Employee benefits law is complex, and fast-changing legislative and regulatory environments call for constant monitoring of legal guidelines and requirements. We help clients stay ahead of the curve so that they can respond quickly to changes in the law. We counsel fiduciaries in considering appropriate responses, and we help client plans implement necessary changes through plan amendments or revisions to existing policies and procedures. While pension plans must navigate the ever-expanding body of guidance from the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, group health plans also must contend with byzantine administrative requirements, a volatile political landscape, and rising costs. Governmental plans also carry their own unique set of legal challenges and practical considerations, including the intersection of applicable federal, state and local laws. Keeping clients informed on the current state of the law and implementing effective solutions to new legal challenges takes knowledge, hard work, and experience. We provide clients with in-depth legal analysis on new or proposed legislation or regulatory guidelines, as well as practical advice that considers each client’s unique circumstances.
The complexity of the law means that employee benefit plans frequently require intervention with government agencies. We remain in constant contact with the agencies that regulate benefit plans. Since many of our attorneys formerly practiced at these federal agencies, our knowledge and experience in navigating the regulatory landscape results in more successful client outcomes, whether in a routine application to maintain tax qualification or in an agency’s investigation into a plan’s administrative practices.
In an investigation, we represent the plan and its fiduciaries through all stages, helping to protect the plan’s interests while ensuring that the investigating agency receives the appropriate information. In situations in which the government is seeking relief from the plan or its fiduciaries, we negotiate on behalf of our client to achieve the most favorable outcome.
Our experience with federal agencies means we get results. We have obtained favorable opinion letters from government agencies concerning a wide range of legal questions, from pension benefit administration issues to prohibited transactions under ERISA. We use our extensive experience to obtain these opinions as quickly and cost-effectively as possible to minimize disruption in plan decision making.