June 29, 2012
Tess J. Ferrera has joined Schiff Hardin LLP’s Washington, D.C., office as a partner in the Litigation and Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Groups.
Ms. Ferrera has more than 20 years of experience counseling and litigating matters involving fiduciary obligations and prohibited transactions under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
She has represented the ERISA legal needs of a diverse group of clients, including insurance companies, mutual funds, trade association multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs), professional employer organizations, investment committees, single employers, Davis-Bacon plans and court-appointed independent fiduciaries.
Ms. Ferrera frequently advises clients and defends them in litigation on a variety of issues pertaining to ERISA fiduciary obligations, including the permissible use of plan assets, fiduciary considerations in making investment decisions, fiduciary obligations in selecting and monitoring service providers, and fiduciary obligations in negotiating vendor contracts.
She also advises clients on ERISA’s prohibited transactions provisions, helping them determine whether an exemption is available, and, when necessary, how to fix prohibited transactions. Ms. Ferrera has an extensive track record advising clients that are under Department of Labor (DOL) investigations.
Prior to entering private practice, Ms. Ferrera worked for six years as a trial attorney for the Department of Labor, representing the Secretary of Labor in federal courts in numerous states litigating cases alleging violations of ERISA’s fiduciary and prohibited transaction provisions.
She graduated from Georgetown University Law Center (J.D., 1990) and George Washington University (B.A., Psychology, 1980).