FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
Jennifer A. Kraft

Jennifer A. Kraft

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Chicago, IL, USA


Jennifer Kraft is a partner in the Employee Benefits Department and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Welfare Benefits Practice Group at Seyfarth Shaw LLP. With broad experience assisting Fortune 500 companies with all aspects of their employee benefits plans, she helps clients understand the myriad of complex laws impacting employee benefits, translating technical regulations and government agency guidance to assist clients in making legally sound business decisions.   

Ms. Kraft is a member of the firm's cross-departmental Health Care Reform Team.  This team of firm lawyers from different practice areas works together to assess the different ways health care reform will impact our clients and create cutting-edge strategies for a holistic response.  Ms. Kraft has guided clients in the design and administration of their health plans as this area of the law has unfolded so they may adhere to today’s standards while preparing for an unknown future.  Ms. Kraft also helps clients consider alternatives for keeping health care costs contained such as the implementation of health savings accounts and wellness programs in light of a shifting legal landscape.

Ms. Kraft is frequently quoted on health care reform issues in publications as diverse as CNN Money, Yahoo! Finance, National Law Journal, Law360, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Business Insurance, Corporate Counsel, Benefits Pro, Modern Healthcare and Scrip.

Ms. Kraft has been specially trained on the SeyfarthLean process and is one of the Seyfarth lawyers responsible for training the Firm's entire workforce regarding this approach to serving Firm clients. Dedicated to delivering increased value to our clients at a time of increased market pressures and competitive demands, the firm created the SeyfarthLean approach, which utilizes Lean Six Sigma and project management methodologies.  Seyfarth’s commitment to delivering legal services in a new way, with an emphasis on value and continuous improvement, has been praised by the Association of Corporate Counsel as being “five years ahead of every other AmLaw 200 firm.”  Ms. Kraft has worked with clients to create cost-effective solutions using the SeyfarthLean tools and incorporates these concepts into her daily practice. 

Ms. Kraft has advised clients on the design and ongoing administration of their qualified retirement plans (401(k) plans, traditional defined benefit and cash balance plans).  Her experience in this area includes addressing plan compliance issues through the IRS voluntary correction procedures, significant plan merger projects, responding to changing disclosure requirements, negotiating vendor contracts and facilitating the transition to new recordkeepers.  

Ms. Kraft has also helped numerous clients deal with changes in the economy by designing and implementing severance plans, as well as helping protect against ERISA litigation through advising on fiduciary structure and process.

Ms. Kraft frequently presents to various industry groups including the hotel, restaurant, manufacturing and service industries on health care reform and how this quickly evolving area of the law impacts health plan design and administration.  She has also recently presented at national conferences for the American Health Lawyers Association, as well as the national Society for Human Resources Management Conference and Exhibition.

Ms. Kraft is very active in civic and pro bono activities.  She is a former recipient of the Volunteer of the Year award from CARPLS (the Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for Legal Services).  She is the co-founder of the Mentoring Circles Program sponsored by the Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women.  She has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women since 2009, currently serving as the Committee Chair. She has previously served as the organization’s Mentoring Circles Chair, Programming Chair and the Committee Vice Chair.

Education

J.D., University of Minnesota, magna cum laude (1996)
Order of the Coif

B.A., University of Michigan, with distinction (1993)

Certified Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt

Admissions

Illinois

Publications

Co-Author, “Issue 75: Agencies Issue FAQs on Cost-Sharing Limits, Wellness Programs, and Other Topics,” Health Care Reform Management Alert, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (January 22, 2014)

Co-Author, “IRS Issues Year-End Guidance on Pre-Tax Elections Post-Windsor,” Management Alert, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (December 30, 2013)

Co-Author, “Issue 62: More Guidance On “Minimum Value” - Not All Wellness Incentives Considered,” Client Alert, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (May 15, 2013)

Co-Author, “Issue 58: IRS Employer Mandate Clarification Spells Relief for Employers Contributing to Multiemployer Plans,” Health Care Reform Management Alert, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (March 15, 2013)

“Issue 57: Affordable Care Act Self-Compliance Tool for Pre-2014 Changes,” Health Care Reform Management Alert, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (March 13, 2013)

Co-Author, “Issue 54: OSHA Announces Procedures for Handling Whistleblower Complaints Under the Affordable Care Act,” Health Care Reform Management Alert, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (March 4, 2013)

Co-Author, “Issue 53: Final Rules Issued on Essential Health Benefits, Actuarial and Minimum Valuation,” Health Care Reform Management Alert, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (February 27, 2013)

Co-Author, “Issue 48: How Will the Employer Penalty in 2014 Work? Employer Shared Responsibility Proposed Regulations Issued,” Health Care Reform Management Alert, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (January 4, 2013)

Co-Author, Fiscal Cliff NO. 4: Will the Fiscal Cliff Negotiations Impact Whether an Employer Owes a Penalty Under Health Care Reform?” Management Alert, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (December 20, 2012)

