The complexity and heightened scrutiny surrounding executive compensation arrangements and employee benefits plans and their assets continue to grow. Proskauer’s Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group is at the forefront of addressing the unfolding legal and business developments affecting these arrangements and plans, and is formulating innovative, practical and proactive legal strategies.
The depth of our group, both in number of lawyers and years of experience, enables our legal work to be accomplished by experienced professionals at the appropriate level while controlling costs and minimizing response time. This ability to provide prompt, high-quality advice to our clients and communicate even the most technical and complex legal concepts in an intelligible and pragmatic manner is a hallmark of our practice.
Unique among employee benefits practices at major law firms in the United States – and, indeed, the world – our Practice Center integrates the extensive resources of Proskauer’s employee benefits, ERISA, executive compensation, public and private investment funds, tax and litigation lawyers. Our assistance allows our clients to manage their benefit plans and investments in a prudent manner, while avoiding costly – and embarrassing – multibillion dollar, lengthy litigations, government agency audits and investigations and scrutiny by the media and other outside parties.
Our benefits clientele include many of the most prominent local, national and international businesses, as well as public employers, cultural and philanthropic institutions and other not-for-profit entities and public interest groups. We represent hundreds of single-employer, multi-employer and collectively bargained pension plans, welfare benefit and other plans, covering, in total, well over one million participants with collective asset bases exceeding $100 billion. These include pension, profit sharing, annuity, 401(k), employee stock ownership, stock bonus, stock option, phantom stock, tax-sheltered annuity and thrift plans, as well as various group life insurance, medical, hospitalization, dental, optical, vacation, broad-based severance, legal, training, cafeteria, VEBA and other health and welfare and fringe benefit plans.
We also provide extensive advice to public and private companies concerning executive compensation matters, including equity-based compensation, bonus arrangements, supplemental retirement and deferred compensation plans, executive employment and severance arrangements, and securities law compliance. In this context, we counsel clients on the tax, ERISA, corporate securities, stock exchange, employment law and accounting issues impacting executive compensation planning. In addition, we advise employers and senior executives in the negotiation and implementation of employment agreements, including provisions dealing with post-employment restrictions. We have been involved in some of the most publicized executive compensation arrangements and have broad experience in advising a full spectrum of different kinds of entities, from Fortune 100 to start-ups, biotech and high-tech, to traditional Wall Street entities, to private equity and hedge funds.
The work we do for our clients also includes issues involving U.S. governmental agencies such as the IRS, Department of Labor, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, DOJ, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the SEC. We also frequently advise clients in connection with various “correction” and “amnesty” programs sponsored by the IRS and Department of Labor.
In addition, we are active in prosecuting and defending a wide variety of fiduciary duty claims on behalf of employee benefit plans, plan trustees and plan service providers, including claims arising from significant plan investment losses, claims challenging plan amendments or terminations, and claims challenging plan restrictions on particular types of coverage. In many of these cases, we have been instrumental in fashioning imaginative and practical settlements that have yielded significant recoveries for our benefits clients while averting unnecessary litigation costs. We also assist clients in interpreting and enforcing fiduciary liability insurance and fidelity bond policies and negotiating complex settlements with insurance carriers. We have established an excellent reputation among the various governmental agencies, which enhances our ability to forestall or resolve contemplated litigation against our clients.