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dlerner@wwdlaw.com



Attorney's Practice Areas

Employee Benefits



 

Deborah M. Lerner

The chair of Willig, Williams & Davidson’s employee benefits department, Deborah M. Lerner has more than 30 years of experience in tax and employee benefits law. She counsels and represents numerous public and private-sector single and multi-employer funds on a broad range of benefit and tax matters.

Deborah specializes in representing trustees of single and multi-employer pension and health and welfare plans with respect to tax, ERISA and plan administration issues. She also advises individuals regarding employment, pension and benefit matters.

Deborah also serves as an adjunct professor at Temple University Beasley School of Law, where she teaches courses in the school’s graduate tax program. She is a member of the editorial board of theJournal of Taxation of Exempt Organizations . As a lecturer, Deborah has presented for groups such as the American Bar Association, the Conference of Consulting Actuaries, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute and the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

In 2006, Deborah’s peers elected her to membership in the prestigious American College of Employee Benefit Lawyers, the highest honor afforded to a practitioner in this practice area. She has been consistently selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in the field of Employee Benefits Law (Copyright 2012 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, S.C.) since 2006. Deborah has also been consistently named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters, published annually in Philadelphia magazine, since 2004.

Deborah earned an LL.M. in taxation from Villanova University School of Law in 1986. She received the Prentice Hall Award in Federal Income Taxation and was valedictorian of her graduating class. She also earned her juris doctor from Villanova University School of Law, where she was on the moot court board and served as a teaching assistant.

Deborah is AV® rated by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell® a registered certification mark of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.

Education

  • Villanova University School of Law, LL.M., 1986
  • Villanova University School of Law, J.D., 1977
  • Bryn Mawr College, A.B., Cum Laude, 1973

Experience

  • Willig, Williams & Davidson, Partner, 1994-Present
  • Temple University Beasley School of Law, Adjunct Professor, 1999-Present
  • The Benefits Department, Partner, 1993-1994
  • Klett, Lieber, Rooney & Schorling, Of Counsel, 1993-1994
  • Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz, Senior Associate, 1986-1993
  • Joymar Corp., Vice President, 1982-1986
  • Abrahams & Lowenstein, Associate, 1978-1986
  • City of Philadelphia, Assistant City Solicitor, 1977-1978

Court Admissions

  • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 1977
  • United States District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1977
  • United States Tax Court, 1986

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association, 1977-Present; Section Labor Law and Employment Co-Chair Welfare Plans Committee of Employee Benefits Committee, 2001-present
  • International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, 1994-Present; Appointed Member of CLE Committee, 2005-2007
  • Adjunct Professor, Villanova University School of Law
  • Member, Board of Advisors of Taxation of Exempts

Honors

  • American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, Fellow, 2007-Present
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2006-2018
  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, Philadelphia Magazine, 2004-2016
  • Top Rated Lawyer, American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell, 2013

Publications

  • Chapter Editor: Employee Benefits Law, Third Edition, 2015 Cumulative Supplement, BNA Books, 2015
  • Chapter Editor: Employee Benefits Law, 2nd Edition, BNA Books, 2001
  • “IRS Rules that VEBA Can Offer Benefits Choice Outside of Cafeteria Plan Rules,” Journal of Taxation of Exempt Organizations, 2000
  • “IRS Issues Final Audit Guides For Section 403(b) Plans,” Journal of Taxation of Exempt Organizations, 2000
  • “Final COBRA Regulations Provide Helpful Guidance to Employers,” Journal of Taxation of Exempt Organizations, 1999
  • “Simplified Correction Mechanism Extended to Section 403(b) Plans,” Journal of Taxation of Exempt Organizations, 1998
  • “TRA ‘97 Mandates Changes in Employee Benefit Rules,” Journal of Taxation of Exempt Organizations, 1997 
  • “Voluntary Compliance Program,” Journal of Taxation of Exempt Organizations, 1994
  • “RRA'93 Changes Compensation Rules,” Journal of Taxation of Exempt Organizations, 1994
  • Co-author: “Deferred Compensation Arrangements are Part of an Executive's Investment for Retirement,” Taxation of Investments, 1994
  • “Unemployment Compensation Amendments Bring New Rollover and Withholding Requirements,” Journal of Taxation of Exempt Organizations, 1993
  • Co-author: “Use of Trust Assets to Pay Administrative Expenses,” Taxation of Investments, 1991
  • Co-author: “Fiduciary Issues Under ESOPs,” Taxation of Investments, 1990
  • Co-author: “Creating and Administering ESOPs,” Taxation of Investments, 1989
  • “Tax Changes Affecting Executive Compensation and Benefits,” Money World, 1987

Speaking Engagements

  • “Legislative/Regulatory Developments in the Public Sector,” 51st Annual Employee Benefits Conference, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, 2005
  • “Plan Mergers and Terminations,” Attorneys Forum on Employee Benefits, 2000
  • “The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA),” 46th Annual Employee Benefits Conference, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, Honolulu, HI, 2000
  • Participant: “Pension Roundtable,” 40th Annual Employee Benefits Conference, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, 1994

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