Overview

Toni focuses her practice in the areas of ERISA, employee benefits, and executive compensation. She has over 25 years of legal experience in establishing, revising and terminating benefit plans and executive compensation programs to address business needs and changes in federal law. Toni also counsels clients on administering benefit plans and executive compensation programs to comply with ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code.  She draws on her pre-law school experience as a certified public accountant and an in-house tax specialist working with employee plans to help clients find practical, real world solutions to employee benefit plan design, administration, and communication challenges.

From 2006 through 2009, she served on the Employee Benefits Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. From 2002 to 2005, she served on the Department of Labor’s Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans under U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and was chair of the Council’s 2005 Working Group on Communications to Retirement Plan Participants. She has been a frequent speaker and writer on employee benefits and executive compensation topics.

Toni earned her J.D., cum laude, from Wayne State University Law School in 1995. She received a M.S. in Taxation with distinction from Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration in 1990, and a B.A., with high distinction, from Wayne State University in 1982.

Honors & Recognition

Honored as a Lawyer of the Year in Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law by Best Lawyers (2023)

Named leader in Michigan Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation - Chambers USA (2017-2022) 

Named one of the Best Lawyers in America (2013-2023)

Associate Editor of the Wayne Law Review, awarded Order of the Coif

Credentials

Education

  • Wayne State University Law School
  • Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration
  • Wayne State University

Admissions – Court

Admissions – State

Professional & Civic

Professional Activities

Certified Public Accountant (Michigan, 1990) 

State Bar of Michigan

News & Insights

External News & Publications

"Healthcare Flexible Savings Accounts: 'Use-It-Or-Lose-It' Rule Modified," RBMA Monthly Legal Update Digest December 2013

"What does DOMA's (partial) demise mean for your benefit plans?" RBMA Monthly Legal Update Digest August 2013

"Health Care Reform: Practical Steps for Employers," RBMA Monthly Legal Update Digest March 2013

"Employer 'Pay or Play' Mandate in 2014 – Will it Apply to Your Business?," RBMA Monthly Legal Update Digest February 2013

"Health Care Reform: It's the Law!," RBMA Monthly Legal Update Digest December 2012

"Attention Employers: Is your company in compliance with the Affordable Care Act? Are you prepared for future compliance deadlines?," RBMA Monthly Legal Update Digest August 2012

"Attorney advises benefits pros on nuts and bolts of fee disclosure rules," quoted in Employee Benefit News, March 7, 2012

"Tough Economy Creates Tough Decisions for Pension Plans," RBMA Monthly Legal Update Digest December 2011

“Pay Packages – Deferred Compensation, Busted Firms,” published on Forbes.com Financial Advisor Network, October 24, 2008 

“Pension Protection Act of 2006: Mandates and Options for Retirement Plans,” 4-page “Legal Report” published by the Society for Human Resource Management, October 2006 

“Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans: Code Section 409A Imposes New Requirements,” 8-page “Legal Report” published by the Society for Human Resource Management, March 2005

“New COBRA notice regulations: What you need to know to avoid costly penalties,” published in Detroiter magazine, April 1, 2005

Drafted and submitted comments to U.S. Department of Labor on Proposed Regulations establishing an Automatic Rollover Safe Harbor on behalf of the Society for Human Resource Management, March 2004

Contributed to comments submitted to U.S. Department of Labor on Proposed Regulations implementing COBRA notice requirements by the Society for Human Resource Management, July 2003

Drafted response to U.S. Department of Labor Request for Information on Automatic Rollovers from Pension Benefit Plans for submission by the Society for Human Resource Management, February 2003

Events

Speaking Engagements

“Using Electronic Methods to Satisfy ERISA Disclosure Requirements,” concurrent session at 65th Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference and Exposition, June 19, 2013

“Oops, I Did It Again! Correcting Qualified Plan Mistakes with EPCRS,” concurrent session at 65th Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference and Exposition, June 17, 2013

“Health Care Reform: Practical Points for Employers,” presentation to The Presidents Forum, Chicago, June 12, 2013

 “ERISA Basics – What Your Benefit Plans Need You to Know,” concurrent session at 64th Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference and Exposition, June 25, 2012

 “ERISA Update: Keeping Your Benefit Plans (and You!) Out of Trouble,” concurrent session at Society for Human Resource Management 2012 Employment Law & Legislative Conference, March 6, 2012

"ERISA and Other 'Myths': Debunking Benefit Plan Urban Legends," 2011 Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference, June 29, 2011

"Section 409A Strategies: The Basics and Beyond," BNA Tax & Accounting Webinar Presentation with Michael Riley, November 4, 2010

“FSAs, HRAs, HSAs: The Alphabet Soup of Defined Contribution Health Care Plans,” concurrent session at 59th Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference and Exposition 

“More Stupid COBRA Tricks!,” concurrent session at 59th Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference and Exposition, June 25, 2007 

“New Tools for Helping Employees Save for Retirement,” concurrent session at 24th Society for Human Resource Management Employment Law and Legislative Conference, March 12, 2007 

“Pension Protection Act of 2006: New Tools to Help Employees Save for Retirement,” concurrent sessions at 2006 Society for Human Resource Management Strategic HR Conference, October 5-6, 2006 

“Legal Introduction to and Overview of the Pension Protection Act of 2006,” one-hour webcast sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management, September 19, 2006 

“It May Be Healthy, But Is It Legal?,” concurrent session on employer wellness initiatives and incentives at 58th Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference and Exposition, June 26, 2006

“What Do You Do After ‘I Do’? Benefits for Employees’ Same-Sex Spouses,” concurrent session at 57th Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference and Exposition, June 21, 2005 

“Hey! Who Are You Calling a Fiduciary?,” concurrent session at 56th Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference and Exposition, June 30, 2004 

“The New COBRA Regulations,” one-hour webcast sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management, June 16, 2004 

“COBRA Notice Regulations: Something Old, Something New,” concurrent sessions at 21st Society for Human Resource Management Employment Law and Legislative Conference, March 9-10, 2004 

“COBRA Compliance,” 3-hour continuing education class designed for American Society of Employers, taught six times annually, 2000 through 2003 

“An SOS for Summary Plan Descriptions,” concurrent session at 55th Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference and Exposition, June 24, 2003 

“Stupid COBRA Tricks,” concurrent session at 54th Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference and Exposition, June 24, 2002

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