Rich McHugh is a specialist in all areas of employee benefits law, including qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, incentive compensation programs, ESOPs and health and welfare benefit plans, with considerable experience handling employee benefit plan issues in the context of mergers and acquisitions, takeovers and dispositions.  He is a member of the firm’s Employment and Human Capital Management Practice Group.

With over 30 years of legal experience, Mr. McHugh also provides consultation and advice regarding legislative and regulatory developments affecting the employee benefits industry, including retirement, health care and executive compensation matters and related human resource issues.  He has extensive expertise in the area of employment arrangements, including employment agreements, and executive compensation, including stock-based compensation programs, golden parachutes and incentive compensation programs.  Mr. McHugh is a frequent lecturer before industry and professional groups on various employee benefit matters, has served as a speaker before governmental agencies on employee benefit matters, and has published numerous articles on employee benefits matters.

Representative Experience

  • Advised clients of various sizes and in a variety of industries as to the choice, design and administration of retirement plans, including both tax-qualified and non-qualified plans
  • Advised clients regarding the design an administration of health and welfare plans and programs, including as to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act
  • Advised clients as to disposition of employee benefit plans and programs in the context of corporate mergers and acquisitions
  • Advised affected companies on ERISA fiduciary roles and responsibilities regarding employee benefit plans, including the newly released expanded fiduciary regulations
  • Advised clients on the design and administration of various forms of deferred compensation plans, whether or not stock-based, including compliance with the provisions of IRC Section 409A
  • Advised clients on the impact of both proposed and final legislation and regulations affecting the employee benefits industry

Honors & Awards

  • Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
  • Washington D.C. Super Lawyers (Employee Benefits)

Publications and Speeches

  • Speaker, “Washington Legal and Regulatory Update,” Dimensional Funds Advisors Defined Contribution Conference 2016, July, 201
  • Co-speaker, “ESOPS – A Valuable Tool For The Closely-Held Business,” webinar sponsored by Lorman Education Services, March, 2016
  • Co-Author, “Litigation Update: Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans,” Bloomberg BNA Pension and Benefits Daily, May, 2015
  • Co-speaker, “How Investment Decision-Making Is Altered by the Evolving Fee Landscape,” Pensions & Investments East Coast Defined Contribution Conference, March, 2015
  • Speaker, “A Primer on the Approach to Retirement Plan Negotiations,” Defined Contribution Insights, Plan Sponsor Counsel of America, October, 2014
  • Speaker, “Impact of Mergers &Acquisitions on Retirement Plans,” Plan Sponsor Council Of America 67th Annual National Conference, September, 2014
  • Speaker, “ERISA: From Fiduciary Duty to Disclosures,” IA Compliance Best Practices Summit, March, 2014
  • Speaker, “Health Care Reform: An Employer Roadmap,” ObamaCare Accounting & Tax Forum 2013 sponsored by the Center for Professional Education, August, 2013
  • Testimony on behalf of the Plan Sponsor Council of America before the ERISA Advisory Council “Locating Missing and Lost Participants,” June, 2013
  • Co-author, “Qualified Plans—Treatment in Mergers, Acquisitions and Other Corporate Transactions, ” BNA Tax Management Portfolio #364
  • Co-author, “Application of Code Section 409A to Employment Relationships: Tax Law Meets Employment Law,” Compensation and Benefits Review

Civic Involvement

  • Board of Directors member and pro bono counsel, Washington Ireland Program
  • Member, Board of Directors (Vice President), Birches Homeowners Association, Inc. (Arlington, Virginia)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • District of Columbia Bar Association (Member, Employee Benefits Committee)
  • American Bar Association (Member, Tax Section and Employee Benefits Committee)
  • Member, Southern Employee Benefits Conference (President, 2001)
  • American Benefits Council (Member, Retirement and Investment Policy Committee)


Georgetown University, A.B., Economics with Departmental Honors

  • cum Laude
  • Alpha Sigma Nu (National Jesuit Honor Society)

Georgetown University Law Center, J.D.

Previous Experience

  • Dow Lohnes PLLC, Partner
  • Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP, Partner
  • Plan Sponsor Council of America, Vice President, Washington Affairs


  • District of Columbia

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