Areas of Expertise
Executive and Employee Compensation
Jennings Strouss provides clients with practical and timely advice in the dynamic and highly-regulated field of compensation and benefits relating to directors, managers, and employees. Our clients include employers of all sizes in a variety of industries, as well as plan fiduciaries.
Our experienced attorneys regularly assist in the creation and administration of a wide variety of compensation and benefits programs at all levels of an organization. They address issues arising under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974, the Internal Revenue Code, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1985, and other laws affecting employee benefits.
Our attorneys advise private and public companies on all aspects of executive compensation. They draft, negotiate, and administer executive employment, severance, change-in-control, and similar agreements, and assist with the creation of compensation plans, such as stock option, restricted stock, annual bonus, and long-term incentive compensation programs. Our attorneys have experience in creating compensation plans for directors or other managers of an enterprise, including annual and deferred compensation programs, charitable awards programs, and non-qualified director retirement programs. They also represent clients in the creation and administration of employee policies, such as employee handbooks, leave policies, compliance with employment laws, and anti-discrimination and harassment requirements.
Health and Welfare Plans
Jennings Strouss counsels businesses concerning all types of health and welfare plans, including insured and self-insured medical plans, short- and long-term disability plans, Section 125 plans (cafeteria plans), flexible spending accounts, and health reimbursement arrangements. We also advise our clients on COBRA, ADA, FMLA, and general HIPAA compliance.
Jennings Strouss has substantial experience in counseling retirement plan sponsors, as well as trustees and other plan fiduciaries on ERISA’s fiduciary and prohibited transaction rules. Our attorneys regularly advise clients regarding their duties in choosing and monitoring plan investments and assist with negotiating service provider agreements, investment management agreements, actuarial services agreements, investment performance monitoring agreements (hard and soft dollar), and custodial agreements.
ERISA Litigation and Government Proceedings
Jennings Strouss defends employers and plan fiduciaries, including pension plan trustees, in a wide variety of litigation matters, such as benefit claims, breach of fiduciary duty claims, and actuarial disputes. We have appeared on behalf of our clients in Arizona Superior Court, U.S. District Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The attorneys in the firm’s litigation practice collaborate with our transactional attorneys to provide the most effective service possible in the evolving area of ERISA litigation. They also represent clients in proceedings before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Department of Labor, and in connection with governmental audits.
We counsel our clients on the employee-related aspects implicated by corporate mergers, acquisitions, and dispositions. We help clients identify options for policy and benefits program integration, elimination or redesign, and to recognize relevant assets and liabilities related to employee benefit plans in the corporate transaction context. Clients often need assistance in special employment or termination arrangements in conjunction with significant corporate transactions.
Qualified Retirement Plans
Jennings Strouss advises employers on the design, drafting, administration, and termination of 401(k) plans, profit sharing plans, traditional pension plans, cash balance plans, and employee stock ownership plans, as well as the associated government reporting and participant disclosure obligations. We also have extensive experience in addressing the unique issues that arise in the context of collectively bargained, multi- and multiple employer plans. Our attorneys assist clients in amending their plans to stay current with legislative and regulatory developments and to satisfy changing business and human resource needs. They also represent clients in connection with the voluntary compliance programs sponsored by the IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor.