Employee Benefits

36th Annual National CLE & Ski Conference

January 2-6, 2019

The Westin Snowmass Resort, 100 Elbert Lane, Snowmass Village, CO 


Program Agenda: Employee Benefits


Program Co-Chairs:


Rory Judd Albert, Senior Partner, Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation & ERISA Litigation Group, Proskauer LLP, New York, NY

Thomas Gerard Schendt, Partner, Compensation, Benefits & ERISA Litigation Group; Legislative & Public Policy Group, Alston & Bird LLP, Washington, DC


  • Enjoy a “Deep Dive” into significant, recent developments and future trends in the employee benefits arena
  • Hear from senior industry experts what and who (figuratively speaking) “Keeps Them Up at Night”
  • Luxuriate in the latest developments in employee benefits administration, compliance, design, investments, litigation and policy
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about ERISA plan investments (but were too afraid to ask)
  • Learn from law firm partners, consultants, and other professionals about advance skiing techniques, ERISA ethics, existing and pending legislation, government audits and investigations, 401(k) plans on trial, withdrawal liability and more!


Wednesday, January 2, 2019


3:00 – 7:00 p.m.



4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

“HERE COME DA JUDGE” . . . 401(k) Plans on Trial — A Courtroom Battle of Epic Proportions!

Rory Judd Albert, Senior Partner, Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation & ERISA Litigation Group, Proskauer LLP, New York, NY

Joseph E. Gorczyca, Morgan Levine Dolan, P.C., New York, NY

Neil M. Willner, Wilson Elser, White Plains, NY


5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Hedge Fund of Funds: Can’t Live with ‘Em’ and Can’t Live Without ‘Em’

Eric Maidenberg, Chief Business Officer, UBS Hedge Fund Solutions, Stamford, CT


Thursday, January 3, 2019


7:00 – 8:00 a.m.

(Political) Office Visit: Annual Check-up for the ACA

Suzanne Metzger, Assistant General Counsel, 1199 National Benefit Fund, New York NY


8:00 – 9:00 a.m.

Horizon’s “Fabled” Form 5500/Capital Markets Survey – NOT an Actuarial “Snow-Job”, But Data-Driven Consulting

Jonathan Feldman, Consulting Actuary, Horizon Actuarial Services LLC, Washington, DC


4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Plenary Session – Much More Fun with Ethics at the Movies!

Larry J. Cohen, Ph.D., J.D., Cohen’s Counsel, Bethel, VT


6:30 p.m.

Wine Reception


Friday, January 4, 2019


7:00 – 8:00 a.m.

ERISA Ethics — Challenges Facing In-house Counsel

An active conversation of ethical and strategic issues that occur when dealing with the daily issues as an in-house Benefits Counsel. Specific questions that present challenging debate, are: (1) Who is the client? (2) What is the legal role in a given situation? (3) What is “best practice” in dealing with the adjudication of ERISA benefit claims? (4) What is the “proper practice” when advising plan committees? (5) Does attorney/client privilege apply? Is there an exception? Did Benefits Counsel or client waive the privilege? (6) The Benefits Counsel is not comfortable with the client’s actions, what are the options?

Joan M. Brown, Senior Counsel, CenturyLink, Denver, CO

Thomas G. Schendt, Partner, Alston & Bird, LLP, Washington, DC


8:00 – 9:00 a.m.

The Effect of Corporate Transactions on Compensation and Retirement Benefits

A pleasant walk through corporate transactions ERISA-style, including the pre-transaction planning and due diligence process and proper planning for post-transaction integration and communications

Patrick Blanchard, J.D., LL.M., Managing Director, Compensation & Benefits, Alvarez & Marsal, Greenwood Village, CO

Brennan Rittenhouse, J.D., LL.M., Managing Director, Compensation & Benefits, Alvarez & Marsal, Greenwood Village, CO


3:20 – 4:20 p.m.

Bonus Plenary Session – CTE and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: An Update and a Litigator’s Protocol

Larry J. Cohen, Ph.D., J.D., Cohen’s Counsel, Bethel, VT


4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Legislative Update on Multiemployer Pension Reform

Christopher J.G. Brockmeyer, Director of Employee Benefit Funds, The Broadway League, New York, NY

Ronald Richman, Partner and Co-head of the Employment and Employee Benefit Practice, Schulte Roth & Zabel, New York, NY


Saturday, January 5, 2019


7:00 – 8:00 a.m.

When the H&W Auditors Come Knocking: A Snowball’s Chance in …

The last year has seen a significant increase in agency audit activity with the DOL and Office of Civil Rights (OCR) leading the way. This session will help you identify and avoid the top exposure items we see in agency investigations under HIPAA, the ACA, the Mental Health Parity Act (MHPAEA), wellness programs and ERISA

John Hickman, Partner, Compensation, Benefits & ERISA Litigation, Alston & Bird, LLP, Atlanta, GA

Bryan Brum, Attorney – Employee Benefits, United Parcel Service, Atlanta, GA


8:00 – 9:00 a.m.

Discount Rates in Calculating Withdrawal Liability

Evan Miller, Partner, Jones Day, Washington, DC


4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Weaponized Social Media: Plans and Plan Participants Beware!

Michael Balboni, President/Managing Director, Redland Strategies, Inc., New York, NY


5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Fiduciary Duty and the SEC’s Best Interest Rule

Kelly Driscoll, Senior Managing Director, State Street Global Advisors Boston, MA


Sunday, January 6, 2019


Plenary Session


7:00 – 9:00 a.m.

Cyber-Rights and Cyber-Wrongs: Legal Ethics in a Digital Age

Sherman W. Kahn, Mauriel Kapouytian Woods LLP, New York, NY

Joseph V. DeMarco, DeVore and DeMarco LLP, New York, NY

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