Broadcast Date: Wednesday, October 18, 2023
from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm (ET)



The recent months have witnessed a flurry of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) benefits-related litigation. The Department of Labor (DOL) is getting on the scene with heightened audits and investigations which may breed increased risk of violations for employers, plan sponsors, fiduciaries, and other professionals providing ERISA-governed benefits plans. Likewise, recent court decisions such as the Supreme Court’s ruling on Hughes v. Northwestern University continue to provide guidance to the Court of Appeals in carefully scrutinizing the plaintiff’s allegations.

As the litigation landscape continues to shift, practitioners should keep tabs on DOL’s ERISA enforcement activities and ensure proper administration of their plans to stay out of complex liability and potential litigation.

Join key thought leaders and practitioners, David R. Johanson (Hawkins Parnell & Young, LLP) and Stephen Wilkes (Wagner Law Group), for an in-depth discussion of crucial regulatory developments in ERISA. Speakers will also provide the audience with the best defense strategies in responding to DOL’s regulatory scrutiny.

Key topics include:

  • Recent Updates in DOL’s ERISA Enforcement
  • New Issues and Challenges in ERISA Litigation
  • Relevant Cases and Court Rulings
  • Litigation Strategies
  • Best Compliance Practices
  • What’s Next?


Course Level:



Advance Preparation:

Print and review course materials


Method of Presentation:

On-Demand Webcast



General knowledge of employee benefits law


Course Code:



NY Category of CLE Credit:

Areas of Professional Practice


Total Credit:

1.5 CLE

Speaker Panel:

David R. Johanson, Senior Partner and Partner-in-Charge, Napa
Hawkins Parnell & Young, LLP

David assists clients in general corporate matters and in employee ownership, benefit, ERISA, and related business matters, with an emphasis on executive compensation, equity incentive plans, non-qualified deferred compensation, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), ESOP transactions, mergers and acquisitions (and related tax planning), and business succession and estate planning. David has served as outside general counsel to numerous corporate clients over the past 38 years. He also frequently appears on behalf of clients in business and employment-oriented defense litigation in state and federal courts throughout the country, and before regulatory agencies (e.g., U.S. Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service, etc.).

Stephen Wilkes, Partner & Chief Legal Officer
Wagner Law Group

Stephen Wilkes, a partner in the firm, heads the firm’s Investment Management Law practice. He also is a Practice Group leader for the firm’s ERISA Fiduciary Compliance and Independent Fiduciary practices. Steve advises a national client base of mutual funds, CIFs, private funds, registered investment advisers, insurance companies, broker dealers, wealth management firms, banks, trust companies, third-party platform providers, Taft Hartley Funds and plan sponsors on ERISA, tax, and related securities law issues. Stephen counsels’ clients regarding ERISA fiduciary and prohibited transaction issues, investment matters, alternative investments, securities law issues, federal tax issues, and the employee benefits aspects of bankruptcy and related financial restructurings, reorganizations and liquidations. He interacts with regulatory agencies and Congressional staff on legislative and regulatory issues involving the DOL, SEC, IRS, PBGC and OCC.



Hawkins Parnell & Young, LLP

DOL Investigations

  • ERISA vests enforcement authority in the DOL
  • Subject Matter of Investigations
  • ESOPs remain on EBSA’s National Enforcement Projects
  • EBSA Major Case Enforcement Priorities: Fiduciaries managing large amounts of plan assets and protecting employee contributions.
  • Fiduciary Duties, Section 404(a) of ERISA
  • Sources of DOL Investigations
  • Potential Case Development from Form 5500 if any of the following are reported.
  • Investigation Procedures
  • ERISA is a procedural statute.
  • Hot topics
  • DOL “Process Agreements” (through settlements not admitting liability) are a helpful guide.
  • DOL Correction Programs
  • Be Ahead of the Curve
  • Consult Experts
  • Obtain Insurance
  • Manage the Process

Stephen WilkesPartner & Chief Legal Officer

Wagner Law Group

  • What is our DOL/EBSA org chart.
  • Some of our DOL enforcement facts on audits, etc.   FY2022 results
  • Where are DOL enforcement priorities these days - Pension world -missing participants, ESOP, investments, life insurance, criminal matters, etc.  Health plan world - initiatives, priorities
  • Other Dol efforts -   abandoned plans, disclosure issues, cyber, bonding,
  • How are investigations or audits resolved?   No violation closing letter, or violation with correction or violation with no correction which is then referred to DOL solicitor.
  • ERISA 504 investigative authority
  • DOL subpoena authority
  • Alight Sols LLC case…..7th circuit……EBSA investigative authority is discussed.

Date & Time:

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

12:00 pm to 1:30 pm (ET)

Who Should Attend:

  • Labor & Employment Lawyers
  • Employee Benefits Lawyers
  • Benefits Administrators
  • Chief Human Resource Officers
  • VPs/Directors of HR
  • Chief Executive Officers
  • Chief Compliance Officers
  • Financial Advisors
  • Insurance Lawyers
  • General Counsel
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David R. JohansonSenior Partner and Partner-in-Charge, Napa
Hawkins Parnell & Young, LLP
Stephen WilkesPartner & Chief Legal Officer
Wagner Law Group



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