Employee Benefits


Schwabe lawyers understand the underlying business issues in maintaining an employee benefits program and provide experienced, proactive counsel.

A comprehensive approach

We advise clients on all aspects of benefit plans and executive compensation arrangements, including Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) compliance, fiduciary responsibility, benefits issues in mergers and acquisitions, withdrawal liability exposure, 401(k) and welfare benefit plan design, as well as Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service audits. Our clients include employers of all sizes such as publicly held corporations, governmental entities and tax-exempt institutions.

Proactive counsel

We help clients design and administer retirement plans, including monitoring legal developments that may require employer action in order to preserve tax-qualified status. We also advise clients about the employee relations implications of health and welfare plans. Finally, Schwabe lawyers assist clients with the corporate and legal aspects of executive compensation and non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements. 


  • 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 to restructure 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 substantial multiple employer withdrawal liability upon a plan spin-off.
  • Counseled private and public employers in offerings of nonqualified executive compensation programs.
  • Intervened in Labor Department administrative law hearing for a delinquent ERISA filing, resulting in a reduction in an assessed penalty from $50,000 to $10,000.
  • Provided assistance to a federal agency in defending ERISA criminal charges.
  • 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.

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