Celebrating 125 Years

James R. Griffin


ERISA; Employee benefits and executive compensation


Practice Summary
Jim Griffin advises clients on legal issues involving employee benefit plans. Mr. Griffin works closely with the ever-changing Internal Revenue Code and ERISA. In that work, he sees his role with clients as bringing simplicity to a complicated field so that the client's employee benefit plan objectives may be satisfied. Mr. Griffin has more than 29 years of experience representing clients in a wide variety of employee benefit plan matters involving 401(k) plans, group benefits and incentive arrangements.

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 2004-2016 editions of The Best Lawyers in America under Employee Benefits Law. He was named a "Super Lawyer" (2003-2015) by Thomson Reuters and was named as one of the "Best Lawyers in Dallas" by D Magazine for 2008-2015.

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

Speeches / Publications

Mr. Griffin is an occasional author and frequent speaker on employee benefits topics. He has spoken on tax-related and employee benefits issues, as well as other legal matters, to both clients and a wide variety of professional organizations. Mr. Griffin's recent speaking engagements include:

  • Speaker: The Employee Benefit Plan Conference, May 2015
  • "Recent FICA Tax Cases," Dallas Bar Association Employee Benefits/Executive Compensation Section, Dallas, April 2015
  • "ERISA Fiduciary Duties," 17th Annual Whitley Penn Employee Benefits Conference, Dallas and Fort Worth, June 2014
  • "The Affordable Care Act and Its Impact on Business Owners," Greater Dallas Iranian-American Chamber of Commerce, Dallas, March 2014
  • “Implementing Health Reform,” Condley and Company, LLP, Abilene, February 2014
  • "Health Reform Update," Southwest Practice Management Group Spring Meeting, Frisco, May 2013
  • "New Planning Strategies for Roth Conversions," DFW Chapter of the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists, Dallas, May 2013
  • "Employer Responsibility of Health Reform," client seminar, Frost Insurance, Houston, April 2013
  • "Impact of Health Care Reform on Employers," Chairman’s Council of the Plano Chamber of Commerce, Plano, March 2013
  • "Health Care Reform: Implementation Strategies for Employers," panel discussion, Network of Vertafore Users Conference (NetVU), Grapevine, March 2013
  • "American Taxpayer Relief Act," Dallas Bar Association Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Law Section, Dallas, March 2013
  • "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," St. Thomas More Society of the Diocese of Dallas, February 2013.
  • "Health Reform After the Election: Getting Ready for 2014," client seminar, Frost Insurance, Dallas, February 2013
  • "Proposed Regulations of Health Care Reform," client presentation, Southwest Business Corporation, San Antonio, December 2012
  • "The Affordable Care Act: What Every Texas Attorney Should Know," Dallas Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Section, September 2012
  • "Employer Health Care Reform Challenges," HRX Speaker Seminar, Dallas, July 2012
  • "Avoiding Costly 401(k) Plan Mistakes," Fort Worth Chapter of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants’ Free CPE Day, June 2012
  • "ERISA Issues," 15th Annual Conference on Employee Benefit and Retirement Plans, Fort Worth and Dallas, May 2014
  • "Maximizing the Tax Benefits of Retirement Plan Contributions," Fort Worth Chapter of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants’ Employer Responsibilities Seminar, Fort Worth, Texas
  • "Employee Benefit Plan Tax Qualification & Compliance In Mergers & Acquisitions," Gulf Coast Area TEGE Council Employee Benefits & Exempt Organizations Enforcement & Compliance Summer 2011 Meeting, Dallas, July 2011
  • "Employee Benefit Plan Audit Issues," panel discussion, 14th Annual Whitley Penn Employee Benefits Conference, Dallas and Fort Worth, May 2011
  • "Federal and State Tax Law Changes," Dallas/Fort Worth Association Executives, Dallas, April 2011
  • "Upcoming Developments in Health Reform," Dallas Human Resources Management Association, Dallas, April 2011
  • "Notice Requirements for Plan Administrators of 401(k) Plans," 13th Annual Employee Benefit Conference, Fort Worth, June 2010
  • "Electronic Filing of Form 5500 Employee Benefit Plan Reports," client training seminar, Wischmeyer Benefit Partners, Dallas, Texas, May 2010
  • "Recent COBRA Cases," client presentation, Tempe, Arizona, March 2010
  • "Correcting Mistakes in 401(k) Plans," Employee Benefits and Compliance Seminar, Dallas, March 2010
  • "The Four Big Things Plans are STILL Doing Wrong in 2010 and How to Correct Them Before the IRS Does," Retirement Plan Breakfast & Learn 2010 Regulatory Update, Dallas, March 2010

In January 2015, Mr. Griffin presented written comments on behalf of the Tax Section of the State Bar of Texas to the Texas Department of Insurance regarding rules relating to Professional Health Organizations (PEOs) sponsoring self-funded employee health benefit plans. To read the comments in their entirety, CLICK HERE.

Links to Publications

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

Latest News

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  • James R. Griffin
Dallas Office
T: 214.953.5827

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