- Syracuse University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude
- Cornell University, B.A.
Eric has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2016 in the field of Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law. He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since 2012. He was named the Best Lawyers® 2014 Litigation – ERISA “Lawyer of the Year” in Rochester, NY.
Eric was selected to the Upstate New York Super Lawyers list in 2008, 2009 and 2011-2015. His primary area of practice is employment benefits law.
Eric is a member of the Monroe County Bar Association and the American Bar Association (Section of Taxation, Employee Benefits Committee).
Eric Paley is a member of the firm’s Employee Benefits team and practice group co-leader of the Labor & Employment practice group. He advises clients on how to comply with the laws governing their employee benefits programs.
What do you focus on?
Three hallmarks distinguish my practice.
Representing nonprofit organizations
I work primarily (though not exclusively) with a wide range of nonprofit organizations—hospitals/health systems, colleges/universities, iconic arts/cultural institutions, trade associations and social service agencies. Nonprofits are much different animals than for-profit companies. My appreciation for those differences coupled with my vast experience in the sector give me a unique perspective on the issues my clients are facing and allow me to be a more effective advisor.
Focusing on ERISA fiduciary compliance
Of late, I spend a significant amount of time working with clients on ERISA fiduciary compliance—helping them establish or reconstitute their retirement plan committees; advising them on whether to engage a third-party investment consultant or conduct an RFP for a new recordkeeper; and educating boards, officers and committee members on the rapidly changing legal landscape in which they operate.
Staying one step ahead
One of the things I enjoy most about working in this field is that the law is never static and the issues I face on a daily basis vary greatly. Fee disclosure. Health care reform. Same-sex marriage. The growing mountain of compliance burdens can quickly overwhelm employers. I try to keep my clients on task by focusing on practicalities and, whenever possible, bringing my sense of humor to bear on what can often be inane and unnecessarily complex rules.
What do you see on the horizon?
Those in the trenches can expect to see more legislation, more regulations and more lawsuits in the future. The lack of employee retirement readiness, in particular, is a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode.
- Speaker, “ERISA Fiduciary Governance for Nonprofits: What All Plan Sponsors Need to Know,” August 20, 2015.
- Speaker, “New Rights, New Rules: Same-sex Marriage and Your Health Plan,” Webinar, August 18, 2015
- Speaker, “Tibble v. Edison and the Changing Retirement Plan Landscape,” Webinar, July 1, 2015
- Speaker, “Employee Benefits Luncheon,” Corning, NY June 23, 2015
- Speaker, “Employee Benefits Breakfast Briefing,” Albany, NY June 9, 2015
- Speaker, “Employee Benefits Breakfast Briefing,” Jericho, NY June 5, 2015
- Speaker, “Employee Benefits Breakfast Briefing,” New York, NY June 4, 2015
- Speaker, “Retirement Plans for Nonprofits: What All Plan Sponsors Need to Know,” May 28, 2015
- Speaker, “Employee Benefits Breakfast Briefing,” Buffalo, NY May 27, 2015
- Speaker, “Employee Benefits Breakfast Briefing,” Rochester, NY May 20, 2015
- Speaker, “Top 10 Governance & Operational Issues for Your Defined Contribution Plan,” April 30, 2015
- Speaker, “Staying Ahead of the Curve: The Latest Trends Impacting the US Retirement System,” Webinar, April 23, 2015
- Speaker, “Staying Ahead of the Curve: Avoiding ERISA Litigation that Can Derail A Retirement Plan,” Webinar, April 9, 2015
- Coauthor, “Stage Set for Supreme Court to Consider ERISA Preemption of San Francisco ‘Pay or Play’ Law as Ninth Circuit Denies Rehearing En Banc,” Bender’s Labor & Employment Bulletin, April 2009
- Author, “EACA Withdrawals,” Journal of Pension Benefits, Spring 2008
- Coauthor, “Health Care Reform in the Workplace: Everything Old Is New Again,” HR West Magazine, December 2007
- Author, “Taxation of Roth Distributions,” Journal of Pension Benefits, Summer 2007
- Author, “Nonspousal IRAs,” Journal of Pension Benefits, Spring 2007