Sarah Downie, partner in Orrick's New York office, is a member of the Compensation and Benefits Group.
Qualified and Nonqualified Plans, Executive Compensation: Ms. Downie advises plan sponsors, employers, management and executives on all aspects of compensation and benefits, including pension and welfare plan design, administration and compliance, employee benefits in mergers and acquisitions, executive employment agreements, deferred compensation and severance. She counsels plan clients in connection with compliance with various federal and state laws, including ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, COBRA, HIPAA, and federal health care reform legislation.
Plan Investment: Ms. Downie has broad experience in the area of ERISA fiduciary responsibilities and obligations and the ERISA implications of various plan investments and investment formats. This experience is the product of representing plan sponsors, plan asset managers, broker-dealers and investment bankers who provide services or investment products to employee benefit plans, including plans subject to ERISA, government and other public pension plans, and individual retirement accounts. Ms. Downie has structured investment vehicles to attract ERISA investors and counseled and negotiated on behalf of ERISA investors and public pension plan investors with respect to participation in such vehicles.
Prohibited Transactions: Ms. Downie frequently deals with the Employee Benefits Security Administration in the U.S. Department of Labor and has prepared numerous submissions to the Department of Labor including prohibited transaction exemption applications. Ms. Downie advises clients on compliance with Department of Labor exemptions, such as the "underwriter's exemption" in connection with ERISA investment in structured finance products, and the QPAM and INHAM Class Exemptions.
Governance Issues: Ms. Downie has particular expertise with respect to issues of retirement plan fiduciary governance. Ms. Downie counsels plan clients with respect to formation of plan fiduciary committees and management of plan fiduciary risk.
Prior to joining Orrick, Ms. Downie was an associate at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP in New York.
- Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Committee, New York City Bar Association
- New York State Bar Association
- Law Society of Upper Canada
- Steering Committee, Worldwide Employee Benefits, New York Chapter