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Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

Firm Overview

Ogletree Deakins is one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management in all types of employment-related legal matters. The firm has more than 900 attorneys located in 53 offices across the United States and in Europe, Canada and Mexico. Ogletree Deakins is the “Law Firm of the Year” in Labor Law - Management and Litigation-ERISA categories in the 2020 edition of the U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” list. In addition to handling labor and employment law matters, the firm has thriving practices focused on business immigration, employee benefits and workplace safety and health law.

Ogletree Deakins represents a diverse range of clients, from start-up companies to Fortune 500 corporations. In Corporate Counsel magazine’s October 2013 survey, “Who Represents America’s Biggest Companies,” which reports on firms representing Fortune 500 companies, Ogletree Deakins received 170 mentions, more than any other firm. In the magazine's Best of 2019 guide, published in April 2019, Ogletree Deakins was named the top Employment Practice Law Firm in the Outside Counsel category.

In addition,

  • More than 250 of our attorneys were selected for inclusion in the 2021 edition of Best Lawyers in America.
  • 76 of our attorneys are in the 2019 edition of Chambers USA.
  • 57 of our attorneys have been inducted as Fellows in The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice

Ogletree Deakins has one of the largest teams of employee benefits and executive compensation practitioners in the United States. Ogletree Deakins was listed as a national “First Tier” law firm in the employee benefits (ERISA) practice area in the 2019 edition of the U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list. As part of a firm that focuses on labor and employment law, our Employee Benefits Practice Group has a special ability to relate technical expertise to the client’s “big picture” issues. Knowledge of the detailed requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and other applicable laws is our beginning, not our ending point. Our goal is to provide practical advice that allows an employer’s benefits strategy to work in harmony with the employer’s overall personnel, financial and business objectives.

Employers nationwide have come to depend on Ogletree Deakins for their employee benefits regulatory and compliance advice, both on a day-to-day basis and for unique projects involving corporate restructurings, acquisitions or benefit plan redesign. Our highly trained employee benefits practitioners provide consulting, planning and compliance advice to clients regarding employee benefits plans of all types, including both retirement plans and welfare or fringe benefit plans, sponsored by employers in the private, not-for-profit and public sectors. These include tax-qualified retirement plans, welfare and fringe benefits programs, cafeteria (Section 125) plans, nonqualified deferred compensation plans, severance pay plans, bonus plans, equity compensation plans and executive retirement plans.

We also advise clients on such matters as healthcare reform compliance issues, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) portability, privacy and nondiscrimination requirements; Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) continuation coverage rules, reporting and disclosure obligations to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), retirement and welfare plan nondiscrimination requirements, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary and other liability limitation arrangements and a whole range of cost containment strategies. In addition to our depth of experience with conventional group health plans, our attorneys advise clients on the development of defined contribution or consumer-directed health plan approaches, including programs that offer health savings accounts (HSAs).

New and established clients often turn to members of Ogletree Deakins’ employee benefits group to handle litigation involving employee pension or welfare benefits plans – sometimes brought on behalf of a single individual, but often brought on behalf of a class of plan participants – including claims under ERISA alleging breaches of fiduciary duties or violations of ERISA’s substantive requirements. The ERISA litigators in our practice group are an integral part of the overall benefits practice. They routinely draft plan documents and related instruments for qualified and nonqualified retirement plans, welfare plans and fringe benefit plans; advise clients regarding the employee benefits aspects of corporate mergers, acquisitions and restructurings; or counsel clients regarding other aspects of tax or regulatory compliance. Because our benefits litigators speak the language of employee benefits plan design and administration, they are able to communicate directly and effectively with the client’s human resources personnel, actuaries and other professionals to quickly recognize and marshal the facts essential to the defense.

Office Locations

Atlanta, GA

Austin, TX

Berlin, Germany

Birmingham, AL

Boston, MA

Charleston, SC

Charlotte, NC

Chicago, IL

Cleveland, OH

Columbia, SC

Dallas, TX

Denver, CO

Detroit, MI

Greenville, SC

Houston, TX

Indianapolis, IN

Jackson, MS

Kansas City, MO

Las Vegas, NV

London, UK

Los Angeles, CA

Memphis, TN

Mexico City, Mexico

Miami, FL

Milwaukee, WI

Minneapolis, MN

Montreal, QC

Morristown, NJ

Nashville, TN

New Orleans, LA

New York, NY

Oklahoma City, OK

Orange County, CA

Paris, France

Philadelphia, PA

Phoenix, AZ

Pittsburgh, PA

Portland, OR

Portland, ME

Raleigh, NC


Richmond, VA

Sacramento, CA

San Antonio, TX

San Diego, CA

San Francisco, CA

Seattle, WA

St. Louis, MO

St. Thomas, VI

Stamford, CT

Tampa, FL

Toronto, ON

Torrance, CA

Tucson, AZ

Washington, DC

Profile picture of Conley J. Scott III

Conley J. Scott III

Conley J. Scott III, Esq., LL.M.T., is an associate attorney with Ogletree Deakins’ Atlanta, office. His focus is ERISA compliance and works on all types of qualified retirement plans and related issues. He is barred in the State of Georgia and admitted to practice in the Georgia Supreme Court as well as the United States Tax Court.

