Our team helps clients achieve their business and human resources objectives in all aspects of employee benefits and executive compensation matters. We have experience handling executive compensation arrangements, maintain a substantial “benefits only” practice, and offer transactional, advisory, compliance and consulting services.

Our clients include national and international corporations, banks, insurance companies, mutual funds and other investment entities, utilities, transportation companies, hospitals, governmental units, schools, universities, churches and other nonprofit organizations. We also represent publicly traded companies, domestic subsidiaries of foreign companies and privately held entities.

Our size and our resources allow us to offer solutions to the full range of employee benefits challenges that our clients face. Our lawyers work as a team with other practices in the firm, particularly the Corporate and Securities and Health Care practice groups. When employee benefits and executive compensation issues involving mergers, acquisitions and sales of businesses arise, we help our colleagues deal with securities issues involving employee benefits and executive compensation. We also assist the Investment Management practice group when ERISA issues arise in connection with the investment of money held by employee benefit plans and individual retirement accounts in mutual funds and other investment entities. The success of our group is illustrated by the fact that many clients are introduced to Drinker Biddle as clients of the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group.

Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation

Our core services include:

Retirement Plans

We work with employers of all types and sizes across many local, national and global industries in designing, implementing, and administering all types of qualified and nonqualified retirement plans, including 401(k), money purchase, profit sharing, cash balance and other defined benefit pension plans.

Financial Services ERISA

The operation of a retirement plan requires the services of a wide array of providers, all of which need to comply, to a greater or lesser degree, with ERISA’s reporting and disclosure, prohibited transaction and fiduciary rules. Our team focuses on representing these plan service providers, and we practice across the legal silos in a way that can provide effective and comprehensive representation.


Our attorneys work with clients from all industries and of all sizes in the design, implementation and administration of Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). We also represent ESOP fiduciaries, including internal and independent trustees and administrative committees, to ensure compliance with ESOP fiduciary duties and prohibited transaction rules. When necessary, we represent clients in state and federal court proceedings, before administrative bodies and in alternative dispute resolution and mediation.

Executive Compensation

We assist clients on executive compensation with negotiating, drafting and implementing deferred compensation and equity compensation arrangements. Our practice includes negotiating omnibus equity plans and agreements; supplemental executive retirement plans; employee stock purchase plans; profits interest plans and agreements; and employment severance and change in control agreements on behalf of client companies, private equity managers and senior management.

Health and Welfare Plans

We have a large and proactive group of lawyers devoted to helping organizations address health and welfare plan design and operational issues. With respect to health care reform, our large number of health care organization clients and extensive Health Law practice (which focuses on the provider implications of health care reform), enables us to provide depth and insight into this law that other law firms can’t match.

ERISA Litigation

Our attorneys across the United States have handled the full spectrum of ERISA litigation. We defend claims against employers that sponsor ERISA-governed employee benefits, welfare and retirement plans, as well as the plans, plan fiduciaries and insurers. Our experience includes defense of claims, audits and investigations brought by the U.S. Department of Labor, the IRS and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

Corporate Transactions

We handle private and public company and tax-exempt entity corporate transactions, working closely with our colleagues in other practice areas to negotiate and structure transactions efficiently. Our attorneys have extensive knowledge and experience representing parties in all types of transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, dispositions, affiliations, membership substitutions, spin-offs and reorganizations.

Tax-Exempt Employers

We have worked on employee benefit issues with health care systems, colleges and universities, museums, associations, charities and other types of tax-exempt employers for many decades, and have developed a deep understanding of their culture, organizations, missions and values. Our team has worked with clients on a wide variety of matters including retirement plans, church plan status, health and welfare plans and executive compensation.

Ranked Band 1 for Employee Benefits in Illinois

Chambers USA
NAPA Ranks Fred Reish and Brad Campbell Among 15 Best ERISA Attorneys in the U.S.