Areas of Focus
“Successful companies want to take care of their employees by offering them competitive compensation, short-term and long-term incentive awards, a retirement savings plan, and medical coverage. I help realize these goals while always looking to protect my clients.”
Mark Bokert, co-chair of the Benefits + Compensation Practice Group, is a leading attorney for all aspects of executive compensation and employee benefits. He advises on wide-ranging matters from incentivizing key employees to plan compliance and administration to multimillion-dollar IRA and pension investments. His clients include large public companies, private mid-size companies, C-suite executives and tax-exempt organizations, many of which he has represented for decades.
Mark derives immense satisfaction from guiding companies and executives through the very complex maze of compensation and benefits laws. Deeply immersed in the world of employee benefits, he knows the market standards, what government audits prioritize and where litigation landmines are buried. Even when the stakes are highest, Mark takes a calm, measured approach, presenting options to help clients achieve goals and minimize risk.
Fluent in “Codespeak,” the language of the Internal Revenue Code, and clear on the interplay of the many laws governing employee benefits, Mark breaks down complex legal concepts into clear terms and deftly steers clients through audits and inquiries. He structures state-of-the-art deferred-compensation arrangements, stock awards, and phantom stock plans, as well as complex employment and separation agreements. Mark also meets with plan committees many times a year, counseling them on their ERISA fiduciary duties and covering such hot topics as cybersecurity and socially responsible investing.
During the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, Mark sprang into action, participating in webinars and writing articles to update clients on evolving compensation/benefits issues. He was in daily communication with employers regarding the treatment of laid-off and furloughed employees, deferred-salary payments, and CARES Act distributions. Later, he advised companies on how to retain, motivate and reward returning employees.
Created the primary non-qualified deferred compensation vehicle through which holding company executives across all operating companies and businesses can defer base salary and bonuses and through which the company can provide deferred incentives. Handling compliance with Section 409A across all operating companies and businesses.
Counseling a global media, marketing and corporate communications holding company's benefit committee overseeing 401(k) and pension plans having assets of approximately $4 billion. Ensuring compliance with ERISA fiduciary duties, including selecting and monitoring plan investments and service providers, plan fees and DOL audits.
Handling all aspects of employee benefits, including compliance with ERISA fiduciary duties, retirement plan compliance, and health and welfare issues for a private equity firm with $53 billion of assets under management.
Handled multiemployer plan withdrawal liability issues and procurement of bonds in connection with a real estate private equity firm’s acquisition and sale of hotels and office buildings.
Acting as special executive compensation counsellor for board of trustees who approve bonuses and pay increases for executive officers. Advising on compliance with IRC Sections 4958 and 4960 and drafted CEO employment contract and executive bonus plan in collaboration with labor counsel.
Handling all aspects of employee benefits for a tax-exempt organization, including compliance with 403(b) and 457. Converted traditional pension and cash balance plan to a variable annuity plan. Regularly advising on health and welfare issues.
Insights + Events
- Alert The IRS Releases Grab Bag Guidance on the SECURE 2.0 Act
February 1, 2024
- Publication Employee Relations Law Journal | The Need for Employers To Get ”Control” of IRS Controlled Group Rules
January 24, 2024
- Event Strafford Webinar | “Cybersecurity and ERISA Retirement Plans: Risks and Best Practices for Plan Sponsors and Fiduciaries”
October 25, 2023
- Publication Employee Relations Law Journal | ESG Investing by ERISA Plan Fiduciaries: The Saga Continues
October 16, 2023
- Event D+G Hosted Event | Protecting Your Business: How to Implement and Enforce Post-employment Obligations in a Hostile Regulatory World
October 4, 2023
- Publication Employee Relations Law Journal | Milestone Retirement Reform Arrives: Key Provisions of SECURE 2.0
May 25, 2023
- Event Strafford Webinar | Avoiding Employee Benefits Pitfalls When Making Workforce Reductions: Section 409A, 401(k) Plans, Health and Welfare Plans
April 18, 2023
- Publication Employee Relations Law Journal | Plan Fee Litigation: The Tide May Be Turning in Favor of Plan Fiduciaries
March 13, 2023
- Alert Employee Benefit Considerations When Making Workforce Modifications
December 9, 2022
- Publication Employee Relations Law Journal | To Disclose or Not to Disclose: Key Takeaways from the CAA’s New Broker and Consultant Compensation Disclosure Requirements
December 6, 2022
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- St. Louis University (J.D., 1989)
- Washington University (A.B., 1986)
- New York
- District of Columbia
Member, Davis+Gilbert Retirement Plans Committee
Member, American Bar Association
― Member, Tax Section
Member, New York State Bar Association
― Member, Qualified Plans Subcommittee
Member, Advisory Board, Employee Relations Law Journal