment
- Fiduciary training
- HR training regarding plan administration and regulatory compliance
Employee Benefits Blog - E-Blawg
The Chamberlain Employee Benefits practice launched an Employee Benefits Blog ("E-Blawg). To read the blogs in the Employee Benefits Blog, click on https://www.chamberlainlaw.com/employee-benefits.
- Legal 500 rankings for Chamberlain Hrdlicka as a Top Tax Law Firm and Adds to Individual Ranks in 2022June 17, 2022
- Chamberlain Hrdlicka increases and enhances listings in 2022 US News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" RankingsNovember 4, 2021
- Best Lawyers in America® selects 54 Chamberlain Hrdlicka Attorneys for Recognition for 2022August 19, 2021
- Chamberlain Hrdlicka attorneys are ranked in Appellate, Commercial Litigation, Construction, Corporate, Criminal Defense, Employee Benefits, Energy, Immigration, Insurance, Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment, Real Estate, Tax, and Trust & EJune 22, 2021
- Scene in San Antonio names Chamberlain Attorneys to 1st Annual San Antonio's Outstanding Women in Law ListJillian Foerster, Katherine Noll and Lauren Parker named to San Antonio's Outstanding Women in LawScene in San Antonio, April 23, 2021
- Chamberlain Hrdlicka elevates Jillian Foerster to Shareholder during First Virtual Shareholders MeetingJillian Foerster elevated to Chamberlain Hrdlicka ShareholderMarch 2, 2021
- Five Attorneys elevated at First Virtual Shareholders MeetingMarch 2, 2021
- Katherine Noll, Joshua Sutin, and Jaime Vasquez named to 2020 Top Attorneys by San Antonio MagazineSan Antonio Magazine, November 20, 2020
- Chamberlain Hrdlicka continues to enhance its US News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" Rankings in 2021November 5, 2020
- Chamberlain Hrdlicka Employee Benefits Practice launches E-BlawgOctober 19, 2020
- Tax Update - Payroll Tax Deferral Starting September 1August 31, 2020
- San Antonio Scene Magazine Recognizes Chamberlain Hrdlicka Attorneys as “Best San Antonio Lawyers 2020”Chamberlain Hrdlicka Attorneys Recognized by San Antonio Scene MagazineSan Antonio Scene Magazine, August 3, 2020
- Benefits Update - SBA Form 3508 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Forgiveness ApplicationMay 20, 2020
- Chamberlain Benefits Update - Tax-Free Disaster Relief Payments Under Internal Revenue Code Section 139May 5, 2020
- Joshua Sutin quoted in "401(k) withdrawals just became a better option"Houston Chronicle, April 12, 2020
- Chamberlain Benefits Update - Benefits Alert: COVID-19 Implications for ACA DeterminationsApril 10, 2020
- Chamberlain Benefits Update - Benefits Issues for COVID-19 Workplace ChallengesMarch 31, 2020
- February 18, 2020
- US News, November 2019
- Chamberlain Hrdlicka to Host 42nd Annual Houston Tax and Business Planning Seminar on October 30th at Norris Conference Center at City CentreOctober 30, 2019
- Record Number of Chamberlain Hrdlicka Attorneys Named to US News 2020 Best Lawyers in America® and Four Attorneys Recognized as Lawyer of the YearAugust 15, 2019
- Article by Joshua Sutin on "3 Reasons 401k Plan Sponsors are Smiling"Fiduciary News, December 11, 2018
- Article by Joshua Sutin on "Top 5 Challenges Too Many 401k Plan Sponsors Aren’t Aware of"Fiduciary News, December 4, 2018
- Chamberlain Hrdlicka again named a "Best Law Firm" by US NewsNovember 1, 2018
- Financial Advisor, August 20, 2018
- Anheuser-Busch Pension Plan to Pay Change in Control Severance BenefitsMarch 2017
- IRS Announces Qualified Retirement Plan COLA Adjustments For 2017November 2016
- U.S. News & World Report recognizes Chamberlain Hrdlicka attorneys in practice areas of construction law, employee benefits, immigration law, tax litigation and controversy, and trusts and estates.
- 403(b) Plans – The New 401(k);February 2008
- February 2008
- January 2008
- January 2008
- December 2007
Seminars & Presentations
- Chamberlain Hrdlicka Webinar on New Legal Considerations for Opening Up Your Business During a Pandemic - June 11, 2020 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. CDTFree Webinar on New Legal Considerations for Opening Up Your Business During a PandemicOnline Webinar, June 11, 2020
- Chamberlain Hrdlicka Webinar on Top Legal Traps for Opening Up Your Business in a Pandemic - June 3, 2020 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. CDTFree Webinar on Top Legal Traps for Opening Up Your Business in a PandemicOnline Webinar, June 3, 2020
- Free Webinar on Top Legal Traps for Opening Up Your Business in a PandemicOnline Webinar, May 28, 2020
- Free Webinar on Top Legal Traps for Opening Up Your Business in a PandemicOnline Webinar, May 21, 2020
- IRA Landscape After SECURE and CARES Act Seminar by Chamberlain Hrdlicka and Atlas Retirement StrategiesIRA Landscape After SECURE and CARES Act Seminar by Chamberlain Hrdlicka and Atlas Retirement StrategiesFree Webinar, April 30, 2020
- Norris Conference Center at City Centre, October 30, 2019
- Chamberlain Hrdlicka San Antonio Tax Forum - June 18, 2019Club Giraud, 707 N. St. Mary's Street, San Antonio, Texas 78205, June 18, 2019
- Chamberlain Hrdlicka San Antonio Tax Forum - May 29, 2019Club Giraud, 707 N. St. Mary's Street, San Antonio, Texas 78205, May 29, 2019
- Chamberlain Hrdlicka San Antonio Tax Forum - March 12, 2019Club Giraud, 707 N. St. Mary's Street, San Antonio, Texas 78205, March 12, 2019
- Katherine Noll article on "Invested in Qualified Opportunity Zones?"Today's CPA, May 2022
- Article by Joshua Sutin, Katherine Noll and Lauren Parker on "Lessons in Fiduciary Duty from Employee Stock Plan Ruling"Law360, May 14, 2021
- Article by Lauren Parker and Joshua Sutin on “INSIGHT: Qualified Plans Under the CARES Act—What Employers Need to Know”Bloomberg Tax, April 24, 2020
- Employee Benefits - E-Blawg, October 30, 2021
- SALT Blawg, March 23, 2021
- Employee Benefits - E-Blawg, February 25, 2021
- Employee Benefits - E-Blawg, January 29, 2021
- Employee Benefits - E-Blawg, November 25, 2020
- Employee Benefits - E-Blawg, November 23, 2020
- Employee Benefits - E-Blawg, November 12, 2020
- Employee Benefits - E-Blawg, November 12, 2020
- Employee Benefits - E-Blawg, November 6, 2020
- When can ERISA plan fiduciaries invest in environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) vehicles?Employee Benefits - E-Blawg, November 3, 2020
- IRS Announces Cost of Living Adjustments for Dollar Limitations under Pension Plans and Other Retirement-Related MattersEmployee Benefits - E-Blawg, October 28, 2020
- Employee Benefits - E-Blawg, October 25, 2020
- Employee Benefits - E-Blawg, October 15, 2020
- Employee Benefits - E-Blawg, October 14, 2020
- Employee Benefits - E-Blawg, October 10, 2020
- Employee Benefits - E-Blawg, October 9, 2020
- Tax Blawg, April 10, 2020
- Business and International Tax Blog, March 31, 2020