We address all areas of the law relevant to employee benefits, including taxation, fiduciary responsibility, labor relations, employment discrimination, securities regulation, and health care regulation. We advise companies, directors, and executives on incentive and equity compensation arrangements designed to attract and retain top-level talent. We handle pension investments and the employee benefit aspects of business transactions.
As counsel to The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC), the voice for over 100 large public companies, we are directly involved in the most significant legislative, regulatory, and public policy issues affecting employee benefits. Our senior lawyers have served as Deputy Secretary of Labor; Solicitor of Labor; Associate Benefits Tax Counsel in the Treasury Department; Deputy General Counsel of the Department of Health and Human Services; Director of the Division of Corporation Finance at the Securities and Exchange Commission; and Chief Counsel to the Senate Finance Committee.
We handle a wide variety of employee benefits litigation and contested agency proceedings. We have won large class actions involving hundreds of millions of dollars and benefit claims brought by individual employees. We have successfully represented clients in audits, investigations, and enforcement proceedings brought by the IRS, the Labor Department, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the SEC, and the EEOC, and in challenges to plans’ tax-qualified status in U.S. Tax Court.
- We successfully defended IBM in the ground-breaking case Cooper v. IBM Personal Pension Plan, No. 05-3588 (7th Cir. Aug. 7, 2006). Our experienced ERISA litigators drew on the technical skill of our employee benefits lawyers to win the first decision by a federal court of appeals that cash balance plans are not inherently age discriminatory.
- We helped a leading global fund-of-funds sponsor with benefit plan investors acquire several large portfolios of European private equity interests. Working with corporate lawyers in our London and New York offices, we designed tax-efficient acquisition vehicles that complied with ERISA and avoided potential fiduciary and plan asset concerns.
- We obtained rulings from the IRS and an advisory opinion from the Labor Department approving an innovative trust and insurance arrangement that protects a public company’s executive medical benefits following a change in control.
Covington’s employee benefits and executive compensation practice, and individual partners in the practice, are recognized in the following publications:
- The Best Lawyers in America
- Chambers USA — America’s Leading Business Lawyers
- Euromoney’s Expert Guides to the World’s Leading Lawyers
- PLC Which Lawyer?
- Legal 500 US
- Lawdragon’s, Guide to World-Class Employment Lawyers