Walter W. Miller
Wally Miller helps employers ensure that their retirement and welfare benefit plans comply with applicable state and federal laws. Since entering the employee benefit field 35 years ago, he has assisted clients in working through a cascade of new laws, from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Pension Protection Act, and most recently, the Affordable Care Act.
Experience with a complex regulatory system
Clients call on Wally to guide them in matters involving qualified Section 401(k) and defined benefit pension plans; Section 403(b) and 457 retirement plans; nonqualified deferred compensation plans; Section 409A issues; welfare benefit plans, including Section 125 cafeteria plans; self-insured medical plans; health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs); VEBAs; MEWAs; association health plans (AHPs); flexible spending arrangements (FSAs); health savings accounts (HSAs); ERISA compliance; HIPAA privacy; and plan-related issues in connection with acquisitions, dispositions and mergers. Wally’s experience with these complicated regulations helps his clients manage risk and avoid potential tax consequences, fines, and criminal and civil litigation.
A problem-solver in a broad range of industries
Wally represents employers from across the United States, ranging from Fortune 300 companies to counties and other local governments. He works with numerous industries, including retail and distribution, construction, warehousing, steel manufacturing, newspapers, health insurance, auto dealers, lumber companies and real estate management firms. In addition, he is counsel to third-party administrators and benefit consultants that manage employee benefits plans. Wally counsels clients on U.S. federal and state statutes as they apply to employee benefits plans, and how to structure plans to avoid or withstand litigation and reduce costs.
Watching his clients’ backs
Wally handles client encounters with the Internal Revenue Service under various circumstances, including Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) filings, VCP negotiations, benefit plan audits and applications for determination letters. He has also represented clients in negotiations with the Labor Department in connection with benefit plan audits and Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program filings, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation in connection with plan spin-off, withdrawals and plan terminations.
"Walter Miller is easily the most knowledgeable and responsive attorney I have worked with in my 30 years in this industry."
- Represented a Fortune 300 retail and distribution company in a benefit plan examination by the U.S. Department of Labor. A favorable “no action letter” was issued.
- Assisted 18 separate employer associations in restructuring their benefit plans to qualify as “bona fide association plans” for purposes of the Affordable Care Act and ERISA.
- Assisting a construction industry employer in seeking a waiver from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation for a substantial multiple employer withdrawal liability upon a plan spin-off.
- Counseled private and public employers in the offerings of nonqualified executive compensation programs.
- Represented clients in securing prohibited transaction exemptions from the U.S. Department of Labor for the sale of timberland and other real estate from their qualified retirement plans.
- Assisted clients in responding to employees’ claims for benefits and in appeals of denied claims.
- Reviewed administrative services agreements with third-party administrators and administrative services organizations.
- Prepared HIPAA Privacy and Security Manuals, and conducted HIPAA training, as required under applicable privacy rules.
- Assisted federal contractors in establishing fringe benefit plans that comply with the Service Contract Act, Davis-Bacon Act or other prevailing wage laws.
Memberships & Awards
- Western Pension & Benefits Council, President of the National Board (2007-2008)
- IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities (TE/GE) Council for the Pacific Coast Region (2008-2016)
- Ranked for Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation in Oregon, Chambers USA (2020)
- Best Lawyers in America Award, Lawyer of the Year for Employee Benefits, Eugene, Oregon (2014, 2016)
- Best Lawyers in America Award, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (2006-2021)
- Oregon Super Lawyers, Employee Benefits (2011-2020)
- Fellow of America College of Employee Benefits Counsel
Resources & Ideas
- August 20, 2020
- July 6, 2020
- Seven practice areas and 16 attorneys singled out for excellence.April 30, 2020
- August 15, 2019
- Super LawyersJuly 5, 2019
- August 15, 2018
- 33 Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt Attorneys Named to Oregon Super Lawyers and Rising Stars List in 2018Super LawyersJuly 24, 2018
- August 15, 2017
- Designation honors attorneys in the top 5 percent of their legal fieldJuly 10, 2017
- August 19, 2016
- August 1, 2016
Seminars & Speaking Engagements
- ERISA UpdateNovember 6, 2017
- ERISA Update & Cafeteria PlansOctober 26, 2017
- May 18, 2017
- Northwest Food Processors AssociationSchwabe, Williamson & Wyatt 1211 SW 5th Ave Suite 1900 Portland, OR 97204, February 16, 2017
- 1211 SW 5th Ave., Suite 1900, Portland, OR, 97206, January 27, 2017
- August 12, 2020
- April 14, 2020
- April 6, 2020
- March 31, 2020
- March 27, 2020
- December 30, 2019
- November 25, 2019
- November 7, 2019
- March 1, 2019
- Texas Federal District Court Opines That the Affordable Care Act Is Invalid in Its Entirety: Where Does It Go from Here?January 3, 2019
- November 16, 2018
- July 10, 2018
- March 8, 2018
- February 16, 2018
- February 6, 2018
- December 21, 2017
- November 16, 2017
- October 27, 2017
- August 28, 2017
- June 19, 2017
- April 28, 2017
- March 14, 2017
- January 27, 2017
- December 14, 2016
- November 21, 2016
- October 31, 2016
- July 12, 2016
- June 13, 2016
- June 10, 2016
- January 7, 2016
“Affordable Care Act Update,” Pacific Northwest Employee Benefits Conference (September 29, 2015)
“The Empire Strikes Back,” DOL Proposal Puts Investments Advisors on the Defensive,” Western Pension and Benefits Council, Portland Chapter (April 29, 2015).
“New Legal Developments,” Oregon Health Underwriters Association (February 10, 2015).
- DePaul UniversityJuris Doctor degree (1982)
- DePaul UniversityMaster of Science in Taxation (1983)
- Loyola UniversityBachelor of Science (1977)
Oregon State Courts
Outside The Office
- Running, basketball and hiking.