Course - Law


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The course examines employee benefits governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). 


When does ERISA come into play?


-          Business planning

-          Employment agreements, termination of employment  

-          Prenuptial agreements, divorce

-          Corporate and individual tax planning

-          Estate planning and probate

-          Bankruptcy

-          In every employer retirement, medical, life insurance, disability, or

           other benefit plan or arrangement.


You will acquire a working knowledge of retirement plans such as profit sharing and 401(k) plans and the legal requirements applicable to these plans.  Sections of the Internal Revenue Code are examined, but as much for their underlying purpose (governmental, societal and employer goals) as for their content. 


You will also learn how ERISA applies to welfare benefit plans such as medical, life insurance, and disability plans, and related areas such as COBRA and HIPAA.  The Affordable Care Act, if it survives the November election, will affect employers and employees.  


It is highly likely that this course will assist you in the practice of law, and a certainty that you will apply what you learn to your own personal situation or a family member's. 



Introduction to Employee Benefits Law: Policy and Practice, 3rd Edition, by Colleen Medill (West Law School 2010); Pratt's Pension and Employee Benefit Statutes, Regulations, Selected Sections (2013 Edition)

Course Format


Written Assignments

None anticipated

Type of Exam

Essay, in-class, open book 

Basis for grading

Final exam

Additional Comments

Regular class attendance is expected.  In close cases, additional credit may be awarded to students who have regularly attended class. 

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