Faegre Drinker announced today that Rick Pearl has rejoined the firm as a partner in the benefits and executive compensation practice group in the Chicago office. Pearl returns to the firm from McDermott Will & Emery, and he formerly was with Drinker Biddle & Reath from 2016-2018.
“We are thrilled to welcome Rick back to the firm,” benefits and executive compensation practice leader Sarah Bassler Millar said in a statement. “Rick’s innovative and successful approach to addressing complex ERISA issues and ESOP transactions reinforces the strength of our national team as we work to help our clients preserve their financial and reputational well-being.”
Pearl is a nationally recognized thought leader and authority on ERISA and ESOP matters. Pearl forms strategies to defend trustees, plan sponsors, boards of directors, shareholders and service providers in high-stakes and complex ERISA matters.
“Rick is a trusted adviser with a successful track record in high-stakes ERISA and ESOP litigation,” said co-leaders of the firm’s ESOP team, Jeremy Pelphrey and Phil Gutwein. “His experience working with businesses across industries on ESOP matters will be a great value to our clients as we guide them through complex ERISA and valuation issues.”
Part of Pearl’s defense strategy in ERISA and ESOP matters draws from his impressive knowledge and analysis of ERISA’s legislative history — accumulated during his yearslong research into Congress’ intent with respect to key ERISA provisions. A prolific researcher, writer and speaker, Pearl has been published in the Journal of Employee Ownership on the topic of indemnification of ERISA fiduciaries, and he has written papers and presented at national conferences and to university students on complex ERISA issues.
In addition to his practice, Pearl is a member of The ESOP Association’s Public Policy Council and Valuation Advisory Committee. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University and his Juris Doctor from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law, cum laude, top 5%.
As a full-service provider, Faegre Drinker counsels and defends clients in all types of ESOP matters — from plan adoption/termination to compliance to dispute resolution. The firm’s bench is comprised of sophisticated strategists with practical experience advising clients across the country on establishing ESOPs and adhering to corporate and plan governance best practices. They provide straightforward advice on fiduciary duties and work with clients to make sense of the regulatory maze. They help clients of all sizes — from small businesses to large corporations — navigate whatever their needs require, whether a financing, restructuring, stock purchase or sale, succession planning, or mergers and acquisitions. They also provide vigorous representation in disputes of all kinds, including high-stakes private-plaintiff class actions, as well as audits, investigations and litigation brought by the DOL and IRS.