think and code's Compensation Planning Advisory Board is comprised of esteemed professionals from renowned corporations, universities, and government entities. Below is a listing of our current board members.
Robert L. Abramowitz
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Robert L. Abramowitz counsels clients on employee benefit matters, including fiduciary requirements under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), qualified pension and profit-sharing plans, and executive compensation issues. Bob also advises on matters related to flexible compensation programs, health and welfare plans, retiree health plans, and managed healthcare programs. He has experience representing clients in proceedings before the US Internal Revenue Service, US Department of Labor, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
Rosina B. Barker
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Rosina B. Barker counsels clients on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), tax, and securities law aspects of employee benefits and executive compensation plans. Her practice ranges from sophisticated defined benefit pension plan matters to complex executive compensation issues.
Alden Bianchi (Chair)
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Alden Bianchi is the Practice Group Leader of Mintz Levin’s Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Practice. He advises corporate, not-for-profit, governmental, and individual clients on a broad range of executive compensation and employee benefits issues, including qualified and nonqualified retirement plans, stock and stock-based compensation arrangements, ERISA fiduciary and prohibited transaction issues, benefit-related aspects of mergers and acquisitions, and health and welfare plans.
Alden is nationally renowned for his advice on the Affordable Care Act's impact on employers. He represented the Romney administration in connection with the historic 2006 Massachusetts health care reform act, which laid the foundation for the "Affordable Care Act." He has testified before the Senate Finance Committee on the subject of health care reform. His many published works include the think and code Health Care Reform Advisor, a comprehensive analysis of the impact of the Affordable Care Act on employers and employer-sponsored group health plans, individuals, and insurers. Alden also provides a weekly installment on the Affordable Care Act on Mintz Levin's Employment Matters Blog.
Former Assistant Secretary for Employee Benefits Security of the U.S. Department of Labor
Phyllis C. Borzi was confirmed on July 10, 2009 as Assistant Secretary of Labor of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). EBSA oversees nearly 708,000 private-sector retirement plans, approximately 2.8 million health plans, and a similar number of other welfare benefit plans that provide benefits to approximately 150 million Americans. As agency head, she oversaw the administration, regulation, and enforcement of Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
Previously, Ms. Borzi was a research professor in the Department of Health Policy at the George Washington University Medical Center’s School of Public Health and Health Services. In that position, she was involved in research and policy analysis involving employee benefit plans, the uninsured, managed care, and legal barriers to the development of health information technology. In addition, she was of counsel with the Washington, D.C. law firm of O’Donoghue & O’Donoghue LLP, specializing in ERISA and other legal issues affecting employee benefit plans, including pensions and retirement savings, health plans, and discrimination based on age or disability.
David A. Cohen
Newport Trust Company
A Shareholder at Winstead PC, Greta Cowart is known for fixing complex employee benefit plan issues, involving pension plan and 401(k) plan issues, as well as issues under COBRA, HIPAA and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (health reform) issues. She has secured significant results in Internal Revenue Service employee plans team audits, U.S. Department of Labor audits of employee benefit plans, including service provider audits and in resolving issues with the Department of Health and Human Services' Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Greta has advised employers through derisking pension, retiree medical, disability and retiree life benefits to help reduce financial statement fluctuations caused by such benefits.
Practicing for 30 years, Greta has worked extensively with employers with collectively bargained work forces teamed with labor attorneys to resolve benefits issues under collective bargaining agreements, and for collectively bargained plans delt with the interaction between labor laws and ERISA. Greta has resolved significant employee benefit compliance issues through the various voluntary compliance programs. Through her work as a former chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association, Section of Taxation, she worked with the technical provisions governing retirement plans and executive compensation. Greta has also worked extensively with Code section 409A and the regulations under such section governing nonqualified deferred compensation, and other employee benefits issues in depth and provided recommendations to the government for its use in rule making.
Greta's extensive knowledge of employee benefits and executive compensation provides her with the background to assist corporations quickly with plan design and administration issues, including litigation of benefit disputes.
Thomas M. Cryan Jr.
Littler Mendelson P.C.
Thomas M. Cryan, Jr., concentrates his practice on various tax matters, including: executive compensation, fringe benefits, and employment tax areas.
