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José M. Jara

José M. Jara concentrates his practice in ERISA and labor and employment matters. Mr. Jara has over 20 years of experience representing corporations, tax-exempts, associations, pension funds, boards of trustees, multiple employer plans, multi-employer plans and individuals in the areas of employment, ERISA, and employee benefits law. Mr. Jara’s practice includes representing clients under investigation by the Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, and defending clients from lawsuits filed by the Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, regarding civil and/or criminal violations of ERISA. He has defended fiduciaries and boards of directors against ERISA class action litigation alleging breach of fiduciary duty, including imprudent investments, employer stock, excessive fees, delinquent employee contributions, and improper valuation of employee stock. In addition, he advises plan sponsors and fiduciaries on fiduciary responsibilities, plan fees and expenses, plan asset regulations, and ERISA prohibited transactions and exemptions.

Mr. Jara’s counsel in such diverse matters also includes working with clients to correct retirement plan errors under the Internal Revenue Service, Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System, fiduciary violations under the Department of Labor Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program, and annual reporting failures under the Department of Labor Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program.

Mr. Jara assists clients with professional liability insurance matters, providing counsel on D&O, Fiduciary, and EPL insurance issues. He also serves as monitoring counsel and coverage counsel, and provides advice to underwriters on a variety of provisions of the insurance policy.

As a member of the Labor & Employment Practice Group, Mr. Jara also focuses on assisting clients in matters regarding discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, restrictive covenants, exempt and non-exempt employees, over-time, and sexual harassment. Additionally, he drafts employee handbooks and executive compensation agreements.

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Vice-Chair, Fiduciary Responsibility, Administration, and Litigation Committee, American Bar Association Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section
  • Member, Hispanic National Bar Association
  • Member, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
  • Member, Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS)
  • President, Board of Directors, Rising Ground (formerly Leake and Watts Services, Inc.) – Video: New York Stock Exchange Welcomes Rising Ground (6.22.18)
  • Member, Board of Directors, The Center for Family Support
  • Member, Executive Committee, Cardozo Alumni Association, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Awards and Recognitions

  • Named a “Top Attorney” by SJ Magazine for Pension & Profit Sharing (2019)
  • Alumni Association Volunteer Service Award, Cardozo Law School (2014)

Articles and Presentations

  • Benefits Guide: Basics, Retirement and Pension Plan Administration, EBSA Investigations, Bloomberg Law (March 2020)
  • What You Don’t Know, [Can Really Still] Hurt You – ERISA’s Statute of Limitations Conundrum” Bloomberg Tax, Tax Management Compensation Planning Journal (2020)
  • What You Don’t Know, [Can] Hurt You’ — ERISA’s Statute of Limitations Conundrum, Bloomberg Tax, Tax Management Compensation Planning Journal (2019)
  • Form 5500 Employee Benefit Plan Audits, Practice Note, LexisNexis (2019)
  • DOL’s Enforcement Results Reach An All Time High of $2.5 Billion, Archer & Greiner Client Advisory (2019)
  • ERISA: Thou Shall Not Pay Excessive Fees!, RPTE eReport, American Bar Association (2019)
  • The Ins and Outs of ERISA Fiduciary Insurance,  Law 360 (2018)
  • ERISA Fiduciary Insurance, Practice Note, LexisNexis (2018)
  • Chapter: Specific Corporate Compliance Challenges by Practice Area: ERISA, Corporate Compliance Practice Guide: The Next Generation of Compliance, Lexis, updated (2018)
  • Take Advantage of the DOL’s Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program, Our Voices, CKR Law, LLP (2018)
  • Fiduciary Status First Before Navigating the Complex Rules under ERISA, Worth Covering: News, Tips, and Thoughts for Professional Liability Carriers (2017)
  •  I will get by, I will survive… Age Discrimination Case Survives Summary Judgment, Worth Covering: News, Tips, and Thoughts for Professional Liability Carriers (2016)
  •  Dear Prudence, Won’t you Come out to Play? Dear Prudence, Greet the ERISA Litigation of the Day…, Worth Covering: News, Tips, and Thoughts for Professional Liability Carriers (2016)
  •  ERISA Fiduciary Considerations When Incorporating Alternative Investments in Your Pension Plan’s Portfolio, Cardozo Law Alumni Quarterly (January 2015)
  • What is the Correct Standard of Prudence in Employer Stock Cases, New York University Review of Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, Chapter 1B , Alvin D. Lurie ed. (2012)
  • ERISA Prudence and Employer Stock: What’s the Correct Standard of Prudence?, John Marshall Law Review (August 2012)
  • Legal Insight – COBRA, Employment Law Manual, Employee Benefits, XpertHR.com (2012)
  • Legal Insight – ERISA,  Employment Law Manual, Employee Benefits, XpertHR.com (2012)
  • Federal Employer Liability Concerns in Employee Management, Employment Law Manual, Employee Management, XpertHR.com (2012)
  • Chapter: Hot Topics in ERISA Litigation: From Ongoing Class Action Challenges to the Upcoming Fee Disclosure Deluge, Inside the Minds: Recent Changes in Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation (January 2011)
  • International Law Firm Network, International Corporate Practice: A Practitioner’s Guide to Global Success, Chapter 3, Practising Law Institute (2009)
  • The Recovery Act’s Mechanism to Stimulate the Economy Requires Adjustment: Is More Legislation the Answer? Pension & Benefits Reporter (March 2009)
  • Modernization of the Section 403(b) Plan and its ERISA Implications, Pension & Benefits Reporter (July 2008)
  • ERISA’s Fiduciary Duties: Meeting the ‘Reasonable’ Contract and Fee Requirements, Pension & Benefits Reporter (April 2008)
  • Subprime Mortgage Crisis Impacts ERISA Plan Investment in Employer Stock, Journal of Compensation and Benefits (2008)
  • Plan Sponsors Impacted by Hidden 401(k) Fee Litigation, Journal of Compensation and Benefits (2008)
  • Litigating Claims of Discrimination in Employee Benefits, ALI-ABA (2003)
  • ERISA Fiduciary Self-Audit Overview and Checklist (contributor), Practising Law Institute (2003)