Co-Author, “Issue 44: Wellness Programs Under the Affordable Care Act - New Agency Guidance - Issue 44,” Health Care Reform Management Alert, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (November 26, 2012)

Co-Author, “Issue 41: Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act’s Individual Mandate; Limits Medicaid Enforcement Mechanism,” Health Care Reform Management Alert, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (June 29, 2012)

Filed Supreme Court amicus brief on behalf of the National Restaurant Association regarding the severability of the individual mandate from the other provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub. L. No. 111-148, 124 Stat. 119 (2010), as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, Pub L. No. 111-152, 124 Stat. 109 (2010) (collectively, the “Act”) (2012)

Co-author, “Issue 27: New October 14th Deadline for Medicare Part D Creditable Coverage Notice,” Health Care Reform Management Alert, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (September 21, 2011)

Presentations

“Planning for Healthcare Reform,” Women’s President Organization (November 2013)

“Affordable Care Act: Update on the Employer Mandate for 2015,” E-PAY Systems Inc. (October 2013)

“Ready for Obamacare? What employers need to know as deadlines loom in the Affordable Care Act,” Inland Press Association Webinar (October 2013)

“The Affordable Care Act (ACA): The Ongoing Health Reform Shake-Up for Payors, Providers and Employers,” The American Health Lawyers Association at the Workers Compensation Institute (August 2013)

“The Dash to 2014: The Scramble to Implement Health Reform in Individual and Group Health Coverage,” American Health Lawyers Association Annual Meeting (July 2013)

“Details of the Affordable Care Act and Its Impact on Builders,” Builders Association, Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America Spring Summit (May 2013)

“Affordable Care Act – The Economics,” Media Financial Management Association (May 2013)

“Planning For Health Care Reform for Small- to Mid-Sized Businesses,” Seyfarth Shaw webinar (May 2013)

“Non-Health Welfare Plan Issues and Trends for Plan Administrators,” Seyfarth Shaw 3rd Annual ERISA Roundtable: Health & Welfare Benefits (May 2013)

“ERISA & Employee Benefits Litigation: What Every In-House Counsel And Human Resources Professional Needs to Know Now,” Seyfarth Shaw Breakfast Briefing (March 2013)

“Health Care Reform After the Election: Will You Owe A Penalty in 2014?” Seyfarth Shaw webinar (December 2012)

“Health Care Reform Update: Impacts for Employers,” McGladrey Alliance Human Resources Roundtable (August 2012)

“Health Care Reform After the Supreme Court Decision -- What Employers Need to Know for Compliance, Transactions and Executive Compensation,” Practising Law Institute webinar (August 2012)

“Full Steam Ahead on Health Care Reform,” Seyfarth Shaw webinar (July 2012)

“Supreme Court Upholds the Affordable Care Act -- What It Means for Employers and the Future of Health Care in the U.S.” Seyfarth Shaw webinar (June 2012)

“Supreme Court Upholds the Affordable Care Act -- What It Means for Employers,” National Restaurant Association webinar (June 2012)

“Health Care Reform Supreme Court Oral Argument Debriefing: Implications for Employers,” Seyfarth Shaw webinar (March 2012)

“Health Care Reform Supreme Court Oral Argument Debriefing: Implications for Employers,” National Restaurant Association webinar (March 2012)

“Health Care Reform: Preparing for 2012 Open Enrollment and Beyond,” Inland Press Association webinar (July 2011)

"An Employers' Guide to Health Care Reform," Society for Human Resources Management Annual Conference and Exposition (June 2011)

"Critical Healthcare Reform and Implementation Measures - When it is Happening and Issues to Watch," American Health Lawyers Association seminar, "Healthcare Reform: The Law and Its Implications" (December 2010)

“Breast Cancer Legal Advocacy Workshop: ERISA Issues,” Chicago Bar Association seminar (October 2010)

“What Business Owners Must Know About The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” American Health Lawyers Association and PNC Bank Small Business Webinar (October 2010)

“Health Care Reform Six Months Later,” Seyfarth Shaw webinar (October 2010)

“Health Care Reform – Overview for the Human Resources Generalist,” Human Resources Management Association of Chicago seminar (September 2010)

“How New Health Care Regulations Will Affect You,” Society for Human Resources Management Texarkana Health Care Summit (June 2010)

“Health Care Reform: What It Means for Collective Bargaining,” Seyfarth Shaw webinar (June 2010)

“An Employer’s Guide to Health Care Reform for the Newspaper Industry,” Inland Press Association webinar (June 2010)

“An Employer’s Guide to Health Care Reform for the Plastics Industry,” SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association webinar (May 2010)

“Health Care Reform: How It Will Impact the Hospitality Industry,” American Hotel and Lodging Association webinar (May 2010)

Affiliations

Chicago Bar Association, Co-Chair of the Alliance for Women

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