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Jim Griffin

James Griffin



Jim Griffin works with clients on 401(k) plans and other retirement plans, as well as tax issues involving health plans, Section 125 cafeteria plans and Section 409A deferred compensation plans. Jim helps clients fix broken plans and work through audits by the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor. For more than 30 years, Jim has been helping clients solve their employee benefit problems. Jim’s clients count on him to bring practical solutions with a common sense explanation. Jim enjoys helping clients break down barriers to get positive results in the important area of employee benefits and executive compensation.

Jim has represented clients in the following areas:

  • Advising employers on 401(K) third-party administrator and recordkeeper agreements.
  • Representation in connection with IRS audit of private investments in an individual retirement account.
  • Numerous Department of Labor investigations including late deposit of 401(K) contributions.
  • Work with Section 414 controlled groups in assessing employee benefit plan coverage requirements, including ObamaCare requirements.
  • Advising investment managers on ERISA compliance issues, including the DOL Fiduciary Rule.
  • Advising employers on ERISA plan governance issues, including Committee management, charters, meeting and minutes.
  • Advising employers in connection with Section 226 letters from IRS proposing ObamaCare penalties.
  • Working with employers using government self correction programs, including the IRS’ Voluntary Compliance Program (VCP), and the Department of Labor’s Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program (DFVCP).
  • Working with individuals and executives on various tax driven issues in executive plans and employment agreements, including 409A, deferred compensation, Section 280G golden parachutes and payroll taxes.
  • American Bar Association – Section of Taxation, Employee Benefits Committee
  • Texas Bar Association—Section of Taxation, Employee Benefits Committee, Co-Chair
  • Dallas Bar Association – Employee Benefits Committee, Former Chair
  • Southwest Benefits Association
  • Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Juris Doctor, cum laude, Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law
  • Bachelor of Business Administration, summa cum laude, Texas Tech University
  • Selected in “The Best Lawyers in America” list for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, Tax Law, 2024
  • Selected in “Best Lawyers in Dallas” list, D Magazine, 2008 – 2021
  • Named in “Texas Super Lawyer” list, Thomson Reuters, 2003 – 2020
  • Selected in“Best Attorneys in Texas” list in Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2004 – 2022, Best Lawyers (Woodward/White, Inc.)
  • Jim serves on the boards of a number of community organizations, including the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority and KCBI radio. He is a member of the estate planning council at Southwestern Medical School and Children’s Medical Center and he serves on the Executive Board at the SMU Dedman School of Law. Jim is a graduate of the Dallas Regional Chamber Leadership Dallas program and was a member of the 2003 class, and he serves as a class representative to the Leadership Dallas Alumni Board.
  • Jim enjoys reading history, travel, musicals, and cycling.
  • Jim and his wife Sheila are members of First Baptist Church Dallas where he plays clarinet in the Sanctuary Orchestra.
  • Jim’s Strengthfinder strengths are: Developer, Arranger, Harmony, Relator, and Consistency.
  • Employee Benefits/ERISA
  • Executive Compensation
  • Fifth Circuit Meets the Fiduciary Rule, TEGE Gulf Coast Advisory Council, June 2018
  • Dealing With Missing Participants, Whitley Penn Employee Benefits Seminar and International Society of Certified Employee Benefits Specialists (ISCEBS), Spring 2018.
  • Highlights of the Employee Benefits Provisions of the Trump Tax Act, Dallas Bar Association, Spring 2018
  • The Tax Man Comes for the Tax Man, Dallas Bar Association Headnotes, January 2018.
  • 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
  • “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
  • State Bar of Texas
  • United States Supreme Court
  • Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • United States Tax Court
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas