Welcome to SGR’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice

Most businesses work hard to provide their employees with the proper levels of compensation and benefits. Compensation comes in various forms, including regular wages, bonuses, incentive payments and deferred compensation. Benefits include items such as pension, medical, disability and life insurance, dependent care, health and wellness, and other plans.

Already one of SGR’s fastest-growing practices, a recent merger with law firm Mazursky Constantine has given the Firm even more bench strength

Most businesses work hard to provide their employees with the proper levels of compensation and benefits. Compensation comes in various forms, including regular wages, bonuses, incentive payments and deferred compensation. Benefits include items such as pension, medical, disability and life insurance, dependent care, health and wellness, and other plans.

While these efforts are well intended, as the saying goes, “no good deed goes unpunished.” Trying to take good care of your executives and other employees through compensation and benefit plans necessarily brings into play a vast array of federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations. Whether it be tax, ERISA fiduciary, wage and hour, or similar rules, failure to comply can result in substantial civil and sometimes criminal penalties. In addition, the wrong benefits and compensation structure can result in adverse tax consequences for your employees.

Compensation and benefits need to be structured carefully. The employer, in coordination with outside counsel, must establish policies and procedures to achieve and remain in legal compliance while ensuring that the compensation and benefits received and perceived drive the employee behavior you intend. In this issue, members of SGR’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice address various challenges and opportunities that businesses will encounter in their plans and programs.

The Story Behind the Merger

SGR’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice heads Andy Fawbush and Don Mazursky discuss how SGR’s recent alliance with boutique law firm Mazursky Constantine enhances the Firm’s client offering.

“Enhanced Bench Strength”

by Andy Fawbush

Employee benefits and executive compensation legal issues permeate virtually every practice area of a broad commercial law practice such as SGR’s. While we deal directly with employee retirement and welfare benefit plans, executive agreements and ERISA fiduciary issues, the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice often plays a vital role in the Firm’s corporate, partnership, M&A, securities, financial instruments, real estate, timber, intellectual property, investment and tax practices. The range of legal issues in this area continues to expand and become more complex.

To be efficient, effective and responsive to client questions and needs, it has become necessary to have experience and knowledge in multiple aspects of our practice. To do that you need bench strength. Our recent merger with the Mazursky Constantine law firm has added significant depth to SGR’s already strong and recognized Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice.

SGR now has one of the largest Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation practice groups in a major general commercial law firm. We have highlighted in this edition of Trust the Leaders several of the areas and issues we address on a daily basis.

“Unparalleled Practical Experience”

by Don Mazursky

After more than 26 years of maintaining a successful legal practice in a boutique firm that specialized in employee benefits and executive compensation, there have to be compelling reasons to move from that setting to SGR… and there are. After speaking with several large law firms interested in having us join, SGR was and remains the clear choice for our attorneys and clients. SGR allows us to continue to protect and further our clients’ interests. Through the combination with SGR’s existing Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice, we now provide our clients with enhanced depth in these areas. In addition, the multiple practice areas at SGR that perform superior quality legal services at reasonable fees allow us to offer assistance in matters related and unrelated to our core practice.

SGR’s existing Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice shared all of the factors that have allowed us to achieve successes for our clients. These include (i) proactive leadership; (ii) finding practical solutions in an area fraught with technicalities; (iii) superior expertise, with subspecialists in each of the benefit and compensation sub-categories (e.g., retirement, health and welfare, fiduciary matters, executive compensation, executive agreements, Section 409A, M&A, securities law, and ERISA litigation); (iv) collaboration with each other and with our clients; and (v) providing value. By combining our two groups of employee benefits and executive compensation attorneys and professionals, we now offer unparalleled practical experience in our core practice area.

Through SGR’s other practices, we have expanded the areas in which we assist our clients. We merged our law firm into SGR on February 1, 2019, and we and our clients have already experienced the positive impacts of that move. These advantages will only grow over time.