He counsels clients regarding tax audits as well as drafting and amending fringe benefit policies and compensation plans. Tom also assists clients in structuring compensation arrangements to comply with Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). He has experience in the application of Code section 3121 (FICA), the deduction rules under Code Section 274 and the golden parachute provisions under Code section 280G.
Tom’s experience encompasses employee benefits and information reporting, in particular, dealing with the income and employment tax treatment of settlement payments, use of corporate aircraft, statutory fringe benefits, nonqualified deferred compensation, travel benefits, wellness programs and employer obligations under the Affordable Care Act. In addition, he has assisted clients with the state tax implications of mobile workforces. Tom has also represented clients before the IRS and the U.S. Department of Treasury in connection with policy initiatives.
Tom is positioned to work closely with employers to resolve complex payroll and information reporting issues. He works with employer’s tax, benefits, payroll, and legal departments to resolve executive compensation and employment tax issues in the most practical and cost effective manner.
Tom is an accomplished public speaker and regularly presents at professional organizations such as the Tax Executive Institute, American Bar Association, and American Benefits Council.
Miller & Chevalier Chartered
Elizabeth Drake practices in the area of employee benefits and executive compensation, with a focus on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and tax requirements applicable retirement plans and non-qualified arrangements, health and welfare benefits, and fringe benefit programs. In recent years, Ms. Drake’s practice has focused on counseling and advocacy work on behalf of U.S. Fortune 500 companies on complex and sensitive matters involving their defined benefit pension and 401(k) plans. A large portion of her practice involves assisting Fortune 150 companies with pension plan de-risking activities, including the settlement of pension plan liabilities through lump-sum window programs and pension plan terminations and annuity placements. She has also assisted clients in compliance with regulatory and fiduciary obligations and sensitive employee communications when negotiating vendor agreements.
Her understanding of the legal requirements and day-to-day administrative issues make her uniquely able to guide clients through the challenges presented by ever-evolving legal requirements and complex administrative issues.
Ms. Drake advises her clients on complex and sensitive matters, such as preparing defined benefit pension plan amendments and the related ERISA section 204(h) notices (much like the communication that plaintiffs took issue with in the Cigna v. Amara case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court) as companies take steps to wind down their pension plans. She assists clients in the implementation of Roth contribution features to their 401(k) plans and the complex tax and employee communication issues associated with those features. Ms. Drake also represents clients before the IRS National Office in connection with technical advice proceedings, letter ruling requests and closing agreements. She also assists clients in securing closing agreements with the IRS under the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS).
Before joining Miller & Chevalier, Ms. Drake practiced as an associate in the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation group at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in Washington, DC. Prior to her time at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, she worked at an actuarial and benefits consulting firm in Pittsburgh, PA.
Sharon F. Fountain
Sharon F. Fountain is the Managing Editor for Compensation Planning at the Tax & Accounting division. She specializes in analysis and compliance strategies for executive compensation, ERISA, the Affordable Care Act, tax-qualified and nonqualfied retirement plans and other employee benefit plans, and employment taxes.
Carlos Gonzalez is the president of BenefitsPuertoRico.com LLC. He has over twenty years’ experience as a tax, employee benefits, and executive compensation attorney both in Puerto Rico and the United States, and was previously The Home Depot’s in-house counsel for tax, benefits & compensation at the company’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.
During his many years in the industry, Carlos has actively dealt with a wide array of issues regarding the evaluation, implementation, operation, and termination of comp & benefit programs, including the qualification of retirement plans with the Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury (Hacienda) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), ERISA fiduciary compliance, governmental audits, cost control strategies, risk management analysis, vendor selection and monitoring, participant enrollment and dependent eligibility audits, Puerto Rico and United States taxation of retirement income and other benefits, transfers of assets and liabilities from United States plans to Puerto Rico plans pursuant to Rev. Rul. 2008-40, COBRA administration, officer pay, equity-based compensation arrangements, and international benefits.
Carlos has published numerous articles on the subject of employee benefits in Puerto Rico on several of the main United States benefits journals, including the Benefits Law Journal, think and code Compensation Planning Journal, think and code Tax & Accounting Insights & Commentaries, Journal of Pension Benefits, and the ASPPA Journal. Carlos currently serves as a Special Consultant on Puerto Rico benefits matters to think and code’s Tax Management.
Between 2003 and 2004, Carlos served as an adviser to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS on their 2004 Puerto Rico Plans Initiative. Between 2010 and 2011, Carlos assisted Hacienda with the evaluation and drafting the retirement plan sections of the Puerto Rico Internal Revenue Code of 2011 (PRIRC). And since 2011, Carlos has assisted Hacienda with the drafting of the enacting regulations under the PRIRC. Carlos has also served as an adjunct professor of employee benefits and executive compensation at the University of Puerto Rico Law School.
Epstein Becker & Green P.C.
Gretchen Harders is a Member of the firm in the Employee Benefits practice, in the firm's New York office.
Ms. Harders' practice focuses on all aspects of executive compensation and employee benefits law. Ms. Harders counsels a broad range of clients on executive compensation and employee benefit issues, tax-qualified and non-qualified plans, 401(k) plans, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, deferred compensation, executive incentive compensation plans, executive employment and severance agreements, Section 409A compliance, equity-based compensation plans, multiemployer plans and health and welfare plans, and trusts.
Daniel L. Hogans
Groom Law Group
Daniel Hogans advises clients on a wide range of employee benefits and executive compensation matters. Dan has comprehensive experience advising clients on IRC Section 409A rules and other executive compensation requirements including IRC Sections 83, 162(m), and 280G. Dan also works extensively with Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs).
Dan’s practice focuses on implementation and operation of equity and incentive compensation plans, employment arrangements, implementation, operation and maintenance of ESOPs, nonqualified deferred compensation plans, ERISA-related issues, qualified retirement plans, and pension and profit-sharing plans.
From 2003 to 2007, Dan was an Attorney Adviser in the Office of Benefits Tax Counsel at the Department of the Treasury. In that role, he served as an adviser to senior officials and congressional staff on employee benefits and executive compensation matters. Dan also served as the leading Treasury Department representative on the development of regulations under IRC Section 409A, and was involved in the development of regulations and other guidance affecting ESOPs generally, and S Corporation ESOPs in particular.
Dan is a frequent speaker on employee benefits matters at national conferences and is frequently quoted in national publications.
Kathryn J. Kennedy
The John Marshall Law School
Kathryn Kennedy joined The John Marshall Law School as a full-time faculty member after years of private practice. She had practiced with the law firm of McDermott, Will & Emery in Chicago and was an actuary with the actuarial consulting firm of Towers Perrin.
She became a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in 1976, two years after her graduation. Due to her combined legal and actuarial background, she offers the law school a unique perspective in the area of employee benefits law. In 1998, she led the school's efforts to offer an LL.M. in Employee Benefits, the only one of its kind still in the nation. In 2005, the school expanded its offerings with a M.S. in Employee Benefits for non-attorney professionals. In 2006, she published a textbook, entitled Employee Benefits Law: Qualification and ERISA Requirements, which was updated by a third edition in 2017.
Dean Kennedy was recognized as 2009 ASPPA's Educator of the Year. She was inducted as a Fellow of The American College of Employee Benefits Counsel (ACEBC) in 2009 and now serves on its Board of Governors.
Dean Kennedy has chaired the Center for Tax Law & Employee Benefits since 2001. She served on the IRS's Advisory Council for Tax Exempt/Government Entities (known as the ACT) from 2009-2012 and on the U.S. Department of Labor's ERISA Advisory Council from 2005-2008. She is an active member of the Advisory Boards of the Practicing Law Company, Compensation Planning, and Drake University's Actuarial Science Program. She has testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on several occasions and has proposed legislation in the area of executive deferred compensation plans. She is now the Chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the ABA Section of Taxation, after serving as vice-chair of the committee for four years and as the chair of the Distributions Subcommittee.
Dean Kennedy is the primary faculty adviser for The John Marshall Law Review. She served as associate dean for advanced studies and research from 2007 to 2017.
James P. Klein
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
James Klein is a senior counsel in Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP's Executive Compensation & Benefits and Tax practices. He has broad experience servicing clients in the areas of employee benefits, retirement plans, insurance and in the international taxation of compensation and benefits, from the employee and employer perspective. Mr. Klein has represented companies on U.S. and non-U.S. tax and labor issues and has worked with corporations in ensuring that their employee benefit plans comply with ERISA.
