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Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has for decades represented numerous colleges and universities in the entire range of employment benefits and executive compensation, and has a deep understanding of the distinctive dynamics involving tenured members of faculty who enjoy the substantive and procedural protections of tenure policies.

The highly complex nature of retirement, welfare and executive compensation plans for tax-exempt institutions renders employee benefit plan sponsorship a challenging task for higher education institutions of any size. We are able to help employers meet these challenges by providing traditional employee benefits services, as well as innovative and practical solutions to complicated employee benefit issues. We have vast experience in executive compensation and deferred compensation plans and one-off arrangements, including the tax consequences of all such arrangements.

We understand that an effective employee benefit or executive compensation plan must encompass sound design, thoughtful planning and focus on the cost/value equation for employers and employees. A well-designed plan is a powerful tool not only in asset stewardship, but also in the recruitment and retention of valuable employees. 

With this in mind, we work closely with our higher education clients to ensure development of a plan that is cost-efficient for the employer, attractive to the employee, and compliant with all tax laws and regulations as well as the array of other laws and regulations (e.g., ERISA, OWBPA, ADEA, ACA) that may govern such plans.  Many universities now have substantial operations abroad, and as part of the Firm’s global network, we are also able to offer valuable international perspectives on employee benefits issues, and critical assistance in handling complex cross-border transactions involving employee benefit and executive compensation arrangements. 

On a daily basis we participate in the ongoing, long-term maintenance and management of our clients’ plans. We stay apprised of changing laws and important issues and provide an ongoing dialogue about best practices. From plan design and administration to litigation and corporate transactions, our attorneys handle all types of benefits and executive compensation matters for employers and the benefit plans they sponsor.

We have vast experience in retirement, health and other welfare plans, executive compensation, deferred compensation and bonus arrangements, including the tax consequences of all such arrangements. We’ve Assisted colleges and universities with all aspects of employee benefits, including the design and structure of 403(b) plans, 457 plans, tuition remission programs, health plans and other welfare benefit arrangements. Additional plans with which we have worked include early retirement incentive plans, severance plans, bonus plans and VEBAs.