Russell Shaw

Russell C. Shaw


Direct:  216.928.2888
Fax:  216.916.2327

Focus Areas


  • The Ohio State University, J.D., 1965
  • The Ohio State University, B.S. in B.A., 1962

Licensed to Practice

  • Ohio
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. Supreme Court


Russ has been an employee benefits specialist since 1970 and has a nationwide practice that encompasses every type of employee benefit plan.  This includes retirement plans, executive deferred compensation plans, welfare benefit plans, VEBAs, and 403(b) tax-deferred annuity plans.  His practice also includes plan design, administration, funding methods, retirement plan qualification, prohibited transaction and fiduciary liability issues, termination of defined benefit plans, 401(k) plans, ESOPs, multi-employer plans, joint apprenticeship committee programs, and public and private retiree benefits.  He advises charitable foundations and other tax-exempt organizations on tax, fiduciary, and related matters.

With his in-depth knowledge of both ERISA and non-ERISA benefit matters, Russ often assists the firm’s employee benefits litigation team in cases involving breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, self-dealing, denial of benefits, and benefits discrimination.

Russ has practiced before the national office and regional offices of the Internal Revenue Service, and the national district offices of the Department of Labor and the Social Security Administration. He has testified before the Senate Finance Committee on employee benefit issues and has participated in meetings sponsored by the Department of Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of Labor. He was a Treasury Department Appointee to the Ad Hoc Committee on Tax Reform Act of 1986 compliance.

Prior to joining Walter | Haverfield, Russ was a partner with Thompson, Hine and Flory and former head of its Employee Benefits Group. In the 1960s he was a captain in the U.S. Army. He was on General Westmoreland’s legal staff while in Vietnam. After Martin Luther King’s assassination, he served on the Hollingsworth Board which investigated the use of the National Guard and reservists in civil disturbances.

Russ lectures on employee benefit and fiduciary liability issues to various professional and nonprofit organizations and is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

Download Russell C. Shaw's Full Bio


  • Prepared and submitted VCP filings involving many complex and novel errors, and negotiated compliance statements with the IRS.
  • Assists clients in implementing the corrections required under compliance statements issued by the IRS.
  • Advises clients on specific tax and ERISA compliance issues.
  • Managed audits of qualified plans that raised numerous complex issues.
  • Assisted municipalities with issues that surrounded their Section 457 plans’ compliance with the current rules.
  • Assists clients in implementing the corrections required under compliance statements issued by the IRS.
  • Represented a tax exempt entity in the spin-off of its employees’ pension benefits from a multiple employer pension plan to a single employer plan.
  • Advises clients with respect to plan terminations, and, with respect to defined benefit plans, annuity purchases.
  • Defends claims of breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, self-dealing, denial of benefits, and benefits discrimination.
  • Revises corporate-sponsored prototype plans to meet new federal legislation requirements.
  • Defends claims of breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and self-dealing.
  • Advises business on employee-benefit related issues in mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and corporate reorganizations.
  • Provides due diligence to clients in mergers and acquisitions.
  • Advises tax-exempt entities on all aspects of obtaining and maintaining their exempt status and complying with state charitable contribution reporting requirements.


  • AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
  • 2006-2018 – Selected for inclusion in Chambers USA 2018. Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Ohio).
  • 1995-2022 – Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America©.  Listed in the 2022 edition for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law; Litigation-ERISA.
  • 2004-2008; 2011-2014 – Selected to Ohio Super Lawyers list. Areas of practice: Employee Benefits/ERISA; Non-Profit Organizations.
  • 2005 – 2006 – Listed in the Professional Directory for Foundations.


Best Lawyers Award Badge



  • American and Ohio State Bar Associations
  • International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
  • United Way Services – former Vice President and Trustee
  • Ohio United Way – former President and Trustee
  • Ohio Governor’s Operations Improvement Task Force
  • Ohio Advisory Council for the Aging – former Chairman
  • University Settlement – former Trustee


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