Global Benefits & Compensation

Greenberg Traurig’s Global Benefits & Compensation (GBC) Practice services clients ranging from closely held businesses to large multinational corporations around the world. Our attorneys are involved in the design and drafting of virtually all types of qualified and non-qualified retirement plans and the different types of trusts used to fund those benefits. We also provide advice and services with respect to executive employment agreements, and equity or other forms of executive compensation, as well as life insurance, health insurance, severance pay and other forms of welfare plans for all employees. To help clients with quality control and efficiency, we have developed an extensive set of models for the various executive compensation and employee benefit programs that can be customized to each client’s needs.

Employee Benefits

Qualified Retirement Plans

  • Includes defined benefit and money purchase pension plans, 401(k) and 403(b) plans, profit sharing plans and ESOPs
  • Multi-employer plans and multiple employer plans
  • Planning with regard to program structure and design
  • Drafting of documents and amendments, trust agreements and summary plan descriptions
  • Review of agreements with record keepers, investment advisors and other service providers
  • IRS submissions of plans and amendments
  • Drafting of loan procedures and supporting documentation, QDRO procedures, investment policies, election and beneficiary designation forms, distribution election forms and tax notices, other administrative forms and other plan policies and procedures
  • Drafting of procedures to minimize fiduciary liability for self-directed individual account plans to comply with Section 404(c) of ERISA
  • Advice on other fiduciary and ERISA compliance matters
  • Plan terminations and mergers
  • Correction of administrative and document errors pursuant to IRS procedures
  • Tax planning with regard to participant distributions
  • Advice and counsel to public employee retirement plans on design, compliance, administrative and operational issues
  • Fiduciary Audit® Operational Review — a proprietary governance control system and audit process that provides plan fiduciaries the opportunity to be eligible for enhanced insurance protection (coverage for IRS monetary sanctions and the cost of IRS-mandated benefit corrections)

Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation Plans

  • Design, draft and implement non-qualified deferred compensation plans, including supplemental executive retirement plans and supplemental defined contribution plans (such as those that wrap-around and supplement qualified 401(k) plans)
  • Provide advice in connection with compliance with Internal Revenue Code 409A

Fiduciary Audit® Operational Review

  • Unique to our firm, the Fiduciary Audit® Operational Review consists of a four-part approach:
    • Completion of the Fiduciary Audit® Investigative Questionnaire
    • Review of the plan, related documents and questionnaire
    • Testing of internal control procedures by “sampling” participant information
    • Issuance of the Fiduciary Audit® Annual Report, containing the findings and recommendations for correction

Governance, Accountability and Protection

  • Assist clients in identifying and correcting problems with respect to their plans’ corporate governance structures
  • Ensure prudent documentation with respect to all plan-related processes and procedures
  • Identify and correct prohibited transactions and other ERISA violations before an audit by the IRS, DOL or PBGC
  • Assist our clients in disclosing retirement plan expenses to plan participants by conducting a rigorous “revenue recapture” audit

Split-Dollar Life Insurance Programs

  • Draft plans and supporting agreements
  • Plan compliance with split dollar regulations

Cafeteria Plans

  • Advise on structuring and implementation of cafeteria plans
  • Draft plan documentation and enrollment materials
  • Counsel clients regarding compliance with non-discrimination rules and other laws
  • Prepare, revise and/or negotiate third-party administration agreements

Welfare Benefits

  • Prepare welfare benefit plan documents and SPDs
  • Create comprehensive document(s) encompassing ERISA requirements (together with amendments such as HIPAA for privacy of health information), as well as notices required by laws such as COBRA, the Family and Medical Leave Act, USERRA and notices required for Qualified Medical Child Support Orders
  • Coordinate documents with open enrollment materials
  • Draft or review administrative service agreements and agreements with other third-party providers

Multiemployer Plans

  • Advise clients in connection with plant closings, decertifications, sales of businesses and other events that may trigger partial or complete withdrawal liability
  • Respond to demands for payments of withdrawal liabilities; represent clients in related arbitration proceedings
  • Advise clients in connection with mergers and acquisitions, including due diligence reviews
  • Serve as ERISA Counsel to multiemployer pension funds
  • Counsel trustees on their ERISA fiduciary responsibilities
  • Provide complex legal opinions on the use of pension fund assets to engage in potential prohibited transactions with regard to “social investments,” and on the use of overfunded pension plan assets to support the continued funding of underfunded welfare benefit funds
  • Supply specific services for employer trustees
  • Provide day-to-day compliance advice

