Benefit programs are subject to increasingly complex legal requirements imposed by both federal, state and local law.  Our attorneys have broad experience with all laws affecting benefit programs, including:

  • The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA)
  • The Internal Revenue Code
  • Federal and state securities laws
  • Relevant state insurance laws

The attorneys in our employee benefits and executive compensation group have represented clients before federal regulatory agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and in both federal and state courts. 

Vorys has experienced professionals in all areas of employee benefits, including:

  • Qualified and non-qualified retirement plans
  • Health and welfare plans
  • Fringe benefits
  • Executive compensation, including cash and equity based incentive plans, employment agreements and severance benefits
  • Fiduciary responsibilities

Our attorneys work with all types of employers, including public and private companies as well as tax-exempt entities.


Our employee benefits and executive compensation practice is nationally recognized.  Most recently, we have earned accolades:

  • In the 2022 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” national practice rankings for employment law – management
  • As a “Leading Law Firm” in employee benefits & executive compensation (Ohio) by Chambers USA in the 2022 edition

Key Areas of Focus

Health and Welfare Plans

What We Do

Our attorneys help our clients develop and implement employment-based health and welfare plan benefits programs such as:

  • Medical, dental and vision plans
  • Health reimbursement arrangements
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Employee assistance plans
  • Life insurance plans
  • Short and long-term disability plans
  • Voluntary benefits
  • Severance plans
  • Wellness programs

In addition to focusing on compliance with legal requirements, such as those existing under ERISA, COBRA and HIPAA, we work with our clients on effective administration of their plans, vendor contracting, employee communications and preparation of summary plan descriptions.  We have also assisted clients with evaluating compliance with limitations under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.

We have experience with single-employer plans, multiple-employer plans and multi-employer plans and the various legal issues that affect each of these types of arrangements.

Qualified Retirement Plans

Our lawyers regularly assist our clients in designing, administering and terminating qualified retirement plans.  This area of the practice involves complex rules and regulations under both the Internal Revenue Code and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

We have experience with all types of qualified retirement plans, including:

  • Defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) and 403(b) plans
  • Traditional defined benefit pension plans
  • Cash-balance and other non-traditional defined benefit plans
  • Employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs)
  • Multi-employer Taft Hartley plans

Furthermore, our attorneys have extensive experience dealing with the regulatory agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, that regularly monitor the administration of qualified retirement plans.

Executive Compensation

What We Do

Vorys lawyers often counsel our clients on all aspects of executive compensation.  We regularly advise clients on matters such as:

  • Nonqualified deferred compensation plans (including compliance with 409A and 457)
  • Supplemental executive retirement plans
  • Stock options and other equity-based compensation programs
  • Cash based bonus programs
  • Golden parachute arrangements
  • Severance benefits
  • Employment contracts

We assist clients with the design, drafting and administration of such arrangements, and work closely with attorneys in other practice areas, including our securities attorneys, to assist our clients in attaining their goals and objectives in an efficient and effective manner. 

ERISA Litigation

We have extensive experience litigating actions involving health and welfare plans and pension plans that are subject to the Employee Retirement Income and Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). 

Who We Represent

The clients we represent in ERISA litigation have included insured and self-funded plans, plan sponsors, insurers, fiduciaries (and alleged fiduciaries) and service providers, such as accountants and administrators, who may become involved in cases involving the payment of benefits under employee benefit plans.  In addition to representing clients in single-plaintiff and class-action litigation focused on pension plans and health and welfare plans, we have also represented clients involved in litigation surrounding company stock plans.  In fact in 2022, we successfully defended a client in litigation involving a health plan before the United States Supreme Court. 

What We Do

ERISA litigation can be quite complex, but there are few issues that our attorneys have not previously experienced and handled.  This experience and knowledge – coupled with the firm’s robust employee benefits, labor and employment, litigation and health care practices – allow our attorneys to handle matters efficiently and cost effectively. 

Our attorneys have litigated a broad range of ERISA-related actions for our clients.  Our experience includes defending clients in many different benefits actions related to Section 502 of ERISA, as well as Section 510 interference cases, delinquent contribution cases, and cases asserting breaches of fiduciary duties – among others.  For years, our attorneys also have been on the cutting edge of ERISA subrogation and reimbursement litigation, in working to secure recoveries for health and welfare plans. 

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