American Bar Association
Employee Benefit Plans and Other Compensation Arrangements Group

ABA Section of Real Property, Trust & Estate Law

Employee Benefit Plans and Other Compensation Arrangements Group

Who We Are


Employee benefits and compensation are critical components of the economic wealth, well-being and welfare of employees and their families. Concurrently, compensation and benefit matters also play a vital role in the ability of businesses to recruit, retain and motivate employees, to structure and execute real estate and other common business transactions and create legal risks for businesses and others involved in employee benefit plan sponsorship and administration. This group focuses on all aspects of employee benefit plans and other compensation arrangements, including issues relating to qualified plans, medical and other welfare plans and nonqualified deferred compensation plans, the fiduciary responsibilities of plan trustees, plan administrators and other plan fiduciaries, plan administration, plan transactions, plan terminations, and litigation involving this area of practice.

On November 4, 2011, the Group became a Diversity Award Recipient when it was presented with this award at the RPTE Section's annual meeting. The Group was recognized for its outstanding efforts to promote diversity in the RPTE Section during the 2010-2011 bar year. Our Group is honored to have received this award.

The Committees in this Group are as follows:

Subcommittees  (click [+] for listing)

 Sub Committees

Programs, Meetings and Events

Committee Events

Group Conference Calls

July 1, 2013 - August 31, 2014
Our group holds bi-monthly conference calls open to all interested members of the RPTE section, as well as special "Study Group" calls to discuss current/breaking issues of interest. The calls generally are held at 1:00 pm ET on the first Friday of every other odd month. The schedule for 2013-2014 is below. Please join us!


Inherited IRAs and Bankruptcy

July 25, 2014 - Recording not available for this call

Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Update

Non-qualified Deferred Compensation recorded on March 21, 2014

Doreen Lilienfeld, Deputy Practice Group Leader of the Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits Group at Shearman & Sterling discusses the impact of corporate governance issues on executive compensation. Stephanie Schroepfer will discuss the impact of claw-back rules on compensation programs. David P. Simonetti will discuss IRC §162(m) audits. Stephen F. Herbes discusses the IRS’s recent IRC §409A audit initiative, including recurring issues encountered by practitioners.

Audio File 6.8mb | MP3 Format]MP3

The impact of the Supreme Court Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) decision on Employee Benefit Plans and other ACA Hot Topics

Welfare Benefits Committee Call recorded on July 26, 2014

On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Windsor v. United States that found Section 3 of the DOMA to be unconstitutional. As a result, ERISA and all federal laws must now recognize a same sex marriage which is valid under state law. The decision will have far-ranging implications for employee benefit plans.

We discussed the case and explore the various implications the decision will have on various benefit plans, including pension plans, health plans and cafeteria plans. We learned about issues that may arise in the future as the full impact of the decision is realized, and what employers, employee benefits administrators and legal experts should be looking at now to make sure welfare benefit plans are following the law.

We also discussed the latest on ACA compliance issues, notably the recently released HHS regulations proposing to change how the marketplace will verify enrollee’s income status. We also learned about proposed HHS regulations that will give the states setting up their own exchanges until 2015 to begin random sampling of enrollees’ employer-insurance status.

The call was led by Elizabeth Leight, Director of Government Relations and Legal Affairs, The Society of Professional Benefit Administrators; Cindy Stamer, Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, PC; and
Bernard Kearse, The Kearse Law Firm, PC.

Fiduciary Responsibility, Administration and Litigation

Recorded on on September 13, 2013on the following topics:

  • Fiduciary governance issues created by “canned” plan documents

  • “ERISA 408(b)(2)” audits
        •       Fiduciary training - a DOL audit checklist item

  • Issues related to delinquent contributions

The call was led by: Lisa Van Fleet, Bryan Cave, LLP; Chuck Thulin, Ekman, Bohrer & Thulin, P.S.; and Lori Oliphant, Winstead, PC. A recording of the conference call is found below if you missed it.

The Changing Definition of Family after the Windsor Decision

The Welfare Benefit Plans Committee presented a program on “The Changing Definition of Family after the Windsor Decision” and the impact on benefit plan and related matters. This discussion provided insight on the year’s widely publicized DOMA decision, and special health care reform rules impacting who qualifies as a welfare benefit plan dependent, implications for FMLA and USERRA and the host of rules broadening the scope of relationships afforded family-style protections for employment leave and employee benefit purposes.

The call was led by: Cynthia Stamer, Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, PC and Elizabeth Leight, Director overnment Relations and Legal Affairs, Society of Professional Benefit Administrators

January 17, 2014 Welfare Plans Committee Conference Call Recording

Employee Benefit Plans & Other Compensation Arrangements Group Call

Recorded on November 15, 2013 on the following topics:

  • Recent case law that expands PBGC’s ability to effectively pursue foreign controlled group members;

  • Potential liability of private equity funds for pension liabilities of their portfolio companies;

  • IRS Rulings that permit terminating plans to pay lump sum distributions to retirees who are already in pay status;

  • Possible legislative changes affecting minimum funding requirements and PBGC premiums;

  • PBGC's proposed regulatory changes to its reportable events rules and to its premium rules; and

  • Update on other PBGC litigation, regulatory, and enforcement developments of interest.

The call was led by the Plan Transactions and Terminations Committee, chaired by John Paliga of Gordon Feinblatt LLC and vice-chaired by Christina Crockett of T. Rowe Price and Harold Ashner and Stan Hecht of Keightley & Ashner LLP.

Section Events

    New IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program and Related Procedures: Compliance Options for Foreign Assets in a Transparent World


    On June 18, 2014, the IRS announced substantial changes to its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). Taxpayers who have failed to report interests in foreign assets now have three different paths available to them to come into compliance: OVDP, streamlined filing, and delinquent FBAR/information ...

    Build-to-Suit Leases: A Construction Contract and


    The panel will discuss the construction contract component included in a build-to-suit lease. The panel will also address the parties respective interests, risks and concerns as well as their roles and responsibilities during the construction process. The panel aims to provide practical approaches to ...

    Estate Planning for Farmers & Ranchers


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LISTSERV Communication

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Talavera, Henry

Council Representative:

Spratt, James


Silver-Malyska, Tara

Committee Roster  

Modified by Adam Bielawski on September 2, 2014

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