Christine M. Kong

Partner

Overview

Christine Kong is the go-to adviser for corporate and tax-exempt entities on retirement, employee-benefit and executive-compensation plans, particularly in the context of corporate transactions. Clients value her exceptional breadth and depth of knowledge. In addition to advising on employee benefits in corporate transactions, Chris assists employers with the design and implementation of new plans, plan mergers, and plan terminations. She also addresses operational compliance issues for employers and represents employers when their employee benefit plans are the subject of federal audit or investigation.

For-Profit Plan Sponsors

Chris identifies and advises on employee benefit issues arising in corporate transactions so that clients can proactively address transactional and legal constraints impacting their employee benefit programs and the post-closing integration of benefit plans. When representing clients before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) in retirement plan audits and investigations, she has achieved significant reductions in proposed sanctions.

Chris also counsels employers on the design and administration of virtually every type of employee retirement, deferred compensation and incentive plan, including:

  • 401(k) plans, profit-sharing plans, money-purchase plans and defined-benefit pension plans
  • Cash and equity-based incentive plans
  • Change of control, bonus and retention arrangements
  • Severance arrangements
  • Plans and arrangements subject to Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code
  • Proxy disclosures and prospectuses for compensation arrangements

Tax-Exempt Plan Sponsors

Chris similarly advises tax-exempt employers on corporate transactions, including affiliations, member substitutions and joint ventures and the related impacts on employee benefit plans. Her work with tax-exempt employers includes the drafting of plans and participant communications; advising on plan governance, plan mergers and plan terminations; and counseling clients on the design and administration of plans, including:

  • 403(b) and 401(k) plans
  • 401(a) defined contribution plans, including money purchase plans
  • Defined benefit pension plans
  • “Eligible” 457(b) plans and “ineligible” 457(f)/409A plans

Chris previously was a law clerk to the Honorable J. Sydney Hoffman of the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

Representative Experience

  • Represented an NYSE listed manufacturer of over-the-counter drugs with executive compensation, equity compensation, and employee benefit issues arising in connection with its acquisition of an Irish corporation in a corporate inversion cash and stock deal valued at approximately $8.6 billion
  • Represented a tax-exempt health care system with executive compensation and employee benefit issues arising in its affiliation with a leading non-profit healthcare provider in a transaction valued at approximately $1 billion
  • Represented a tax-exempt health care system with executive compensation and employee benefit issues arising in a member substitution and asset acquisition from an NYSE listed healthcare system in a transaction valued at approximately $425 million
  • Represented a NASDAQ listed retailer with employee benefit matters arising in a sale valued at approximately $890 million
  • Negotiated an ERISA Section 4062(e) settlement agreement with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation on behalf of the sponsor of a defined benefit pension plan in a going-concern asset sale to a publicly-traded health care system
  • Represented a plan sponsor before the Internal Revenue Service in the audit of its defined contribution and nonqualified plans, resulting in an 80% reduction of the Service’s proposed sanction of $2.5 million
  • Represented clients with qualified plan matters that include the addition of cash balance provisions to a frozen defined benefit pension plan, the termination of plans (including defined benefit pension plans, money purchase pension plans and 401(k) plans), and the post-closing integration and design of defined contribution plans

Personal Interests

Chris enjoys theater, dance, travel, and “bareboat” sailing.

Credentials

Bar Admissions

New Jersey
New York
Pennsylvania

Education

Villanova University School of Law
LL.M. in Taxation (1997)

Villanova University School of Law
J.D. Villanova Law Review (1995)

Arizona State University
B.S. (1991)

Insights & Events

Leadership & Community

Firm Leadership

  • Hiring Committee 
  • Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP — Vice Chair, Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group, 2016-19
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