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Practice Areas

Practice Areas

We find solutions to the puzzling area of employee benefits.


We are the largest boutique firm located in Orange County, California but provide ERISA and Employee Benefits legal counsel nationwide. At Boutwell Fay, we assist clients in drafting, qualification, design, administration and in the operation of employee plans in every classification.


While serving a broad range of businesses, consulting and financial services firms, we pride ourselves by staying on top of the ever-changing puzzle of employee benefits. Our clients include private employers, plan service providers, financial institutions, government agencies and pension plans. We serve closely-held and public companies of all sizes, with plans ranging from 10 to thousands of participants.


Clients tell us we deliver the highest-quality of care and legal services. Our attorneys have extensive training and our partners bring experience from large law firms. However, our smaller size allows us to be more nimble, responsive and affordable.

Boutwell Fay LLP is highly experienced in the drafting, qualification, design, administration, and operation of all types of qualified plans, including: 401(k) plans; profit sharing plans; money purchase pension plans; 403(b) plans and 457(b) plans; and defined benefit pension plans.  Our attorneys provide advice on administrative and compliance issues, including: plan document compliance; controlled group determinations; plan qualification requirements (such as discrimination testing and written documents); notices and reporting; loans and distributions; and legislative and regulatory changes.

The firm advises clients regarding the design, operation, and compliance of health, welfare, and fringe benefit plans. Our attorneys have extensive knowledge of the varied requirements for such plans, including: Internal Revenue Code document, taxation, and reporting requirements; ERISA document, claims, and reporting and disclosure requirements; ACA compliance; Section 125 plans; COBRA and HIPAA; QMCSOs; self-insured health plan issues; and MEWA issues. We also assist our clients in the preparation of plan documents, procedures, employee communications, and enrollment materials and forms, and advise and defend clients in examinations of health and welfare plans by the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor.

Complying with the many legislative and regulatory rules impacting employee benefit plans can be a daunting task. As a result, mistakes happen. Correction of plan failures requires experienced ERISA counsel to ensure continued plan qualification. Our attorneys assist our clients in correction of plan failures, offering services such as the IRS Self-Correction Program (SCP); VCP; VCAP; late or rejected Form 5500s, and correction of prohibited transactions, including the DOL's Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program and evaluation of self-correction options.

In the event of a merger or acquisition or other company restructuring or corporate transaction, we serve as co-counsel and provide advice regarding the potential impacts of upcoming mergers or acquisitions on benefit plans; assist with due diligence of all types of benefit plans, including: retirement, health and welfare, and nonqualified plans; draft and revise representations and warranties and other aspects of purchase and sale agreements; assist with benefits matters where representations and warranties insurance are purchased; advise on transitioning benefits and plan termination/partial termination issues.

We advise and defend plan sponsors [and/or trustees and other fiduciaries] with respect to IRS examinations and US Department of Labor investigations (generally focused on fiduciary breach/prohibited transaction issues) and/or PBGC issues and audits. Our services typically include handling communications, written, telephone and/or in person, with the IRS, DOL or PBGC; supporting client personnel in interviews/meetings with the IRS, DOL or PBGC; facilitating and negotiating resolution and closure of the audit or investigation and appealing penalties.

We advise plan sponsors/administrators/fiduciaries with respect to the many administrative and fiduciary duties that they face. Among other things, we provide counsel and support with respect to: participant benefit claims, including drafting and/or reviewing benefit determinations; fiduciary claims; family law related matters, including review of and determinations with respect to qualified domestic relations orders and engaging service providers and negotiating service provider contracts.

The firm advises tax-exempt and governmental entities on the special rules that apply to the employee benefit plans of these employers.  We assist clients with benefit plan design, drafting of plan documents, plan administration, tax compliance, plan corrections, review and negotiation of plan service provider agreements, ERISA coverage, ERISA and state law fiduciary issues, and examinations by the IRS and Department of Labor, as these issues apply to plans that include: 403(b) plans; 457(b) plan; 457(f) plans; governmental 401(a) plans; governmental excess benefit arrangements; health and welfare plans, and fringe benefit arrangements.

We assist our clients in implementing best governance practices under Title I of ERISA and applicable state law for non-ERISA plans. Our attorneys serve as counsel to plan fiduciaries, such as trustees, plan administrators, company officers and directors, and benefit and investment committees regarding: selection and monitoring of service providers; compliance with ERISA fiduciary duties; establishment and operation of plan committees ; trust agreements,  custodial arrangements and service contracts, prohibited transactions and other compliance concerns.

We advise private employers and executives of private employers with respect to drafting, reviewing, and compliance for executive compensation/non-qualified deferred compensation plans, including: compliance with Code Sections 409A and 280G; we also review and consult with respect to stock option and other types of incentive compensation plans.

We advise and consult with business owners and high net worth participants regarding all compliance aspects of IRAs, HSAs, SEP-IRA plans, and SIMPLE IRA plans.

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