Sedgwick’s Employee Benefits Practice Group is a vital and growing aspect of our Employment and Labor Group. Our attorneys bring to the table a well-rounded, comprehensive understanding of employee benefit transactions and counseling that complements the firm’s extensive employment litigation experience. Our attorneys offer clients advice and counseling regarding all areas of employee benefits, with an emphasis on employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and issues governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
Additionally, attorneys in the group offer benefit consulting backgrounds that complement their legal expertise. They provide our clients this invaluable business perspective when structuring ESOPs and counseling clients on ERISA compliance matters. When necessary, attorneys in this group work in conjunction with Sedgwick’s experienced trial attorneys to quickly resolve employee benefit disputes.
Employee Stock Ownership Plans
Sedgwick’s Employee Benefits Group guides clients through the complex process of designing, implementing and maintaining ESOPs. Primarily working with middle market and large corporations, as well as plan administrators and fiduciaries, our attorneys establish qualified plans and provide ongoing counsel regarding Internal Revenue Code compliance issues. Sedgwick drafts amendments to existing plans, and counsels companies on the interpretation of ESOP terms and their application to the various employee issues that arise. Attorneys in the group also advise companies on the effect business mergers, acquisitions and other transactions have on ESOPs. Sedgwick works closely with our clients to ensure that our clients’ best interests are being met at every point of the ESOP process and to reduce the risk of potential exposure to liability in the future.
Tax-Qualified Retirement Plans
In addition to ESOPs, our attorneys are skilled in the design and administration of pension plans, profit sharing plans and other retirement benefit vehicles. Our attorneys’ counsel is based on their extensive knowledge of employee benefits law and their many years of experience handling real world business scenarios. Our attorneys assist with designing, implementing, amending and terminating all type of so qualified retirement plans. In addition, we advise on administrative and compliance issues (including correction of plan defects), legislative and regulatory changes, and interactions with the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Department of Labor.
Non-Qualified Plans/Executive Compensation
Our attorneys help clients to design and implement non-qualified plans and executive compensation arrangements that satisfy corporate objectives while complying with the regulations and guidance issued by the federal agencies. We assist in the design and drafting of plan documents and amendments for a full range of plans, including equity incentive plans, stock option plans, restricted stock arrangements, performance share stock appreciation rights, employee stock purchase and similar plans.
Compliance with ERISA law and the complicated web of applicable Department of Labor regulations is a daunting task for any executive charged with oversight of retirement benefits. Representing employers of all sizes, from small, privately held businesses up to Fortune 500 corporations, as well as plan fiduciaries, our attorneys advise clients on ERISA duties and requirements and ensure that decision-making procedures are correctly documented. We counsel clients on issues regarding investing, prohibited transactions, trust agreements, plan expenses and fiduciary audits. Sedgwick’s focus is on assisting our clients in meeting all of their legal obligations under ERISA while minimizing the risk of future liability.
In those instances when disputes are unavoidable, Sedgwick first strives to resolve these matters through mediation or other alternative resolution methods. However, when that is not possible, our attorneys stand ready to represent our clients at trial.