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Robin Solomon, Ivins, Phillips & Barker, Chartered Photo

Robin M. Solomon

Partner

Clients value Robin as a “business-minded” and practical leader, who can manage large projects on a tight deadline. In addition to her practice, she is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where she teaches Retirement Plan Qualification Requirements.

Profile

Robin helps employers successfully design and administer retirement plans, health & welfare benefits, and executive compensation arrangements. She has more than 20 years of experience developing practical solutions to complex employee benefit problems.

Robin advises Fortune 500 publicly-traded companies, closely held businesses, and tax-exempt organizations on a broad range of benefit and compensation issues. She has extensive experience with the design and administration of tax-qualified pension and 401(k) plans, and she routinely advises plan benefit committees on their fiduciary obligations. Robin possesses a particular aptitude for counseling clients on workforce and benefits integration following an acquisition, and she is experienced with the unique problems faced by large controlled groups.

Education

Harvard Law School, 1996, J.D.

Stanford University, 1993, B.A.

Oxford University, Balliol College

Bar & Court Admissions

District of Columbia

Maryland

New York

Clerkships

Law Clerk for the Honorable Benson Everett Legg, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland

Academic Appointments

Adjunct Professor, Graduate Tax Program, Georgetown University Law Center (Teaching "Retirement Plan Qualification Requirements")

Memberships & Affiliations

D.C. Bar Association, Tax Section, Employee Benefits Committee

American Bar Association, Section of Taxation

Honors & Awards

Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers 2018

Experience

Representative Matters

Pension Plans

  • Lump Sum Offer – Advised an aerospace company on a voluntary lump sum offer to 40,000 former employees, followed by a second lump sum offer made under ten pension plans simultaneously, in an effort to reduce the company’s $68 billion pension liability.
  • Plan Funding – Advised pension plan sponsors on funding strategies, including the contribution of employer securities, real property, and other assets.
  • Plan Freeze – Counseled one of the nation’s largest defense contractors on the transition from DB to DC plan benefits, including all associated ERISA and tax qualification issues such as nondiscrimination testing and disclosure obligations. This included the soft freeze of ten pension plans, followed by the hard freeze of plans covering 68,000 nonunion employees and 33,000 union employees.
  • Cash Balance – Obtained a favorable IRS determination letter on one of the nation’s largest cash balance plans ($50B) – a process that took nearly ten years. Deflected IRS criticism and developed an alternative strategy that left the plan design virtually intact.
  • Operational Corrections – Secured IRS approval of complex operational corrections for numerous employers, often winning approval for unique methods of correction. Obtained full waiver of employer contributions for several overpayment corrections.
  • M&A – Drafted cash balance plan as new benefits platform for 100,000 participants, to integrate acquired subsidiaries of Fortune 50 company.
  • Compliance Review – Oversaw a comprehensive compliance review of six pension plans for a public utility company, to be completed within a 30-day period.
  • Vendor Contracts – Advised large and mid-sized clients in negotiating vendor agreements (e.g., trustee, record-keeper, investment manager).
  • Union Arbitration – Testified as an expert witness in union arbitration on behalf of industrial manufacturer.

Savings Plans

  • Roth Contributions – Advised a 401(k) plan with $45 billion in assets on the implementation of Roth 401(k) contributions and enhanced profit sharing contributions.
  • IRS Audit Defense – Successfully shepherded a privately held retailer through an IRS 401(k) plan audit in less than six months, with no changes requested or penalties imposed.
  • Plan Termination – Assisted with the termination of money purchase and PAYSOP plans, including development of a practical solution for handling missing participant accounts.
  • Fiduciary Training – Prepared and delivered fiduciary education programs for senior executives at multiple companies, including an outdoor clothing distributor, a public utility, and a $20 billion oil & gas company.
  • M&A – Integrated 20+ acquired savings plans into a single 401(k) plan ($40 billion) platform.
  • Corporate Governance – Developed investment committee charter, investment policy statement, and related governance documents for 401(k) plan benefits committee.
  • Operational Corrections – Advised oil & gas company on the correction of delinquent contributions, including remittance of excise taxes.
  • Plan Investments – Advised oil & gas company on changes to 401(k) plan investment line-up. Counselled closely-held “B” corporation on socially responsible investing.
  • Target Date Funds – Co-authored a white paper on custom target date funds for global investment manager. Quoted in Wall Street Journal on target date funds.

Health & Welfare Plans

  • ACA Compliance – Developed and rolled out an Affordable Care Act compliance strategy for numerous companies. Prepared participant communications; advised on ACA reporting.
  • Retiree Medical – Counseled large and mid-sized clients on retiree medical plan design, including transition from a traditional retiree medical plan to an HRA with private exchange. Advised on implementation of new early retiree medical program.
  • Vendor Contracts – Negotiated over a dozen health and welfare benefit vendor contracts for a water treatment company following acquisition by a foreign corporation (e.g., medical, life insurance, disability and leave programs).
  • Cafeteria Plans – Advised on operational corrections for FSA and HSA programs, including reporting and payroll implications.
  • M&A – Established new benefits platform for spunoff subsidiary of Fortune 100 company.
  • Claims and Appeals – Supported numerous clients with handling of claims and appeals. Developed claims procedures.
  • VEBAs – Counselled on tax-exempt status and obtained favorable IRS rulings. Advised on VEBA design and funding strategy.

Executive Compensation

  • 162(m) Compliance – Interpreted IRC 162(m) provisions following 2017 tax reform legislation, for multiple Fortune 100 companies, including a railroad, textile company, and retailer.
  • 409A Compliance – Advised closely held company on the termination of nonqualified deferred compensation plan in compliance with IRC 409A, including executive communications and calculation of payout schedules.
  • Payroll Compliance – Advised mid-sized retailer on withholding methodology for annual bonus payments, taxation of post-severance payments, educational assistance, transit/parking benefits, and fringe benefits.
  • Exempt Organizations – Advised major metropolitan orchestra on design and implementation of 457(b) and 457(f) plans to compensate executives. Counselled on payroll and withholding issues for payments to artists.

News & Events

News

Publications

Speeches & Presentations

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