Employee Benefit Plan: The 411

Valuable Information on 401ks, Pensions, ESOPs, Form 5500 Preparation + More

ERISA Attorneys – Why Have One?

One of the key reasons to hire an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) attorney is to complete a plan document that will be in compliance with all ERISA regulations. The plan document should be reviewed every two years by your attorney for any amendments that need to be made in order to stay in compliance with current ERISA laws. An ERISA attorney will also be able to help avoid any potential fiduciary problems that may arise.

ERISA attorneys typically work for either law firms or third-party administrators (“TPA”). When deciding what type of attorney to hire it is important to keep in mind that attorneys working for TPAs are loyal to the TPA. If there is a compliance issue the focus will be correcting the problem for the TPA and not necessarily for their client. The service from an attorney working for the TPA will for the most part be ancillary. However, an attorney working at a law firm will not treat the hiring company as secondary clients.

Many employers will not use an ERISA attorney due to the additional costs. Although the cost may be more than an employer is willing to spend, ERISA attorneys will help keep the plan in compliance with the ERISA laws. An employer can save on costs by carefully researching for an attorney that will fit the size of the plan. 

Christina Dyciewski