David N. Levine
Groom Law Group
David Levine advises plan sponsors, advisors, and other service providers on a wide range of employee benefits matters, from retirement and executive compensation to health and welfare plan matters.
David advises on the design and redesign of complex retirement, executive, and health and welfare plans; ongoing, day-to-day counseling of plan sponsors; in-depth compliance reviews of corporate and governmental benefit programs; products and compliance for retirement and health service providers, and representation of tax-exempt organizations with respect to issues involving corporate governance, executive compensation, and unrelated business income tax liability.
David was previously the Chair of the IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (2011-2013) and is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association and serves in a number of leadership roles in the American Bar Association Tax Section’s Employee Benefits Committee. Mr. Levine regularly speaks on plan design, fiduciary governance, and legislative issues and contributes a recurring column to NAPA Net — The Magazine. He is recognized in the Chambers USA guide for Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation.
Rachel Leiser Levy
Groom Law Group
Rachel Leiser Levy advises clients on a wide range of federal tax issues affecting health and welfare plans and retirement plans. Rachel specializes in all tax aspects of the Affordable Care Act, including the “Cadillac Tax,” employer shared responsibility, the new tax reporting requirements of the IRC Sections 6055 and 6056, and premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions.
Rachel advises employers, service providers, and trade associations on executive compensation, qualified plans and pension plan funding issues. She also works with cafeteria plans, tax nondiscrimination rules, and voluntary employees’ beneficiary associations (VEBAs).
Immediately prior to joining Groom Law Group, Rachel was Associate Benefits Tax Counsel in the Office of Tax Policy at the Department of the Treasury. As Associate Benefits Tax Counsel, Rachel helped develop tax policies and guidance related to the taxation of employee benefits with a primary focus on implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Her work included guidance on the employer mandate, the premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, and IRC Sections 6055 and 6056. She also advised the Office of General Counsel and the Department of Justice on a range of litigation related to the ACA.
Previously, as Legislation Counsel at the Joint Committee on Taxation, Rachel assisted in the development and drafting of numerous pieces of legislation including the ACA, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, and the Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008.
Anne E. Moran
Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown Law
Ms. Moran was a partner with Steptoe & Johnson, LLP, where she advised clients on executive compensation, retirement and benefits issues prior to her retirement. She is currently an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University School of Law where she teaches retirement, health, and fringe benefit law. She also teaches a course on retirement planning for Fairfax County.
Prior to her 17-year tenure with Steptoe & Johnson, Ms. Moran was on the ERISA Advisory Council at the U.S. Department of Labor, Tax Counsel to the Senate Finance Committee, and Clerk with the Honorable Judge P. Nichols in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. She also served as the Chair of the Joint Committee on Employee Benefits of the American Bar Association.
Helen H. Morrison
Ernst & Young (National Office)
Helen Morrison is a Principal in the National Tax Department of Ernst & Young LLP. As a member of the Compensation and Benefits practice, Helen assists clients in addressing compliance and management of health care reform, executive compensation and other key employee benefits tax-related matters.
Prior to joining Ernst & Young, Helen served from 2007 – 2012 as the Deputy Benefits Tax Counsel in the Office of Benefits Tax Counsel for the Department of the Treasury. She played a lead role in the Administration’s tax-related initiatives on health care reform and the Treasury Department’s implementation of these provisions enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act. She also served as a senior Treasury advisor on executive compensation matters including the section 409A deferred compensation rules, section 457A rules on deferred compensation for companies in “tax indifferent” jurisdictions, and other tax-related compensation matters.
Alan A. Nadel
Strategic Apex Group
Alan has 35 years experience serving a diverse range of clients, advising on matters relating to executive and board of directors' compensation, employee benefits, retirement and savings programs, and income and estate planning. He advises clients on the strategic, financial, accounting, and tax considerations of these programs.
Prior to co-founding Strategic Apex, Alan was a partner in two major accounting firms and was a principal with an actuarial and benefits consulting firm. This included 19 years at Arthur Andersen LLP where he established Andersen’s compensation and benefits consulting practice and served as Managing Partner - Human Capital. Previously Alan was with the Internal Revenue Service.
