What You Need to Know About ERISA - The 401(k) is America's Choice for Retirement Savings

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This program is one out of 12 OnDemand programs designed for those who address issues related to employee benefits and executive compensation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the federal tax laws, including attorneys in private practice, employee-benefits consultants, compensation managers and consultants, in-house counsel, human-resources personnel and providers of services to plans. This session includes a discussion of the central role that 401(k) plans have taken in the American retirement landscape and a summary of the applicable technical rules.

A group of highly respected practitioners who are leaders in the field will provide a comprehensive overview of critical ERISA basics you need to know, ranging from the rules governing tax-qualified retirement plans, to fiduciary considerations applicable to plan assets, to design and implementation of programs relating to executive compensation, to the many developments surrounding health-care reform.

This program will provide you with the opportunity to hear about the latest developments in this constantly evolving area of practice.

These courses were originally part of a live event offered in October 2015. The event was co-chaired by Andrew Gaines, Partner at Paul Weiss, and Andrew Oringer, Partner at Dechert LLP. For information on future events on this topic please contact us at ProfessionalLearning@bna.com.



Greta Cowart is known for fixing complex employee benefit plan issues, including many issues under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (health reform), and has secured significant results in Internal Revenue Service employee plans team audits and in U.S. Department of Labor audits of employee benefit plans. She has resolved significant employee benefit compliance issues through the various voluntary compliance programs. Through her work on the Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association, Section of Taxation, Ms. Cowart has worked with the technical provisions governing retirement plans and executive compensation. She has also worked extensively with Section 409A and the regulations under it governing nonqualified deferred compensation as well as other employee benefits issues in depth and provided recommendations to the government for its use in rule making. A former Chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association's Section of Taxation, Ms. Cowart’s extensive knowledge of employee benefits and executive compensation provides her with the background to assist corporations quickly with plan design and administration issues, including litigation of benefit disputes.

Ms. Cowart earned a J.D., cum laude, from Indiana University Maurer School of Law and a B.S., with high distinction, from Indiana University Kelley School of Business. She is admitted to practice in Indiana and Texas.


Len Hirsh is the Global Compliance Director for Citi’s pension and retirement plans. Mr. Hirsh is a writer and speaker on employee benefits and executive compensation topics and has taught courses at the New York University Institute on Federal Taxation. He is a member of Bloomberg BNA Tax Management’s Advisory Board on Compensation Planning, former Chairman of the Qualified Cash or Deferred Arrangements Subcommittee of the American Bar Association’s Employee Benefits Committee, a Charter Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, a contributing editor for the Journal of Pension Planning and Compliance, and a member of the Board of Editors of Law Firm Partnership and Benefits Report. Mr. Hirsh is the author of articles “New Prop. Regs. for Section 401(k) Plans Are a Comprehensive Overhaul of Existing Guidance,” for the November 2003 issue of the Journal of Taxation, and “Section 409A Final Regs. Provide Comprehensive Guidance for Post-Transition Period,” for the September 2007 issue of the Journal of Taxation. 

Mr. Hirsh earned an M.L.T. from Georgetown University Law Center, a J.D. from New York University School of Law, and a B.A. from Yeshiva University.


Serena Simons is a Senior Vice President and the National Compliance Retirement Practice Leader of The Segal Group, based in the firm’s Washington, DC office. She develops and manages the company’s retirement plan compliance services. Before joining The Segal Group, Ms. Simons was engaged in the private practice of law in Washington, DC, specializing in issues under the Internal Revenue Code and ERISA. She has more than 25 years of experience working with employee benefits and employee benefit plans.

Ms. Simons earned a J.D., with high honors, from the Duke University School of Law and a B.A. from Duke University. She is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia.