common sense solutions

Benefits & Compensation


Our group was formed by forward-thinking lawyers in 1974 shortly after ERISA was signed, and we drafted some of the first tax-qualified profit sharing 401(k) plans in the country. Today, that includes health and welfare plans, executive compensation, and traditional tax-qualified retirement and pension plans (401(k), ESOPs, pension). We advise on benefit and compensation matters in complex corporate transactions, fiduciary issues faced by employers, and ERISA compliance. 

We take pride in our ability to look at the horizon and spot risk and identify opportunities for our clients. We also react quickly and with common sense to benefit design projects, corporate transactions, compliance issues and claims. We take the time to understand our clients’ needs and design fee solutions that make budgeting easy and predictable. 

We work as a team, because collaboration is the key to success. At Dorsey, we have immediate access to deep knowledge in health care, privacy, technology contracting, tax controversies, ERISA litigation, labor and employment law, M&A and more. Our team consists of seasoned practitioners. The depth & breadth of our benefits practitioners allows us to provide timely, thoughtful and practical issue spotting and advice. In addition, members of our practice group are active in a variety of employee benefits organizations. Through leadership and participation in these groups, we are able to gain insight into emerging issues and developments. 


Retirement Plans (401(k), ESOPs, Pension) 

  • Plan Drafting: We draft individually designed plans. 
  • Submissions to IRS: We have significant experience in submitting plans. 
  • Plan Error Correction: We regularly work with employers to address failures. 
  • Participant Communications: We draft and review participant communications. 
  • M&A and Benefit Integration: We perform due diligence, review risks, and work with employers to integrate benefits after the acquisition. 
  • MEWAs: We regularly work on issues involving multiple employer welfare arrangements, including Association Health Plans.
  • Contracting with Vendors: We have negotiated hundreds of contracts, both for and against vendors for health and welfare plans.

Health and Welfare Plans 

  • Health Plan Issues: We regularly work on complex compliance, tax and design issues related to health plans.
  • Plan Drafting: We draft welfare plans, including severance, cafeteria, and short-term disability plans. 
  • Healthcare Reform: We work with employers to assist them in aligning their plans with healthcare reform mandates. 
  • HIPAA Privacy: We assist employers with HIPAA privacy compliance including preparing policies and procedures, reviewing business associate agreements, and updating documents. 
  • Benefit Claims: We help employers review and draft responses to claims. 
  • Wellness Programs, On-Site Clinics, and EAPs: We regularly advise employers on the complex compliance and tax issues related to these types of benefits. 
  • M&A and Benefit Integration: We perform the work noted under retirement plans above. 

Executive Compensation 

  • Plan Drafting: We have worked with hundreds of employers to prepare nonqualified deferred compensation plans and equity compensation plans. This includes: 
    • Nonqualified deferred compensation plans
    • Executive and key employee change-in-control and severance agreement 
    • Long-term incentive plans
    • Stock incentive plans
  • Plan Error Correction: We assist employers with correcting errors under section 409A for nonqualified deferred compensation plans.


Best Lawyers

2022 Lawyer of the Year, Marianne O'Bara, Seattle-Employment Benefitts (ERISA) Law, Best Lawyers

US News Best Lawyers 2022 Leading Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law Firm

US News Best Lawyers 2022 Top Employment Law-Management Law Firm

US News Best Lawyers 2022 Leading ERISA Litigation Law Firm

US News Best Lawyers 2022 Leading Tax Law Firm

Over 100 Dorsey Super Lawyers 2020

American College of Trial Lawyers-3 Attorney Members 2019

BTI Client Service A-Team 2022


Michael Voves
Practice Group Chair

Industries & Practices

  • ERISA Litigation
  • Executive Compensation
  • Healthcare Transactions & Regulations
  • Labor & Employment
  • Mergers & Acquisitions