Conley has a wide breadth of education and will receive his Master of Divinity in 2023. Conley received his law degree from Mercer University School of Law and his Master of Taxation (LLM) from the University of Florida Levin College of...
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Profile picture of David T. Sulton

David T. Sulton

Daniel T. Sulton is a member of the firm’s employee benefits and executive compensation practice group and focuses his practice in the area of employee benefit plan compliance and litigation.  Daniel brings a unique perspective to his practice, having worked in human resources as a manager of employee benefit plans and payroll, in-house counsel for a Fortune 500 company and in private practice.  His experience serves his clients well as he advises employers on all aspects of health and welfare plan design, strategy and administration.  He also counsels employers on retirement and executive compensation issues and represents clients in...
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Profile picture of Eric D. Penkert

Eric D. Penkert

Eric D. Penkert helps employers navigate the complicated world of employee benefits laws. He assists businesses in understanding their compliance obligations under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code with respect to retirement, executive compensation, and health and welfare benefits. Eric helps for-profit, tax-exempt, and governmental employers draft and restate their employee benefit plans, including qualified plans such as 401(k) and profit-sharing plans, nonqualified deferred compensation plans, welfare benefit (wrap) plans, and Internal Revenue Code Section 125 (cafeteria) plan documents. He also advises employers regarding health and welfare benefits laws, including the Affordable Care Act, COBRA, HIPAA, and ERISA. Mr....
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Profile picture of Florence Z. Mao

Florence Z. Mao

Flo provides employment litigation and counseling services to employers of all sizes.  Flo values proactive risk management to promote a healthy workplace that grows the enterprise, retains top talent, and minimizes the chance of litigation in the first place.  She collaborates with her clients to understand their business and works diligently to achieve the best possible result.

Flo advises employers on all aspects of the employment relationship, including hiring, performance management, workplace investigations, EEO issues, leaves and accommodations under the FMLA, ADA, and state laws, meal and rest breaks, and separations.  She is well-versed on issues that often...
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Profile picture of Hillary M. Sizer

Hillary M. Sizer

Hillary Sizer joined Ogletree Deakins’ Chicago office as an associate in 2019. She assists clients with ERISA compliance matters, focusing on health and welfare plans. She graduated in 2019, with distinction, from Georgetown University Law Center where she earned a Master of Laws in Taxation and an Employee Benefits Certificate. She is a 2018 graduate of the Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. While there, she spent a summer externing for the Oregon Tax Court. She received a BA in Philosophy, cum laude, from Colorado State University where she spent some time earning a Russian language certificate from Kuban...
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Profile picture of Kyle Abraham

Kyle Abraham

Kyle Abraham represents employers in traditional labor and employment law matters. Kyle’s labor practice includes negotiating collective bargaining agreements, advising on contract administration issues, and representing employers before labor arbitrators, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Oregon Employment Relations Board. In his employment law practice, Kyle is an experienced litigator who has successfully represented clients before U.S. circuit and district courts, Oregon and Washington state courts, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries, and other state and federal agencies. Kyle leverages his experience to help employers anticipate and resolve problems at the earliest possible...
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Profile picture of Patrick M. Curran, Jr.

Patrick M. Curran, Jr.

Patrick Curran advocates for and advises employers in nearly every area of labor and employment law. He has particular expertise in the litigation and arbitration of labor and employment disputes, and has represented employers before state and federal courts and administrative agencies in a broad range of matters including the alleged violation of non-solicitation, non-competition, and confidentiality agreements, theft of trade secrets, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, wrongful termination, and violation of federal and state wage and hour, anti-discrimination, and anti-retaliation laws (including class and collective action lawsuits alleging violation of those laws). Mr. Curran also has...
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Profile picture of Roger G. Trim

Roger G. Trim

As one of the founding attorneys of Ogletree Deakins’s Denver office, Roger G. Trim’s practice focuses exclusively on representing and counseling employers in a broad spectrum of employment matters including discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wrongful discharge, breach of contract and noncompete cases. Mr. Trim has successfully defended employers in litigation involving Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Family Medical and Leave Act, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, the Colorado Wage Claim Act, the Montana Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act, and 42 U.S.C. 1981 claims. Mr. Trim has represented employers...
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Profile picture of Taylor Bracewell

Taylor Bracewell

Mr. Bracewell joined Ogletree Deakins in 2014 as an associate in the employee benefits and executive compensation practice group.  He focuses his practice on qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, ERISA compliance, executive compensation arrangements, health and welfare plans, and taxation.

Mr. Bracewell has extensive experience advising clients regarding deferred compensation arrangements, particularly with respect to tax-exempt clients such as credit unions and private foundations. Further, Mr. Bracewell provides counsel to tax-exempt clients regarding the tax implications of deferred compensation arrangements.

While in law school, Mr. Bracewell served as a student advocate in the Philip C. Cook Low-Income...
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Profile picture of Walter B. Parker

Walter B. Parker

Walter’s legal practice focuses on employee benefits and executive compensation. He assists employers with a variety of health and welfare benefits plan issues, including plan administration and compliance with ERISA, HIPAA, and COBRA requirements. Walter also represents sponsors of ERISA qualified employer retirement plans.  He assists these clients in all aspects of plan design, fiduciary responsibilities, and ERISA compliance.

Walter is experienced in nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plans and executive compensation matters. He helps clients consider the benefits of all available executive compensation schemes while remaining aware of tax and compliance issues associated with each approach. Through careful...
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Profile picture of William Rutchow

William Rutchow

William (“Bill”) Rutchow joined the firm in 1988.  After several years in the Greenville, South Carolina office, he moved to the Nashville office in 1995.  He is currently a Shareholder in the Nashville office. Bill currently concentrates his practice in three areas: Workplace Safety and Health, Unfair Competition/Trade Secrets, and Employment Litigation. Bill also has experience in commercial litigation, personal injury litigation, and NLRB proceedings.

Workplace Safety and Health - Bill has extensive experience in crisis management for clients involved in workplace accidents resulting in fatalities, injuries, and/or significant property damage. Bill represents clients in proceedings before OSHA, CSB...
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