Executive Compensation

  • Negotiation and drafting of executive employment agreements
  • Drafting of bonus programs
  • Design, drafting and employee communication of equity compensation plans for emerging and publicly-traded companies, including:
    • Incentive and non-qualified stock options
    • Restricted and deferred stock
    • Stock appreciation rights
    • Phantom stock
    • Stock purchase arrangements
    • Employee stock purchase plans
  • Drafting of golden parachute agreements and planning to minimize excess parachute payments
  • Employee retention agreements
  • Consulting and other independent contractor agreements

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

  • Structure corporate transactions involving ESOPs, and the special tax planning associated with ESOPs, and provide guidance on fiduciary issues that arise in these transactions
  • Connect our clients with the key strategic partners in the ESOP community for lending, ESOP consulting, valuations and investment of sale proceeds
  • Integrate ESOPs with management buy-outs
  • Position ESOP companies for a secondary sale or an eventual IPO


  • In counseling clients, we draw on the experience of our team – which includes an attorney who was a principal designer and one of the drafters of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
  • Serve as ERISA Special Counsel to multiemployer pension funds
  • Counsel multiemployer plan trustees on their ERISA fiduciary responsibilities
  • Create comprehensive document(s) encompassing all ERISA requirements for welfare benefit plans
  • Advise plan fiduciaries on their duties and responsibilities under ERISA
  • Analyze the application of ERISA’s fiduciary rules to specific plan investments
  • Draft procedures to help companies to minimize fiduciary liability for self-directed individual account plans to comply with Section 404 (c) of ERISA
  • Advise on other fiduciary and ERISA compliance matters
  • Work closely with the firm’s litigators on ERISA litigation matters

Mergers and Acquisitions

  • Drafting or reviewing of representations, warranties and covenants pertaining to benefit plans
  • Due diligence review of acquired company’s plans
  • Planning for and implementing the consolidation of benefit plans of the acquired and acquiring companies post-acquisition
  • COBRA considerations
  • The Fiduciary Audit® Operational Review, which enables plan sponsors to comply with the required representation and warranty on employee plan compliance and effectuate the closing of merger and acquisition transactions by insuring document/operational failures that are identified but not corrected

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At Greenberg Traurig, we are committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The individual attorneys at Greenberg Traurig are committed to nurturing diversity throughout the firm and creating an environment where differences are embraced and utilized creatively.

For us, diversity is about taking action - opening doors for lawyers.

That commitment is reflected by the fact that overall, 40 percent of Greenberg Traurig's attorneys worldwide are women or minorities as defined by the American Bar Association. As of Dec. 31, 2014, our U.S. employees, including attorneys and staff, who met the definition of minority persons reflected a total of 29 percent of our employment base. Approximately 32 percent of our U.S. attorneys and 52 percent of our U.S. employees are women.

Greenberg Traurig's commitment to diversity and inclusion goes beyond any single committee. Committees cannot nurture; they cannot mentor; they cannot create an environment where differences are embraced and utilized creatively. Committees do not lead. Our diverse attorneys however, can and do.

* We welcome and reflect the communities we represent better than any other major law firm in our markets.

* We do not simply rely on a "committee" to achieve this.

* We do so through a commitment to providing a fair opportunity for each of us to reach our full potential.

* We have the personal dedication of many at Greenberg Traurig who identify and bring into our firm this very special diversity.

* The Minority Law Journal 2014 Diversity Scorecard has recognized us as follows:
o No. 1 Ranking, African American Partners
o No. 1 Ranking, Hispanic American Non-Partners
o No. 2 Ranking, Hispanic American Partners

* The National Law Journal has previously recognized our attorneys as among:
o No. 2 Ranking, Female Partner Numbers, Female Scorecard (2013)
o "The 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America" (Three) (2008)
o "The 50 Most Influential Women Attorneys" (Two) (2007)
o "The 100 Most Influential Attorneys in America"
(Two diverse attorneys; three total) (2006)

Diversity in Action: Fostering Diversity in the Profession and Preserving the Pipeline

Greenberg Traurig's Diversity Leadership Community has initiatives that focus on fostering an environment within the firm that supports and encourages diversity and inclusion, and increasing diversity in the profession by increasing access to a legal education for minority students. Helping today's law students and lawyers become tomorrow's business and legal leaders means a larger, more diverse marketplace and a greater pool of talented professionals. And that means more business opportunities for everyone - our firm, our colleagues and, most importantly, our clients.
In this way, our approach to diversity and inclusion mandates a high-level of personal responsibility with regard to the recruitment and retention of diverse attorneys. Attorneys in recruiting, hiring and supervisory roles are continuously made aware of the progress of our efforts. Our personal approach to diversity and inclusion means that Greenberg Traurig lawyers are active at their alma maters and at law schools local to their offices, participating in such programs as career panels; "Meet the Employer" days; and mock interviews, among others.

