We represent businesses of all sizes in a variety of employee benefits and compensation matters. Our practice includes planning and drafting as well as advising clients on compliance with governmental requirements. Our employee benefits and compensation attorneys are experienced in dealing with Internal Revenue Code and ERISA issues, as well as dealing with the IRS, the U.S. Department of Labor, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and SEC.

Our employee benefits attorneys work with clients in resolving issues involving pension and 401(k) plans, group benefit plans and nonqualified deferred compensation plans. We also work with clients in addressing compensation issues that arise under the tax laws including Section 409A, Section 280G and Section 162(m). Our clients ask us to assist them with legal issues arising in connection with incentive compensation plans, bonus programs and equity compensation plans. We also work closely with our labor and employment attorneys as well as our litigation attorneys to provide the resources necessary to address our client’s issues in the employee benefits and compensation areas.

Marilyn Brown

Partner, Austin

Chuck Campbell

Partner, Austin

Alyca Riley

Associate, Austin

Greta E. Cowart

Partner, Dallas
  • Resolved employee benefit plan issues arising in establishment of public private partnership for hospital district.
  • Advised numerous employers in connection with the IRS reporting requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Handled litigation issues related to tax issues and executive compensation for large employer.
  • Evaluated and developed investment structure for employee benefit plan issues involved in private equity fund investment transactions.
  • Assessed the timing of Social Security and Medicare taxes on nonqualified deferred compensation for various employers.
  • Performed analysis for large diversified businesses in assessing controlled group responsibilities for employee benefits.
  • Represented employers in connection with Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor audits, investigations and other proceedings related to employee benefits.
  • Prepared filings with Internal Revenue Service and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation for termination of defined benefit pension plan for a bank.
  • Prepared determination letter applications with the IRS for various public pension plans, including submissions under the IRS’ Voluntary Compliance Program to address documentation and operational issues
  • Established and drafted plan documentation and governance structure for newly-formed public pension plan
  • Counseled board of trustees on fiduciary issues involved in establishing private market investment program
  • Advised Texas Pension Review Board on training materials for public pension plan administration to be made available to all Texas public pension plans
  • Created phantom equity arrangement with incentive-based components for closely-held business
  • Analyzed plan documentation and service agreements in connection with retirement plan provider transition, including advice on handling potential operational issues.
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Labor & Employment Dispatch: August 2019

Below is detailed information regarding our experience in tax-qualified retirement plans, fringe benefits, health and welfare benefits, litigation, equity compensation, and executive compensation.

Tax-Qualified Retirement Plans

Members of the section have experience in working with employers to maximize benefits to employers and employees from tax-qualified plans.

  • Defined contribution plans, focusing on 401(k) plan design and administration
  • Defined benefit plans including target and cash balance plans design and administration
  • Compliance issue resolution, including preparing voluntary compliance resolutions and closing agreements with the IRS
  • Plan communications
  • Custom-designed plans implementing integrated age-weighted or cross-testing features to maximize benefits
  • Multi-employer, controlled group, and affiliated service group plan design and administration

Fringe Benefits

Attorneys in the section have provided employers with extensive assistance in the establishment of plans providing employees with taxable and non-taxable fringe benefits.

  • Section 125 Cafeteria Plans
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Medical Savings Accounts
  • Dependent Care Accounts
  • Premium Conversion Plans
  • Employee Assistance Plans

Health and Welfare Benefits

The employee benefits attorneys also provide counsel and assistance in the creation and maintenance of health and welfare plans.

  • Self-funded, insured and hybrid health and welfare plans
  • Voluntary Employee Benefit Associations (VEBA)
  • Multiple Employer Welfare Associations (MEWA)
  • ERISA and non-ERISA compliance issues

Equity Compensation

The section’s attorneys are skilled in the establishment, design, and implementation of equity-based compensation for key and non-key personnel.

  • ESOPs
  • Tax-qualified and non-qualified stock option plans
  • Stock bonus plans
  • Phantom stock plans

Executive Compensation

Employee benefits attorneys have worked closely to implement custom designed plans addressing issues associated with executive compensation.

  • Supplemental Executive Compensation “top hat” plans
  • Excess benefit plans


Attorneys in the section have expertise in the representation of employers and fiduciaries in the defense of ERISA and employee benefits related to legal matters.

  • ERISA litigation
  • DOL, PBGC, and IRS audit representations
  • Tax controversies