Karen N. Brandon

Shareholder Morristown

*Currently licensed in District of Columbia, Illinois and Maryland only.

Karen Brandon advises in-house counsel, management, human resources professionals and  Boards of Trustees on their responsibilities in sponsoring, administering and acting as trustee of all types of employee benefit and executive compensation plans. Karen has practiced exclusively in the area of employee benefits law for over 15 years. She has particular experience in the manufacturing, transportation, software, national retail and banking industries, and works with unionized, governmental and non-profit employers as well. Karen has also provided advice on employee benefit matters in the context of mergers and acquisitions, and in bankruptcy. In addition, her practice has included representation of employers during the audit of their benefit plans before the IRS, DOL and PBGC.


Qualified Plans – provide advice on design, administration, tax compliance including correction, amendment, investment, claims decisions, fiduciary liability, merger, spin-off and termination of profit sharing, 401(k), pension, money purchase, stock bonus, cash balance and 403(b) plans.

Non-Qualified Plans – provide advice on the design, amendment, investment, termination, and tax compliance including correction of deferred compensation, incentive, equity, SERP, excess benefit, employment, separation, severance and 457 plans.

Multiemployer Plans – provide advice on the design, amendment, merger, termination, investment, administration, tax compliance, claims decisions, fiduciary liability, and withdrawal liability under multiemployer pension and health and welfare plans.

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) – provide advice on the design, amendment, investment, administration, tax compliance and termination of ESOPs, including financing options and valuations.

Health and Welfare Plans – provide advice on the design, administration, amendment, tax compliance, investment and termination, including advice on claims, health care reform and HIPAA privacy for medical, dental, vision, life, AD&D, disability, cafeteria, health savings accounts (HSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and fringe benefit plans.

Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs) – provide advice on the design, administration, amendment, tax compliance, ERISA and state law compliance, and investment of MEWAs.

Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Associations (VEBAs) – provide advice on the design, amendment, funding, investment, administration, tax compliance and termination of VEBAs, including those created as spin-offs from defined benefit pension plans.

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • American Bar Association (Taxation Section, Subcommittees on 401(k) Plans, Self-Correction and Pension Legislation)
  • Maryland State Bar Association
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Chicago Bar Association


  • American Bar Association, Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, ERISA Basics Seminar - ''Determination Letters and EPCRS” and “QDROs, QMCSOs and Spousal Rights'' - Chicago - October 18, 2013
  • Illinois Chamber of Commerce Webinar - ''Raising Your Fiduciary IQ'' - June 21, 2012

Published Works


Our Insights


Media Quotes

January 07, 2015 - SHRM.org - "Mandatory Retirement Savings Program Begins in Illinois"
March 2013 - Inside Counsel - "Court Denies Contraception Coverage Injunction"
July 02, 2012 - Law360 - "Employers Must Hurry To Disclose Retirement Plan Fees"