Employee Benefits


Walter | Haverfield's nationally prominent employee benefits practice group represents major corporations, multi-employer pension and welfare and benefit plans, regional manufacturers, and professional service corporations and their insurers. We represent pension plans, profit sharing plans, employee stock ownership (ESOP) plans, employee stock bonus plans, executive "top hat" plans, 403(b) annuity plans, 457(b) and (f) plans, welfare (health/life/disability/vacation) plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs and SEPs), and "rabbi" and secular trusts for a large variety of corporate, institutional, governmental, and individual clients. This representation includes plan design, creation, and amendment, plan termination, IRS and ERISA compliance, and inquiries and audits by the IRS and the Department of Labor. Walter | Haverfield also has a litigation team in place to represent plans, corporations, and their insurers in ERISA cases.


The Employee Benefits group’s experience and services include the following:

  • Consults on qualified plan design, including defined benefit/defined contribution combinations.
  • Drafts and implements individually designed qualified plans.
  • Handles qualified plan audits and interface with IRS to obtain qualification letters for the plans.
  • Designs and implements VEBAs for larger employers and assist small employers with their employee benefit plans.
  • Designs, drafts, and implements non-qualified deferred compensation, stock options, restricted stock plans.
  • Implements IRA and other retirement strategies.
  • Advises clients on specific tax and ERISA compliance issues.
  • Provides due diligence to clients in mergers and acquisitions.
  • Manages audits of qualified plans that raise numerous complex issues.
  • Assisted municipalities with issues that surrounded their Section 457 plans' compliance with the current rules.
  • Prepared and submitted numerous VCP filings involving many complex and novel errors, and successfully negotiated compliance statements with the IRS.
  • 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.
  • Revised corporate-sponsored prototype plans to meet new federal legislation requirements.
  • Defended claims of breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, self-dealing, denial of benefits, and benefits discrimination.
U.S. News - Best Lawyers® 2015 “Best Law Firms” rankings:
  • NATIONAL TIER 3: ERISA Litigation

According to U.S. News - Best Lawyers®, firms included in this year's listing "...are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise." This year's ratings were based upon the largest number of participating firms and the highest number of client ballots since these rankings were initiated - more than 17,000 attorneys provided nearly 600,000 law firm evaluations, and almost 7,500 clients also participated in the evaluation process. 

U.S. News - Best Lawyers® explained that, "Ranked firms, presented in tiers, are listed on a national and/or metropolitan scale. Receiving a tier designation reflects the high level of respect a firm has earned among other leading lawyers and clients in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism and their integrity." 

2014 rankings:
  • Metropolitan Tier 2 - ERISA Litigation
  • Metropolitan Tier 3 - Employee Benefits Law
  • National Tier 3 - ERISA Litigation
2013 rankings:
  • Metropolitan Tier 2 - ERISA Litigation
  • Metropolitan Tier 3 - Employee Benefits Law
  • National Tier 3 - ERISA Litigation
2012 rankings:
  • Metropolitan Tier 2 - ERISA Litigation, Employee Benefits Law

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