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Steven Witmer, Ivins, Phillips & Barker, Chartered Photo

Steven H. Witmer


When Steve is not serving as primary benefits counsel to numerous employers, or as a leader in the negotiation of benefits vendor contracts and M&A transactions, he can often be found volunteering on youth soccer or baseball fields.


Steve serves as primary outside employee benefits counsel for numerous clients, handling all legal aspects of design, compliance, administrative, fiduciary and other plan functions.  In addition, Steve is a practice leader in assisting clients with their HR contracting and outsourcing efforts, and also with the firm’s employee benefits merger and acquisition efforts. Clients describe Steve as quick and creative, with the ability to translate complicated legal analysis into practical business solutions and opportunities. Steve has been individually recognized by Chambers & Partners for Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation multiple times, most recently in 2021.


Harvard University Law School, 1990, J.D., cum laude  

Lebanon Valley College, 1987, B.A., summa cum laude

Bar & Court Admissions

District of Columbia


Massachusetts (inactive)

Pennsylvania (inactive) 

Memberships & Affiliations

American Bar Association, Tax Section, Employee Benefits Committee

Honors & Awards

Chambers USA Guide 2021 - present


Representative Matters

  • Lead or sole negotiator on more than 2,500 recordkeeping, consulting, trustee, payroll, insurance and other benefits and HR vendor agreement negotiations.
  • Advised clients with respect to employee benefit matters in scores of acquisitions, dispositions, spin-offs, IPOs and other corporate transactions.  He has assisted with everything from populating the data room, to due diligence, to negotiating the purchase/sale agreement, to supporting all aspects of the benefits transition.
    • Steve was recognized in Corporate Counsel magazine for his role in a particularly unusual and creative corporate disposition.
  • Lead on numerous IRS, DOL and PGBC matters.
    • Convinced an IRS review team to issue one of the first favorable determination letters on a complicated cash balance pension plan design.
    • Obtained PBGC waiver of a $200 million+ plus funding obligation
  • Worked with a foreign government’s Secretary of Labor, the DOL, IRS and Department of State, to create a U.S.-based Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) as part of a successful negotiation to withdraw all penalty assertions. 

News & Events

Speeches & Presentations

  • In-House Benefits Counsel Network Meeting, "H&W Class Action Settlements," July 14, 2021, Presenter
  • Western Pension & Benefits Council, Denver Seminar: "Benefits Issues in Mergers and Acquisitions," September 12, 2019, Speaker
  • American Bar Association, "Business Law Basics” Webinar Series - Employee Benefits, April 28, 2016; Panelist
  • Presentation to large multinational client embarking on merger and acquisition activities: "Employee Benefits Merger and Acquisitions Issues", March 1, 2016, Speaker
  • American Bar Association, San Francisco, CA, "Employee Benefit Basics for Business Attorneys," April 17, 2015; Panelist
  • Western Pension & Benefits Council, Orange County, CA: "Benefits Outsourcing Contracts," October 22, 2015; Speaker
  • ERISA Fiduciary Refresher: Vendor Fee Disclosure, December 16, 2014 (Presentation)
  • Tax Executives Institute, Orange County Chapter: "Employee Benefits Merger and Acquisition Issues," April 2, 2014
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