Karen E. Gelula

karen.gelula dbr.com
Phone: (215) 988-2729 (215) 988-2729


Karen E. Gelula counsels public and private companies across industry sectors such as manufacturing, financial services, public utilities, energy, and health services, among others, on all types of employee benefits and executive compensation matters.

Karen has significant experience in the design, operation, compliance and governance of qualified retirement plans including 401(k) and profit-sharing plans, traditional defined benefit plans, cash balance pension plans, money purchase pension plans, and 403(b) plans. She also assists with employee benefits and employee integration issues in corporate transactions.

Karen regularly advises clients on the design, administration and documentation of health and welfare benefit plans in connection with compliance under applicable federal (e.g. ERISA, Internal Revenue Code, HIPAA, ACA, COBRA, Mental Health Parity Act) and state laws, and regulations promulgated thereunder.


  • Part of team that obtained Private Letter Ruling from the IRS which allowed employer to use a nearly $3 million retiree medical plan VEBA surplus to pay for active employee health coverage.
  • Counseled client regarding design and drafted amendment to permit participants who are at least age 62 to elect in-service withdrawals from cash balance pension plan.
  • Conducted fiduciary training for public company retirement plan committee with respect to employer stock fund investment alternative in 401(k) plan.
  • Counseled Global Fortune 500 Company with 135,000 employees on wide range of health and welfare benefit plans compliance and integration issues.
  • Assisted client with the design of an early retirement window for a pension plan, drafted amendment and employee communications to implement it.
  • Defended Department of Labor audit of welfare benefit plan.
  • Defended IRS audit of public company’s defined benefit plan.
  • Counseled U.S. Fortune 50 Company with the implementation of the ACA.
  • Drafted HIPAA required notices and statements, conducted HIPAA training.
  • Drafted 403(b) plan for tax-exempt entity.
  • Counseled public company about ACA issues arising from union strike.


Bar Admissions

  • Pennsylvania


  • Emory University School of Law, J.D., Order of the Barristers
  • University of Tennessee, B.S., High Honors