Alan is the author of Accounting for Equity Compensation, and was a co-author of the Employee Benefits Handbook, The Stock Options Book, and executive compensation In ESOP Companies. He has lectured on Executive Compensation at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business and at the LL.M. program of the New York University School of Law. Alan is a frequent speaker before professional and industry groups.
Skadden, Arps Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Regina Olshan is the global head of Skadden’s Executive Compensation and Benefits Group. Her practice focuses on advising companies, executives, and boards on navigating the regulatory complexities of executive compensation and benefits.
Thomas G. Schendt
Alston & Bird, LLP
Tom Schendt is a partner in the firm’s Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group. His practice focuses on qualified plan compliance and matters before U.S. Federal agencies, including the IRS, Department of Labor, PBGC, and others. Tom handles audits, civil and criminal investigations, voluntary compliance initiatives, and a variety of other matters before the agencies.
Before joining the firm, Tom was employed by the IRS as technical assistant to the associate chief counsel, Employee Benefits and Exempt Organizations (EBEO) for the Office of Chief Counsel. He currently serves as chair of the IRS Liaison Group for the Mid-Atlantic Region and as chair of the Department of Labor’s National Conference.
Tom is a frequent speaker on the topic of employee benefits. He has spoken to a variety of groups, including SPARK, ASPPA, ALI-ABA, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, Tax Management Institute, Institute for Applied Management and Law, and many others. Since 2006, Tom has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America©. Tom is recognized in Chambers USA 2015 and 2016 as a leading lawyer in Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation.
Susan P. Serota
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
Susan Serota leads Pillsbury's Executive Compensation & Benefits practice and is a member of the firm's ERISA Litigation team. Ms. Serota has experience in all areas of pensions, employee benefits, executive compensation and stock options. She has significant experience in the compensation of senior executives, fiduciary matters relating to ERISA, international benefits, employee benefit aspects of cross-border mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, welfare plans, ERISA fiduciary litigation, and securities law matters. She is also an advisor to both foreign and domestic governmental entities regarding pensions, deferred compensation, and privatizing certain pension/social security/invalidity payment systems.
From August 2006-07, Ms. Serota was the Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Taxation, the nation’s largest organization of tax lawyers. She is the past Chair of the ABA Tax Section’s Employee Benefits Committee and is a member of the Executive Compensation subcommittee of the Federal Regulation of Securities Committee of the ABA Section of Business Law where she has actively participated in issues relating to proxy disclosure of executive compensation.
Ms. Serota was appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury to serve on the IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Ms. Serota is also a director and the treasurer of the American Tax Policy Institute and a member of the Securities Law Committee of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals.
Ms. Serota received her A.B. from the University of Michigan and J.D. from New York University School of Law.
She is the Co-Editor of the think and code treatise ERISA Fiduciary Law.
Mark L. Stember
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
Mark Stember concentrates his practice on counseling clients on the tax and related aspects of health and welfare benefits, flexible compensation, fringe benefits, executive compensation, and qualified retirement plans. Mr. Stember has counseled both private and public clients regarding health and welfare plans, cafeteria plans, fringe benefit plans, such as adoption assistance and tuition reimbursement, nonqualified deferred compensation plans, executive split dollar life insurance plans, and section 401(k) and pension plans.
Tawshunsky Law Firm PLLC
Alan Tawshunsky is one of the leading employee benefits attorneys in the country. His experience includes a decade at prominent law firms in Washington, DC and 20 years of experience in senior positions at the Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department. During that time, he supervised the employee benefits lawyers in the National Office of IRS Chief Counsel and played a leading role in the preparation of regulations and other IRS and Treasury guidance on all aspects of employee benefits.
Marina Vishnepolskaya, Esq., P.C.
Marina Vishnepolskaya is a tax attorney and principal of Marina Vishnepolskaya, Esq., P.C. specializing in domestic and cross–border executive compensation, employee benefits and exempt organization matters. Marina recently was selected to serve on the distinguished Compensation Planning Advisory Board, “the industry’s top source for thought leadership” in ERISA, executive compensation and employee benefits law. The Advisory Board oversees publication of the Compensation Planning Journal, to which Marina is a contributor.
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