Experienced Trial and Appeals Litigators to Tackle High-Stakes ERISA and ESOP Matters for McDermott Clients


CHICAGOMcDermott Will & Emery announced today that Theodore (Ted) M. Becker and Richard Pearl have joined as partners in the firm’s Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Practice Group in the Chicago office. Becker and Pearl assist clients in navigating the steadily increasing litigation that targets all types of benefits plans and has put employers at heightened financial and legal risk.

Becker focuses on high-stakes Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) litigation. Former chair of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP’s Employee Benefits and ERISA Litigation Team, he has a national practice that includes arguing before the United States Supreme Court and United States Circuit Courts of Appeals, and trying complex cases and class actions in federal and state courts.

“Ted not only has outstanding credentials, he has also shown throughout his career that he is a true partner and trusted advisor to his clients—that speaks to who we are as a firm, and we couldn’t be more delighted to welcome him,” said Ira Coleman, chairman of McDermott.

Becker focuses his ERISA litigation practice on the representation of corporate plan sponsors, their directors and officers, and ERISA plan fiduciaries in litigation matters and regulatory agency investigations. This includes matters involving breach of fiduciary responsibility, improper plan termination, denial of benefits, securities fraud and unfair competition. Becker regularly serves as lead counsel in high-profile ESOP lawsuits against large plan sponsors and fiduciaries, and frequently writes and speaks on legal issues relating to ESOPs. He has been recognized by Chambers USA as one of America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, and he has also been listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in American Law.

“I’ve known Ted for many years and have had the pleasure of working with him directly as partners and as friendly competitors and watching him tackle – and win – some of the most high-profile lawsuits coming out of the recent growth in employee benefits class actions. Ted is an extremely rare combination of seasoned litigator and brilliant strategist,” said Erin Turley, partner in the firm’s Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation practice. “McDermott’s tier one employee benefits transaction and compliance practice will benefit tremendously from having such a skillful ESOP and ERISA litigator on board.”

Becker’s practice is complemented by Pearl’s experience representing companies and plan fiduciaries in ERISA litigation and counseling plan sponsors, internal and external fiduciaries, and others on ERISA insurance-procurement, insurance, and indemnification issues. He has worked on number of prominent ESOP lawsuits, including defending clients against claims for breaches of fiduciary duties and benefits due under ERISA.

“Employers trust McDermott to handle ‘bet-the-company’ matters, and Ted and Rick have a proven track record of success in complex, high-stakes litigation for clients across a range of industries, including health and life sciences and financial services,” said Todd Solomon, head of the firm’s Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Practice Group. “With employers increasingly concerned about exposure from litigation in ESOP and ERISA matters, it’s important for us to be able to offer a comprehensive package of services – from planning and audit through dispute resolution and trial and appeal.”

“McDermott’s emphasis on collaboration and commitment to challenging its lawyers to exceed expectations are particularly attractive to us,” said Becker. “We are confident our litigation experience will enrich the strong ESOP transactions and ERISA compliance work for which the firm’s Employee Benefits team is already well-known.”

About McDermott Will & Emery
McDermott Will & Emery is a premier international law firm with a diversified business practice. Numbering more than 1,000 lawyers, we have offices in Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Dallas, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Milan, Munich, New York, Orange County, Paris, San Francisco, Seoul, Silicon Valley and Washington, DC. Further extending our reach into Asia, we have a strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai.