Celebrating 125 Years

James R. Griffin


ERISA; Employee benefits and executive compensation


Practice Summary
James R. Griffin counsels businesses of all sizes on their employee benefits plans, which include just about any form of compensation, other than salary or wages, a business uses to recruit and retain talent. Employee benefits is a highly technical field that is heavily affected by Federal regulation and requires a deep understanding of both tax and employment law. Mr. Griffin works with clients at every stage of the process, from planning and drafting the benefits plan to working through changes such as mergers, acquisitions, and investment transactions to addressing disputes that may arise. In each of these situations, he helps his clients protect their interests and achieve their business goals.

Relevant Experience
Mr. Griffin's practice includes advising clients on issues arising under the Internal Revenue Code, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and other laws. He has particular experience in the following areas:

  • Advising clients in matters related to executive compensation, stock option plans, and the special tax-driven arrangements that are typically provided to C level employees
  • Counseling clients on IRS compliance, investments, vendor contracts, and plan administration with regard to 401(k) and pension plans
  • Working with clients that have tax issues with Section 409A involving nonqualified plans.
  • For clients that are involved in mergers, acquisitions, and investment transactions, providing assistance with evaluating tax and ERISA risk exposure, including Section 280G rules for change in control payments to executives
  • Counseling clients on various group and fringe benefits issues, including advising on the health insurance mandate and penalty tax provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as "Obamacare"
  • Representing clients in controversy matters, including Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Labor (DOL) audits, investigations, examinations and voluntary compliance proceedings

When disputes lead to litigation, Mr. Griffin works closely with Jackson Walker's trial team to resolve the tax and ERISA issues involved in those cases.

More about James R. Griffin: Involvement | Recognition | Speeches / Publications | News

Organization Membership

Mr. Griffin is a member of the following organizations:

  • American Bar Association, Section of Taxation: Employee Benefits Committee
  • Dallas Bar Association; Secretary and Treasurer, Employee Benefits Committee
  • Southwest Benefits Association

Community Involvement

  • Texas Rangers Season Ticket Advisory Board
  • Gulf Coast Area Tax Exempt/Government Entities Council
  • Leadership Dallas, Class of 2003, Dallas Regional Chamber
  • Leadership Dallas Alumni Board, Dallas Regional Chamber (2005-2010)
  • Board of Directors, McKinney Avenue Transit Authority
  • Chair, Vice-Chair and Development Committee Chairman, Dallas Wind Symphony
  • Member, Southwestern Medical Foundation's Estate Planning Council

More about James R. Griffin: Biography | Recognition | Speeches / Publications | News

Peer Recognition

Mr. Griffin is included in the 2004-2015 editions of The Best Lawyers in America under Employee Benefits Law. He was named a "Super Lawyer" (2003-2014) by Thomson Reuters and was named as one of the "Best Lawyers in Dallas" by D Magazine for 2008-2014.

More about James R. Griffin: Biography | Involvement | Speeches / Publications | News

Speeches / Publications

Mr. Griffin has spoken on tax-related and employee benefits issues, as well as other legal matters, to the following audiences:

  • Southwest Benefits Association
  • Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants
  • Texas Tech Tax Institute
  • International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists - Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Dallas Certified Public Accountants Society
  • Dallas Bar Association
  • SMU School of Law – guest lecturer, 1988-2008

Recent papers presented by Mr. Griffin include:

Links to Publications

More about James R. Griffin: Biography | Involvement | Recognition | News

Latest News

More about James R. Griffin: Biography | Involvement | Recognition | Speeches / Publications |

  • James R. Griffin
Dallas Office
T: 214.953.5827

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Practice Areas

B.B.A., summa cum laude, Texas Tech University

J.D., cum laude, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law
  • Order of the Coif
  • Editor, SMU Law Review
Bar Admissions

  • 1986, Texas
Court Admissions

  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Tax Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
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