L. SAAKVITNE is a pension attorney and professional
ERISA fiduciary in Santa Monica, California. Nick's Law Degree
is from New York University School of Law (J.D., 1976); he also
has a Masters in Taxation from New York University School of Law
(L.L.M., 1977), and he has more than 35 years experience in the
employee benefits field. He has held Martindale-Hubbell's highest
attorney rating (AV) since 1985*.
Nick is a Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefits
Counsel. For the past 8 years he has been named to the Southern
California Super Lawyers list. For many years Nick assisted companies establish
and operate tax-qualified retirement plans in conformity with
all the requirements of pension law. He worked continuously
with corporate plan sponsors and with administration firms and
other pension professionals on plan design and operation issues;
he handled many audits as well as voluntary settlement agreements
to resolve plan qualification problems and compliance issues with
Revenue Service and the U.S.
Department of Labor.
a transition from his pension practice, Nick began serving
as an ERISA fiduciary more than 15 years ago, and substantially all of his practice
currently is as a plan fiduciary. He is frequently appointed Plan Trustee
and Plan Administrator both in problem situations and for ongoing
plans (especially ESOPs), to marshal plan assets and
to effectuate plan terminations or other plan transactions.
Nick's particular expertises include ESOPs and orphan
retirement plans. [Plan
assets requiring special handling sometimes include employer
stock, trust deeds
and promissory notes, limited partnership interests, real estate,
receivables from plan sponsors, and claims against former fiduciaries].
Participant communications comprise a substantial portion of
firm's fiduciary work, and Nick and all firm staff prioritize
(and e-mails) very highly.
Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review process
that rates lawyers. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions
of members of the Bar and the Judiciary. MARTINDALE-HUBBELL ratings
fall into two categories - legal ability and general ethical standards.
Legal Ability Ratings are: A Very High to Preeminent, B High to
Very High and C Good to High. There is one general ethical standard
rating "V" or "very high" - and an attorney
must receive it in order to be rated.
as the Business Manager and Administrator of the law firm,
manages and coordinates the law firm's daily operational
components. He time manages the financial, accounting, client
services, and general administrative functions to consistently
maintain the law firm's high quality standards.
Mr. Rosebaugh has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration
and a Master's Degree in Finance. He has been a business
professional utilizing his managerial/executive skills for over
MICHELINE "MIMI" HIMES
the law firm's Orphan Plan Coordinator. An "orphan plan" is a plan
that has lost its sponsoring employer and/or its remaining
Trustees. Once Mr. Saakvitne is appointed as Trustee and Plan
Administrator for the Plan, the work of gathering information in
order to pay plan participants begins. As Orphan Plan
Coordinator, Mimi is responsible for working with the Plan's
record-keepers, custodians of the assets, third party
administrators and the Department of Labor in order to transfer the
plan assets to the individual participants. Mimi also assists
Mr. Saakvitne in the administration and implementation of court
settlements. She has a degree in Accounting and over 25 years
combined experience in retirement plan administration and
SHARON L. HERITAGE
the law firm's Benefits Coordinator. Her previous experience and two
master's degrees enable her to effectively communicate with
participants in order to assist them with benefit eligibility
questions and in completing their benefit distribution
forms. Sharon considers her personal interactions with
participants to be the most important part of her job. She is
also responsible for determining benefit eligibility, reviewing
distribution forms, maintaining distribution records
for each plan and coordinating various tax filings such as the
annual 1099R Forms.
firm has many professional contacts in the legal, pension administration
and ESOP record keeping,
actuarial, ESOP evaluation, investment and accounting professions, which it draws
on as necessary
to meet client needs.