Employee Benefits


Employee benefits and executive compensation packages are essential in attracting and maintaining talent for any company, regardless of size. Baker Botts’ proven experience enables our lawyers to assist clients with all legal and operational aspects of their executive compensation and employee benefit plan arrangements. Our advocacy efforts and leadership roles in various benefits-related organizations and experience with regulators allow us to give timely advice based on “real world” current issues and developments.

Clients of our Employee Benefits Practice cover the entire business spectrum, and range from small, privately held entities offering a limited number of benefit programs to large publicly-traded, multi-national employers who offer employee benefit plans and executive compensation arrangements. Our lawyers recognize and adapt to the variety of client needs based on the particular circumstances and types of benefit programs.

  • Our lawyers assist clients with the design, drafting and administration of all types of employee benefit and executive compensation arrangements, such as qualified retirement plans, health and welfare plans, change in control arrangements and nonqualified deferred compensation plans.
  • We advise clients regarding standard, innovative and nontraditional funding approaches and asset protection vehicles used in connection with such arrangements.
  • Our lawyers are well versed in the tax, accounting and securities law issues associated with maintaining stock-based or other types of equity compensation arrangements.
  • We routinely assist clients with the on-boarding and out-boarding of executives and senior level employees including the negotiation and implementation of employment agreements, covenants not to compete and severance arrangements and various arrangements used to compensate multinational and expatriate executives.
  • We assist with review and analysis of the myriad of laws that impact executive compensation and employee benefit arrangements, including, but not limited to, the Internal Revenue Code, ERISA, HIPAA, health care reform, and federal labor, corporate and securities laws .
  • Our areas of experience include assisting clients with correction of plan errors under voluntary correction programs and representing clients before the U.S. Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and other federal and state governmental agencies.

Our Executive Compensation Practice includes broad experience with corporate transactions and related executive compensation and employee benefit issues:

  • Our lawyers are well versed in analyzing the implications of severance, change in control and 280G excise tax gross up arrangements for both the acquired company and the acquiring company in connection with a corporate transaction.
  • We have experience in the employee benefits and executive compensation integration aspects of corporate transactions, including the tax, securities, accounting and corporate law issues surrounding such transactions.
  • Our lawyers routinely assist clients in addressing the 409A issues that arise in connection with corporate transactions, including developing or modifying arrangements to minimize any negative tax implications.

We have broad experience in the fiduciary aspects of maintaining employee benefit plans. Our lawyers have represented employers and other fiduciaries in benefits claims litigation, benefit entitlement claims, fiduciary breach allegations, and defending employers and plans in disputes over entitlement to plan assets (including annuity purchase and plan termination issues).

In addition, we represent financial institutions and individuals in their capacities as trustees, plan administrators or other ERISA fiduciaries and joint boards of trustees of multiemployer employee benefit plans.