Samuel J. Baldwin

Senior Associate

New York
Phone number
(212) 808-7727

Samuel Baldwin focuses his practice on employee benefits and executive compensation, with an emphasis on ERISA fiduciary compliance and advising tax-exempt entities. Sam enjoys breaking down complex regulatory requirements and applying them to support the client’s goals. He works hard to understand each client’s unique needs and challenges, and to provide clients with ongoing support in keeping up with the ever-changing demands of tax and ERISA compliance.

Sam assists clients with issues that may arise with the IRS, Department of Labor, and Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation, including corrections, audits, determination letter applications, and plan terminations.

Sam was a law clerk to Justice Donald Alexander in the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Qualified Retirement Plan and Welfare Benefit Design and Compliance

General advice related to qualified defined contribution plan design and compliance, including restating plans, reviewing plans for required amendments, drafting mandatory and discretionary amendments, and correcting qualification failures.

Review vendor-prepared welfare benefit documents and draft individually designed welfare benefit documents, including ERISA wrap plans, cafeteria plan documents, and specialty plan documents for ERISA and non-ERISA benefits.

Prepare required notices and disclosures for retirement and welfare plans.

Interpret plan provisions and regulatory requirements to facilitate day-to-day plan administration.

Advise clients on all aspects of MEWA design and compliance, including avoiding accidental MEWA formation, structuring group health plans for organizations with complex corporate structures, evaluating ERISA compliance issues related to PEOs and other contingent workers, and complying with state and federal registration and filing requirements applicable to MEWAs.

Guide clients through qualified defined contribution and defined benefit plan termination process, including plan review and amendment, preparation of required notices, communications with plan vendors, and related applications and notices to federal agencies.

Review and negotiate benefit plan service provider contracts.

Executive Compensation

Review nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements and incentive bonus programs for compliance with applicable provisions of the Code, including §§ 409A, 457(b), and 457(f).

Advise clients on top hat plan compliance, including unique issues presented by small, highly specialized medical practices and issues related to complex organizational structures.

ERISA Fiduciary Governance and Prohibited Transactions

Advise clients on identification of ERISA plan assets, compliance with ERISA in handling of assets, and avoidance of prohibited transactions under ERISA and Code § 4975.

Evaluate and structure ERISA plan service provider arrangements, including with related entities, for compliance with ERISA fiduciary requirements and prohibited transaction rules.

Conduct ERISA fiduciary check-ups” and evaluate employer fiduciary governance structures.

Develop and implement fiduciary governance structures, including establishing administrative and investment committees and drafting committee charters and investment policy statements.

The Best Lawyers in America© Ones to Watch” (Woodward/White, Inc.), Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2024.