Presentations

  • Changes to Valuation of Stock Cases: What It Now Takes for Successful Management of Stocks, Employee Stock Ownership (ESOP) Challenges, and Enforcement Activity, ACI ERISA Litigation, New York, NY (November 21, 2019)
  • DOL Investigations of Employee Benefit Plans: Responding to Enforcement Actions, Audits, and Settlements, Strafford Webinar (November 7, 2019)
  • ERISA 2019 – Current Issues for Plan Fiduciaries, Cardozo Law School, New York, NY (November 7, 2019)
  • Employee Benefits Defined Contribution Plans, American Bar Association Section of Taxation and Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law 2019 Fall Tax Meeting, San Francisco, CA (October 4, 2019)
  • #MeToo in the Workplace and Beyond,” 2019 Hispanic National Bar Association Annual Convention, New York, NY (September 27, 2019)
  • How to Properly Conduct an RFP, 38th Annual ISCEBS Employee Benefits Symposium, New Orleans, Louisiana (September 11, 2019)
  • Diversity & Inclusion Strategies for Making or Saving Insurance Companies Money, Business Insurance, Chicago, Il (September 6, 2019)
  • ERISA Benefit Plan Wraps and SPDs: Structuring and Amending Compliant Plan Documents and Notices, Strafford Webinar (August 13, 2019)
  • Recent Developments in Private Company D&O, 15th Annual Directors & Officers Insurance ExecuSummit, Uncasville, CT (May 8, 2019)
  • ERISA and Employee Benefits – How To Effectively Handle a DOL Investigation of Your Retirement Plan, PLUS Management & Professional Liability Webinar (April 2019)
  • Disability Claims & Procedures: DOL Final Rule for Employee Benefits and Nonqualified Compensation Plans, Strafford Webinar (March  2019)
  • DOL Regulations Affecting ERISA Litigation and Insights on the Future of ERISA in the Trump Era, ACI ERISA Litigation (November 2018)
  • DOL Investigations of Employee Benefit Plans: Navigating Enforcement Actions, Audits and Settlements, Strafford Webinar (November 2018)
  • Conquer Retirement Plan Challenges in 2019 – Part II: How to Address Current Legal Issues Facing Fiduciaries, Cardozo Law School (November 2018)
  • Meet the Enforcers – A Sexual Harassment Seminar, Cardozo Law School, New York, NY (October 2018)
  • Emerging Issues in Defined Contribution Pension Plans, 64th Annual Employee Benefits Conference, IFEBP, New Orleans, Louisiana (October 2018)
  • How to Effectively Handle a U.S. Dept of Labor Investigation of Your Group Health Plan, ECFC Symposium, San Diego, California (August 2018)
  • Defined Contribution Plans, Advanced Trustees and Administrators Institute, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, Las Vegas, Nevada, (June 2018)
  • Recent Developments in Private Company D&O, 14th Annual D&O Insurance ExecuSummit, Uncasville, CT (May 2018)
  • Protecting Fiduciaries: Insurance, ERISA Bonding, and More, Worldwide Employee Benefits Network,  New York, NY (February 2018)
  • Conquer Retirement Plan Challenges in 2018, CKR Law, LLP, New York, NY (February 2018)
  • Defined Contribution Plans, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Advanced Trustees and Administrators Institute, Orlando, FL (February 2018)

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