Employee Benefits/ERISA

We make compliance simple, designing employee benefit plans that give our clients a competitive edge while keeping them in step with the law.

Our approach

Employee benefits have been revolutionized.

Health Care Reform, the demise of DOMA and an aging workforce all contribute to the new landscape. While potentially overwhelming for employers, these changes also present new opportunities to attract and retain talented workers.

We approach employee benefits with a real-world, business savvy outlook.

Having spent time “in the trenches” as HR, governmental, general counsel and CPA professionals, we know the ins and outs of the laws and regulations governing employee benefits, which means we go beyond legal advice to provide strategic counsel on how your benefits programs can align with your overall business objectives.

Employee benefits touch many areas of your business—your employees’ health and future, your financial stability, tax obligations and your ability to compete in the market.

Our team is built around specific areas of practice, which allows us to identify the nuanced issues that can bring your benefits plans to the next level.

We see the whole picture and are committed to designing plans that will carry you safely and successfully into the future.

Who we work with

  • Employers to design and implement retirement, health and welfare and other benefit plans
  • Fiduciaries on the special rules that govern their conduct
  • Public and private for-profit corporations of all shapes and sizes
  • Universities, hospitals, arts institutions and other tax exempt organizations to structure retirement and deferred compensation plans that comply with the special rules of Sections 403(b) and 457 of the Internal Revenue Code
  • Banks, investment advisers and other financial institutions on compliance issues that arise in investment management and trust and custody services to employee benefit plans
  • Third-party administrators and insurance brokerages seeking a competitive edge in developing innovative benefits services
  • Multiemployer and Taft-Hartley fund administrators and boards of trustees on the administration of their plans

Ask the experts

Employee Benefits Plan Review | July 27, 2021

Chicago partner Yelena Gray, Washington, D.C. partner Damian Myers, and Rochester associate Lena Gionnnette, all with the Corporate group and Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation team, contributed this column addressing various questions about health benefit coverage, including parity requirements for mental health and medical benefits, in addition to the application of continuing “COBRA” benefits for former employees.

New law requires health plans to demonstrate compliance with parity requirements between mental health and medical benefits

Employee Benefit Plan Review | June 10, 2021

Chicago partner Yelena Gray, Washington DC partner Damian Myers, and Rochester associate Lena Gionnette, all of the Corporate group, contributed this article analyzing the new federal laws requiring employer-sponsored group health plans to prove that their plans satisfy all aspects of the parity regulations between mental health and medical benefits.

Business groups press to reinstate a ‘search for work’ requirement in return for jobless benefits

The Boston Globe | May 18, 2021

Providence Labor & Employment senior counsel Andrew Prescott is quoted in this article on the job-search requirement for people receiving unemployment benefits, noting that reinstating the requirement could help send the right message since unemployment benefits are intended to be a short-term cushion until workers find new employment.

Employers must find, tell laid-off workers of health subsidies

Bloomberg Law | April 15, 2021

This article on COBRA subsidies included in the American Rescue Plan quotes Washington, DC Corporate partner Damian Myers, of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation team, on challenges employers face—from communicating details of the subsidy to their laid-off workers to recouping money from the government that they spend on the subsidized coverage.

Stakeholders await key guidance on full COBRA subsidies

Inside Health Policy | March 26, 2021

Rochester Corporate partner Brian Kopp, of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation team, is quoted in this article on COBRA subsidies included in the newly enacted American Rescue Plan, noting potential challenges for employers. The article also links to a client alert Brian wrote with Chicago Corporate partner Yelena Gray and Washington, DC Corporate partner Damian Myers, both of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation team.

Stimulus legislation gives temporary relief under flexible spending arrangements

Journal of Compensation and Benefits | March 12, 2021

Washington, DC partner Damian Myers, Chicago partner Yelena Gray, and Rochester associate Lena Gionnette, all of the Corporate group and Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation team, contributed this article summarizing the temporary relief for flexible spending accounts in the December 2020 stimulus law, highlighting important takeaways for plan sponsors.

3 Tips on Complying with the New Mental Health Parity Law

Law360 | February 10, 2021

Chicago partner Yelena Gray and Washington, D.C. partner Damian Myers, both of the Corporate group and Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation team, are quoted throughout this article on steps employers can take to ensure they are in compliance with the mental health parity law that took effect on Wednesday.

Legislative Fixes for Union Pension Crisis Within Reach

Law360 | January 21, 2021

Rochester Corporate partner Brian Kopp, of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation team, is quoted in this article on legislation introduced Thursday that aims to solve the multibillion-dollar union pension funding crisis.

Retirement Plan Payout Updates Ripe for Lawmaker Action in 2021

Bloomberg Law | January 11, 2021

In this article on key retirement proposals that benefits advisers are watching for the new Congress, San Francisco Corporate counsel Claire Rowland, of the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation team, is quoted for her outlook on required minimum distributions relating to the excise tax, account holders with less than $100,000 saved, and raising the participation age to 75.

