Leslie A. Klein: Lawyer with Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Leslie A. Klein

Chicago,  IL  U.S.A.

Peer Rating
AV® Preeminent

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Practice Areas

  • Global Benefits & Compensation
  • ERISA Litigation
  • Tax
Contact InfoTelephone: 312.456.8400
Fax: 312.456.8435
University University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S., Accountancy, 1977
Law SchoolChicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, J.D., 1980
Admitted1980, Illinois; Arizona

Professional & Community Involvement

•Adjunct Professor, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology
•fellow, American College of Employee Benefits Counsel
•Member, American Bar Association, Taxation Section
•Co-Chair, IRS/ASPPA Great Lakes Benefits Conference, 1996-2007
•Former Chair, Chicago Bar Association, Employee Benefits Committee
•Former Member, Board of Directors, American Society of Pension Actuaries (ASPA)
•Former President and Founder, ASPA Benefits Council of Chicago

BornNew York, N.Y., August 2, 1955

Leslie A. Klein has more than 30 years of experience advising publicly held companies, privately held companies, not-for-profit corporations, fiduciaries and executives in all aspects of employee benefits and executive compensation. He is recognized as a fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel for having made significant contributions to the advancement of the field of employee benefits. Les regularly counsels clients in connection with pension, profit sharing, cash balance, 401(k), 403(b), 457, employee stock ownership (ESOP), supplemental executive retirement (SERP), deferred compensation and welfare benefit plans and frequently represents plan sponsors and fiduciaries before the Internal Revenue Service, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and U.S. Department of Labor. Les advises companies and senior executives in connection with stock options, phantom stock, stock appreciation rights, annual bonus, long-term incentives, restricted stock, employment agreements, parachute agreements, retention agreements and severance agreements.

Les also advises clients regarding ERISA's fiduciary responsibility rules and the Internal Revenue Code's prohibited transaction excise taxes. From 1980 to 1984, Les was a trial attorney in the Chicago office of the District Counsel of the IRS where he was responsible for several prohibited transaction excise tax cases. Les represented the Commissioner of the IRS before the U.S. Tax Court in a case in which the IRS asserted prohibited transaction excise taxes against the Central Conference of Teamsters as a result of the sale of its airplane to its pension fund. As the attorney in charge of that and other prohibited transaction cases, Les regularly consulted with and advised senior staff of the Department of Labor and the IRS. Les has continued to counsel clients, including sponsors of plans, plan committees, institutional and individual trustees, and investment funds regarding the prohibited transaction excise taxes and ERISA fiduciary rules, DOL and IRS investigations, and employee benefits litigation.

Prior to joining the firm, Les was a partner in the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP where he practiced for 22 years.

Areas of Concentration

•Design and provide advice on tax, ERISA and securities laws relating to:
•Tax qualified retirement plans
•Nonqualified retirement plans
•Executive compensation arrangements
•Senior executive employment agreements
•Senior executive parachute agreements
•Senior executive retention and severance agreements
•DOL and IRS voluntary compliance programs
•DOL, IRS and PBGC employee plan audits
•ERISA fiduciary and prohibited transaction rules
•ERISA litigation

Articles, Publications, & Lectures

Les is the author of several articles involving the IRS' voluntary compliance programs, nonqualified deferred compensation, executive compensation, employee stock ownership plans and post-retirement medical benefits.

•Speaker, The New World of Nonqualified Deferred Compensation and Equity Incentives, Western Pension & Benefits Conference, Phoenix Annual Spring Conference 2010, Phoenix, AZ, April 22, 2010
•Speaker, IRS Audit/Critical Priorities Update, 2009 Great Lakes Benefits Conference, Chicago, IL, April 20 - 21, 2009

Associated News & Events

Press Releases

06.08.15 100-Plus Greenberg Traurig Attorneys Recommended in The Legal 500 United States 2015 Guide to Outstanding Lawyers
06.03.15 Fourteen Greenberg Traurig Chicago Attorneys and Five Practices Recognized in 2015 Chambers USA Guide
05.22.15 Greenberg Traurig Attorneys, Practices Included in the 2015 Chambers USA Guide
01.13.15 63 Greenberg Traurig Chicago Attorneys Recognized by Leading Lawyers
10.09.14 Greenberg Traurig Represents Gentiva Health Services in $1.8 Billion Acquisition by Kindred Healthcare; Nationwide Integrated Care Delivery System Created
09.30.14 Greenberg Traurig Attorneys Named to Illinois 'Top Lists' by Leading Lawyers Network
09.08.14 Greenberg Traurig Labor & Employment Practice Receives Multiple Recognitions
07.15.14 Greenberg Traurig Ranked in 2014 Legal 500 United States Guide
05.30.14 Seven Arizona Greenberg Traurig Attorneys Named to 2014 Edition of the Chambers USA Guide
05.23.14 Greenberg Traurig Attorneys, Practices Included in 2014 Chambers USA Guide


01.30.14 Section 162(m): Actions that Should be Taken by March 31, 2014, and/or in this Year's Proxy to Avoid the $1, 000, 000 Deduction Limitation
03.09.12 Section 162(m): Actions That Generally Should be Taken by March 31, 2012, and/or in This Year's Proxy to Avoid the $1, 000, 000 Deduction Limitation
02.07.11 Section 162(m): Actions That Should be Taken by Publicly Held Companies Early This Year to Avoid the $1, 000, 000 Deduction Limitation
01.13.10 IRS Creates Limited Program for Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans to Correct Document Provisions that Do Not Comply with Code Section 409A
11.30.09 Revisions to Incentive Plans of Public Companies May be Required by December 31, 2009, to Avoid Section 162(m) Deduction Limitations
03.03.09 Section 162(m): Actions that Should be Taken Early this Year to Avoid the $1, 000, 000 Deduction Limitation
03.04.08 IRS Formalizes Position on Application of Section 162(m) Deduction Limitation to Incentive Compensation Payable on Involuntary Termination or Retirement
02.20.08 Section 162(m): IRS Concludes Incentive Compensation is Subject to Section 162(m) Limits if Performance Requirements Are or Could Be Waived in the Event of Involuntary Termination
09.01.07 IRS Issues Transitional Relief and Additional Guidance on Section 409A - Compliance Deadline for Many Things Remains December 31, 2007

Other Experience

•Certified Public Accountant (Also at Phoenix, Arizona Office)


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Office Information

Leslie A. Klein

77 West Wacker Drive, Suite 3100
ChicagoIL 60601


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