Doug Heffernan solves employee benefits and executive compensation challenges for employers and providers of financial products and services. He helps design plans and programs to accomplish the client’s objectives while minimizing risk. Doug offers creative solutions to fix operational problems that inevitably occur.

Employee Benefits Plans

Doug helps employers design and administer:
  • Qualified defined benefit pension plans (including "cash balance" plans)
  • Profit sharing and stock bonus plans (including 401(k) plans) and money purchase pension plans
  • Nonqualified deferred compensation plans (including 409A compliance)
  • Health, disability and life insurance plans

Multiemployer Pension Plans

Doug counsels employers on multiemployer pension plan matters, including withdrawal liability. He has worked for many years with the Twin Cities hospitals on multiemployer pension plans for nurses and other hospital workers. He assists with collective bargaining negotiations regarding pension matters and ongoing administration matters for the multiemployer pension plans.

Tax-Exempt, Church and Governmental Employer Plans

Doug has experience with qualified 401(a) church and governmental plans, 403(b) tax sheltered annuities and 403(b)(7) custodial accounts, and 457 deferred compensation issues.

ERISA Litigation, Fiduciary Duties and Prohibited Transactions

Doug counsels clients to resolve problems regarding ERISA fiduciary duties and prohibited transactions, represents clients in Department of Labor and IRS investigations, and works with Faegre Drinker’s litigators in ERISA litigation.

Corporate Sales or Acquisitions or Other Organization Changes

Doug analyzes employee benefit issues arising from corporate sales or acquisitions, or other corporate organization changes, and "affiliated service group" and "leased employee" issues arising from joint ventures.

ERISA Investments

Doug advises investment advisors and fund managers on ERISA plan asset issues and prohibited transactions, including responding to IRS and Department of Labor investigations.


Bar Admissions


Court Admissions

U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota


Cornell Law School
J.D. cum laude (1982)

Cornell University
A.B. cum laude (1979)

Insights & Events

Other Perspectives
  • Can ChatGPT Be Your ERISA Counsel?
    Republished by the National Association of Plan Advisors, April 10, 2024
  • Final DOL Investment Advice Fiduciary Rules
    Co-author, BISA OneSource, April 7, 2017 
  • Strategy Review — The Impact of the DOL Fiduciary Rule on Key Insurance Company Functional Areas
    CEFLI DOL Fiduciary Rule Summit Meeting, Washington, D.C, May 2016
  • Fiduciary Risk and Plan Governance
    2016 Advanced Employee Benefits Workshop, Minneapolis, February 2016
  • Current Issues Affecting the Insurance Industry — DOL Fiduciary Proposal
    ALIC Regional Insurance Counsel Roundtable, Minneapolis, September 2015
  • How the Proposed Changes to the DOL Fiduciary Definition Will Affect You
    Bank Insurance & Securities Association Webinar, May 2015
  • What’s Next After Dudenhoeffer
    Co-presenter, 35th Annual Advanced Employee Benefits Workshop, Minneapolis, February 2015
  • ERISA Fiduciary Best Practices
    Minneapolis Pension Council, March 2014
  • Pending Legislation and Court Cases Affecting Employee Benefit Plans
    Twin Cities Chapter of the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists, Minneapolis, March 2013

Firm Blog Contributions

  • Spotlight on Benefits – a blog offering practical insight on legal developments which impact benefit plans

Leadership & Community

Professional Associations

  • Great Lakes Area Tax Exempt/Government Entities (TE/GE) Council
  • Minnesota State Bar Association — Employee Benefits Section (Past Chair)
  • National Association of College and University Attorneys
  • Midwest Pension Conference
  • Minneapolis Pension Council — Past President


  • Best Lawyers® — Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2001-24 (Minnesota Employee Benefits Lawyer of the Year, 2015, 2019, 2024)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated
The Faegre Baker Daniels website uses cookies to make your browsing experience as useful as possible. In order to have the full site experience, keep cookies enabled on your web browser. By browsing our site with cookies enabled, you are agreeing to their use. Review Faegre Baker Daniels' cookies information for more details.