It has been, and continues to be, our goal to create a well-balanced workforce that contains a significant presence of minorities and women.

Greenberg Traurig creates and supports partner programs with women, minority, gay/lesbian or disability-focused bar associations. We attend and sponsor events at these organizations regularly throughout the United States. The firm works closely with national and local minority bars to address the fostering of diversity and inclusion in the profession on many levels. We support the work of several organizations, including MCCA, NAPABA, NASABA, NBA, NLGBTBA, HRC, HNBA and others.

Additionally, we provide funding through the Holly Skolnick Greenberg Traurig Fellowship Foundation for lawyers and law students to work with public interest groups. Through the Foundation, Greenberg Traurig serves as the largest sponsor of Equal Justice Works Fellowships in the United States and has invested approximately $8 million to support, in whole or in part, almost 127 Equal Justice Works Fellows since 1999.

We invite clients to join us as we work towards:

* Cultivating strategic partnerships with clients and potential clients to leverage our diversity platform to create and deepen relationships and cultivate business opportunities.

* Encouraging our lawyers to facilitate opportunities for our diverse and women lawyers to develop relationships with clients before and after new matters are received.

* Broadening the pipeline of diverse attorneys by expanding relationships with minority bar associations and other legal diversity organizations through our combined support of these networks.

* Focusing on strengthening mentoring programs for female and diverse attorneys at every level.

* Instituting a program that provides a variety of mentoring, rainmaking and training opportunities that can be accessed by a wide range of diverse attorneys across a variety of underserved communities.

* Engaging our Affinity Groups and their allies as a forum for professional development and business development opportunities, as well as for recruiting and retention assistance and as a social exchange to promote inclusion.

Diversity in Action: Employee Resource Networks

Greenberg Traurig's Employee Resource Networks (Affinity Groups) have the goal of addressing the needs of our attorneys and professionals who are diverse. We support Affinity Groups for our attorneys who are African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, LGBT and women, and we continue to gauge opportunities to expand those groups as our needs and demographics dictate.

The firm's Affinity Groups are as follows:

* African American Affinity Group

* Asian Pacific American Affinity Group

* Hispanic American Affinity Group

* Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Affinity Group

* South Asian American Affinity Group

* Women's Initiative

Our goals include:

* Mentoring of junior attorneys within the specific group;

* Recruitment and retention of diverse attorneys;

* Active participation in organizations addressing specific groups; and

* Serving as a forum for group members to discuss and explore issues and opportunities that will add value to client relationships.

Women's Initiative

As an example of our approach, Greenberg Traurig's firm-wide Women's Initiative focuses on retaining and supporting women attorneys through professional development and work/life balance initiatives, as well as through business development training programs and networking opportunities.

We work with like-minded organizations to address these issues on a broader scale in a variety of industries and communities.

Our program targets:

* Attracting and retaining talented women attorneys.

* Supporting business development for women attorneys.

* Serving as industry leaders.

* Impacting the community through leadership and service.

* Maintaining a culture that benefits women attorneys.

Diversity in Action: Suppliers

Greenberg Traurig is committed to the development of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises and Small Business Enterprises (DBE & SBE) suppliers.

As such:

* All business concerns, large and small, majority- or minority-owned, are afforded an equal opportunity to compete.

* A national director of procurement within the firm supports this practice.

* We are committed to diversity with respect to our vendors and suppliers.

* We are amenable to using diverse vendors and suppliers recommended by clients.

Diversity from the Top Down

Cesar L. Alvarez, Co-Chair of Greenberg Traurig, leads our diversity efforts. This is a matter of personal responsibility for him, having entered the U.S. as an immigrant with humble beginnings.

He has previously been honored as follows:

* "Lifetime Achievement Award," Hispanic National Bar Foundation

* "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America," The National Law Journal

* "50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America," The National Law Journal

* "Top Most Powerful Hispanics," The Black Book of Poder

* "25 Best Latinos in Business," Hispanic Magazine, The Power Issue

* "President's Award of Merit for Diversity Efforts," The Florida Bar

* "Spirit of Excellence Award," ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession

* "Lifetime Achievement Award," Chambers USA Awards for Excellence

* "CEO of the Year" award, Multicultural Law Magazine

* "Attorney of the Year Award," Hispanic National Bar Association


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