J.D., cum laude, SMU Dedman School of Law 
B.B.A., summa cum laude, Texas Tech University




"Selected as Best Lawyers in Dallas" D Magazine, 2008 - 2018



Named “Texas Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters, 2003 - 2017


Selected as “Best Attorneys in Texas” in Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2004 - 2018 by Best Lawyers (Woodward/White, Inc.)

James Griffin


Jim Griffin advises clients on legal issues involving employee benefit plans. He works closely with the ever-changing Internal Revenue Code and ERISA. In that work, he sees his role with clients as bringing simplicity to a complicated field so that the client’s employee benefit plan objectives may be satisfied.  Jim has more than 30 years of experience representing clients in a wide variety of employee benefit plan matters involving 401(k) plans, group benefits and incentive arrangements.

Jim’s practice includes advising clients on issues arising under the Internal Revenue Code, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and other laws. He has particular experience in the following areas:

Advising clients in matters related to executive compensation, stock option plans, and the special tax-driven arrangements that are typically provided to C level employees.

Counseling clients on IRS compliance, investments, vendor contracts, and plan administration with regard to 401(k) and pension plans
Working with clients that have tax issues with Section 409A involving nonqualified plans.

For clients that are involved in mergers, acquisitions, and investment transactions, providing assistance with evaluating tax and ERISA risk exposure, including Section 280G rules for change in control payments to executives

Counseling clients on various group and fringe benefits issues, including advising on the health insurance mandate and penalty tax provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare”.

Representing clients in controversy matters, including Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Labor (DOL) audits, investigations, examinations and voluntary compliance proceedings.

When disputes lead to litigation, Jim works closely with Scheef & Stone’s trial team to resolve the tax and ERISA issues involved in those cases.

In January 2015, Jim presented written comments on behalf of the Tax Section of the State Bar of Texas to the Texas Department of Insurance regarding rules relating to Professional Health Organizations (PEOs) sponsoring self-funded employee health benefit plans.

Court Admissions

  • United States Supreme Court
  • Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • United States Tax Court
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

Professional Involvement

  • American Bar Association – Section of Taxation, Employee Benefits Committee
  • Dallas Bar Association – Employee Benefits Committee, Secretary, Treasurer
  • Southwest Benefits Association
  • Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow

Speeches and Publications

Fiduciary Forum, John Hancock Investments and TIAA-CREF, October 2017

"Lessons from the Newest Benefits Lawsuits," International Society of Certified Employee Benefits Specialists (ISCEBS), February 2017

Trends in ERISA Litigation, American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries, November 2016

"Lessons from the Newest Benefits Lawsuits," 19th Annual Employee Benefits Seminar, July 2016

“Davidson V. Henkel: What’s Going On With Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans and FICA,” WEB Worldwide Employee Benefits Network, May 2015

Speaker: The Employee Benefit Plan Conference, May 2015

“Recent FICA Tax Cases,” Dallas Bar Association Employee Benefits/Executive Compensation Section, Dallas, April 2015

“ERISA Fiduciary Duties,” 17th Annual Whitley Penn Employee Benefits Conference, Dallas and Fort Worth, June 2014

“The Affordable Care Act and Its Impact on Business Owners,” Greater Dallas Iranian-American Chamber of Commerce, Dallas, March 2014

“Implementing Health Reform,” Condley and Company, LLP, Abilene, February 2014

“Health Reform Update,” Southwest Practice Management Group Spring Meeting, Frisco, May 2013

“New Planning Strategies for Roth Conversions,” DFW Chapter of the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists, Dallas, May 2013

“Employer Responsibility of Health Reform,” client seminar, Frost Insurance, Houston, April 2013

“Impact of Healthcare Reform on Employers,” Chairman’s Council of the Plano Chamber of Commerce, Plano, March 2013

“Healthcare Reform: Implementation Strategies for Employers,” panel discussion, Network of Vertafore Users Conference (NetVU), Grapevine, March 2013

“American Taxpayer Relief Act,” Dallas Bar Association Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Law Section, Dallas, March 2013

“Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” St. Thomas More Society of the Diocese of Dallas, February 2013

“Health Reform After the Election: Getting Ready for 2014,” client seminar, Frost Insurance, Dallas, February 2013

“Proposed Regulations of Healthcare Reform,” client presentation, Southwest Business Corporation, San Antonio, December 2012

"Proposed Regulations of Healthcare Reform,” client presentation, Southwest Business Corporation, San Antonio, December 2012

“Employer Healthcare Reform Challenges,” HRX Speaker Seminar, Dallas, July 2012

“Avoiding Costly 401(k) Plan Mistakes,” Fort Worth Chapter of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants’ Free CPE Day, June 2012

“ERISA Issues,” 15th Annual Conference on Employee Benefit and Retirement Plans, Fort Worth and Dallas, May 2014

“Maximizing the Tax Benefits of Retirement Plan Contributions,” Fort Worth Chapter of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants’ Employer Responsibilities Seminar, Fort Worth, Texas

“Employee Benefit Plan Tax Qualification & Compliance In Mergers & Acquisitions,” Gulf Coast Area TEGE Council Employee Benefits & Exempt Organizations Enforcement & Compliance Summer 2011 Meeting, Dallas, July 2011

“Employee Benefit Plan Audit Issues,” panel discussion, 14th Annual Whitley Penn Employee Benefits Conference, Dallas and Fort Worth, May 2011

“Federal and State Tax Law Changes,” Dallas/Fort Worth Association Executives, Dallas, April 2011

“Upcoming Developments in Health Reform,” Dallas Human Resources Management Association, Dallas, April 2011

“Notice Requirements for Plan Administrators of 401(k) Plans,” 13th Annual Employee Benefit Conference, Fort Worth, June 2010

“Electronic Filing of Form 5500 Employee Benefit Plan Reports,” client training seminar, Wischmeyer Benefit Partners, Dallas, Texas, May 2010

“Recent COBRA Cases,” client presentation, Tempe, Arizona, March 2010

“Correcting Mistakes in 401(k) Plans,” Employee Benefits and Compliance Seminar, Dallas, March 2010

“The Four Big Things Plans are STILL Doing Wrong in 2010 and How to Correct Them Before the IRS Does,” Retirement Plan Breakfast & Learn 2010 Regulatory Update, Dallas, March 2010

T:(214) 706-4209

Dallas Office

Ph (214) 706-4200
Fx (214) 706-4242
500 North Akard Street
Suite 2700
Dallas, Texas 75201