Devil's in the Details as Union Pension Crisis Awaits Biden

Law360 | January 03, 2021

Washington, D.C. Corporate partner-elect Damian Myers, of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation team, is quoted on how the upcoming U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia could impact negotiations related to the multiemployer pension crisis.

Number of 401(k) Funds Offered to Plan Participants Shrinks

HR News | December 01, 2020

This article on the shrinking number of funds offered to 401(k) plan participants quotes a recent Fall Employee Benefits Briefing blog post written by Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation leader and Corporate partner Eric Paley, Corporate partners Christian Hancey and Brian Kopp, and Corporate associates Lena Gionnette and Jenny Holmes, all in Rochester; and Washington, D.C. Corporate counsel Damian Myers.

401(k) Contributions a Victim of Pandemic at Some Companies

Rochester Business Journal | September 25, 2020

Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation team leader and Rochester Corporate partner Eric Paley is quoted in this article on how some companies are freezing contributions to their employees’ 401(k) contributions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

New York state mandates paid sick leave starting in 2021

Rochester Business Journal | August 21, 2020

Rochester Labor & Employment partner Stephanie Caffera contributed this column on a recently enacted New York law that requires employers across the state to provide paid sick leave to workers. The column was adapted from a prior NP alert written by Stephanie and Rochester Labor & Employment associate Michael Caputo.

5 ERISA Cases To Watch In The 2nd Half Of 2020

Law360 | July 29, 2020

San Francisco office managing partner and Corporate partner Karen Ng was quoted in this article for her outlook on the federal government’s interest in Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program, and the rise in ERISA privacy and cybersecurity lawsuits in Harmon et al. v. Shell Oil Co. et al.

New York government reaches deal on coronavirus sick-leave mandate

HR Magazine (Society for Human Resource Management) | March 18, 2020

Rochester Labor and Employment partner Kim Harding, Rochester Corporate partner Brian Kopp, and Long Island Labor and Employment associate David Tauster co-wrote this contributed article, based on their NP client alert, analyzing the new mandatory sick-leave deal in New York state.

New California law redefines who gets employment benefits. The lawsuits are just starting.

The Sacramento Bee | December 09, 2019

San Francisco labor and employment partner Bonnie Glatzer is quoted in this article about California’s Assembly Bill 5, a new law that redefines how companies classify employees and who qualifies to receive full employment benefits.

Stretch IRA limits may put damper on small biz plans

Law360 | June 20, 2019

Boston Corporate partner Tom McCord is quoted in this article discussing the stretch IRA, a popular retirement planning technique that was eliminated in a bill recently passed by the House of Representatives.

Baystate Business: Climate Change, Labor Laws

Bloomberg Radio | April 22, 2019

In this radio segment, the hosts interview Boston Labor and Employment partner Jeff Gilbreth about Massachusetts’ new family and medical leave law and how it may impact employers.

Brown reaches $3.5M deal to close book on ERISA suit

Law360 | March 12, 2019

Providence Complex Commercial Disputes partner Steve Richard and San Francisco Labor and Employment counsel Chuck Dyke are mentioned in this article for their representation of Brown University in a matter involving employee retirement savings accounts.

Employers have a lot to legally consider in starting a wellness program

Buffalo Business First | December 06, 2018

Buffalo Corporate associate Alexandra Lugo is interviewed on how companies can create employee wellness programs that benefit workers, boost the bottom line and comply with regulations.

Financial advisory firm fights NYU ERISA suit at 2nd Circuit

Law360 | December 02, 2018

New York City Complex Commercial Disputes partner Kristin Jamberdino and San Francisco Labor & Employment counsel Chuck Dyke are mentioned in this article as counsel for the financial advisory firm Cammack in a dispute regarding retirement plans for workers at New York University.


Eric Paley

Team Leader, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation


Phone: 585-263-1012

Christian D. Hancey



Phone: 585-263-1147

Brian Kopp



Phone: 585-263-1395

Thomas J. McCord



Phone: 617-345-1337

  • U.S. News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” 2020 ranked as National Tier One in: Appellate Practice, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Law, Employment Law—Management, Energy Law, Franchise Law, Health Care Law, Labor Law—Management, Litigation—Construction, Litigation—Labor & Employment, Litigation—Real Estate, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions—Defendants, Patent Law, Public Finance Law, Real Estate Law, Securities Regulation, Tax Law
  • In addition, many Nixon Peabody practices received U.S. News/Best Lawyers Tier 1 rankings at the regional level in the following geographies: Albany, NY; Boston; Buffalo; Chicago; Long Island; Los Angeles; Manchester, NH; New York City; Providence, RI; Rochester, NY; San Francisco; and Washington, DC.
  • Employment attorneys ranked as leading lawyers in their fields by Chambers USA/Global
  • Ranked by Law360 as an Employment 100 firm
  • National and metropolitan honors from publications like Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, and other directories and publications
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