Seventh National Forum

October 19-21, 2022

Baltimore, Maryland

Our Forum Planning Committee is thrilled to announce the draft agenda for our first in-person National Forum since 2019!  We have put together an informative, timely program that is not to be missed! It is packed with multiple presentations featuring the most current, challenging topics that you face in today's business environment. You will also have plenty of opportunities for in-depth discussions and networking with your fellow in-house counsel as well as many expert guest speakers.

You may register by clicking this link.



Baltimore, MD

October 19-21, 2022

[Agenda, Program Descriptions and Speakers 

will be finalized in the next month]

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Welcome Reception/Activity -- Time 6-9 pm
  • Location:        

    Mustang Alley

    1300 Bank Street, Second Floor, Baltimore MD 21231

    Phone: 410-522-2695

    If you are in town the night before the forum starts, please join fellow IBCN members to pre-game by bowling, socializing and sharing some fun food and drinks.  There is no additional charge for this event.

    Thursday, October 20, 2022

    Location:   Center Club, 100 Light Street, Baltimore MD

    8:30 – 9:00 am               Continental Breakfast

    9:00 – 9:15 am               Opening Remarks – Maureen Dry-Wasson, Allegis Group, Chair - IBCN

    9:15 – 10:15 am             Elections Have Consequences:  An Insider View of the Politics, Procedure and Policy                                           Shaping Future Employee Benefits

    Thought leaders from the American Benefits Council will share insights into what the future might hold in the employee benefits space from a policy and political standpoint and help us think about what that might mean for our clients and practices.

    Speakers: American Benefits Council -- James A. Klein, President; Lynn D. Dudley, Senior Vice President, Global Retirement & Compensation Policy; Ilyse Schuman, Senior Vice President, Health Policy; and Katy Johnson, Senior Counsel, Health Policy

  • Organizer: Charles Grandy, Eli Lilly and Company

  • 10:15 – 11:15 am           ERISA Litigation Update 

    It seems like ERISA is one of the most litigated federal statutes in existence, and that the pace of litigation is accelerating. It’s crucial for in-house practitioners to understand current case law developments and consider litigation risk when advising clients.   Our speakers will discuss some of the most important recent decisions impacting ERISA plans, provide ideas on how in-house counsel can help clients understand the implications of those decisions for their companies’ plans, and offer thoughts on emerging issues in this space.  

    Speakers: Sarah Bassler Millar (Chicago, IL) and Kim Jones (Chicago, IL), Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP

    Organizer: Jessica McNamara, IBM

    11:15am – 11:30 pm      Coffee & Networking Break

    11:30pm – 12:30 pm      M&A Benefits Topics/Developments 

    [description under construction]

    12:45 – 2:00 pm             Lunch (presentation to start after 15 minutes)

    12:30 - 1:45 pm              ERISA Navigation Post-Dobbs:  Where Are We and Where Are We Going?

    The Dobbs decision raises a myriad of complex issues for the ERISA practitioner. Join our diverse panel of speakers for a thought-provoking discussion of issues such as:

    • travel reimbursement for abortion procedures and what else companies are providing to their employees
    • What should you be negotiating with your third-party providers?
    • Litigation update and prognostication on what’s next
    • ERISA preemption of state laws
    • Constitutional law issues – state and federal
    • What other impacts may be coming (for example, transgender surgery, IVF)?

    Speakers: Laura Taylor, Eversheds Sutherland; Maureen Dry Wasson, Allegis Group; [TBD, constitutional law expert]

    Organizer: Maureen Dry-Wasson, Allegis Group

    2:15 – 3:15 pm               Fringe Benefits: What Don’t I Know?

    [description under construction]

    3:15 – 4:15 pm              Talking with Your Compensation Committee 

    There are a number of hot topics your Compensation Committee might be considering, such as ESG and the new orientation of the SEC under the Biden administration:

      • Expanded Role: Should the committee expand its role beyond compensation and benefit matters to include oversight over human capital, including diversity, inclusion, leadership development, succession planning, talent and retention?
      • Clawbacks:  What are the latest trends in clawbacks and forfeitures in light of a company’s potential reputational or operational harm?
      • Recent SEC Reuglatory Activity--clawbacks, pay-for-performance,10b5-1 plans, insider trading disclosure and spring-loaded awards
      • Non-GAAP Metrics: There is an evolving discussion on adjustments to metrics in incentive plans –how to balance the interests of management, investors and proxy advisory firms.
      • ESG Metrics: With more and more companies adopting non-financial metrics and investors wanting to see metrics tied to corporate responsibility, when does it make sense to incorporate ESG metrics into an incentive plan design?

      Speakers: Julia Thompson and Maj Vaseghi, Latham & Watkins

      Organizer: Mark Burgreen, Lucid Motors

      4:15 – 5:15 pm              Retirement Plan Hot Topics

      A wide-ranging conversation about recent developments in the retirement plan arena, including:

      plan data (its uses for AI and managed accounts, privacy/cybersecurity aspects, possible PT concerns); ESG investments; SECURE Act and its possible progeny; and strategies to reduce DB plan liabilities and volatility (other than lump sum windows, annuity liftouts, and plan termination).

      Speakers:  TBD

      Organizers:  Maya Crone, Freddie Mac; Garrett Fenton, Microsoft


      5:15 – 5:20 pm               Day’s Wrap Up – Maya Crone, Freddie Mac, Vice-Chair, IBCN

      5:30 – 7:00 pm              Members and Sponsors Cocktail Reception (sponsor firms invited and all speakers)


      Kona Grill

      1 East Pratt Street (across the street from conference venue)

      7:00pm                         Small Group Dinners

      IBCN will provide suggestions for places nearby for folks to have dinner and help folks who are interested form groups to create break-out groups to dine together.

      Friday, October 21, 2022

      8:30 – 9:30 am              Continental Breakfast

                                            What You Need to Be Paying Attention to With Your H&W Plans

      [description under construction]

      Speaker:          Ashley Gillihan, Alston Bird 

      Organizer:  Pat Spraguer, Express Scripts

      9:30 – 10:30 am            Current Landscape of State Laws and ERISA Preemption

      ERISA preemption has been a foundation of that statute since its inception and was crucial to bipartisan support of the statute when it passed in 1974. Is ERISA preemption now being eroded by new mandates at the state and local level?  How are courts responding? This session will examine ERISA preemption and various state/local requirements impacting national employee benefit offerings and programs. Topics will include state and local leave requirements, retirement and health & welfare mandates, the current post-Rutledge landscape on ERISA preemption.  

      Speakers:    Linda Way-Smith, Morgan Lewis; Dillon Clair, Director of State Advocacy and Litigation ERIC 

      Organizer:  Pat Spraguer, Express Scripts

      10:30 – 10:45 am           Coffee/Networking Break

      10:45 – 11:45 am           DOL  Audits

      “You’ve got mail” and it’s a letter from EBSA stating the company’s plan has been selected for an audit. So, what’s next? This session will prepare in-house benefits counsel for, what could be, a multiple year process. Topics will include (i) areas of focus for EBSA, (ii) interview preparation, (iii) document requests and production considerations, and (iv) peer experiences with audits.

      Speakers:    Lisa Tavares, Venable LLP (Washington DC) and Juliana Reno, Venable LLP (New York, NY)

      Organizer:  Monique McDowell, Southern Company

      11:45 – 12:45 pm           Blockchain and Benefits

      Blockchain technology, the technology that underlies Bitcoin, has the potential to completely transform the world of benefits and executive compensation by strengthening trust and security in benefits and compensation transactions, reducing costs and potentially reducing and even eliminating costly intermediaries.  Although blockchain technology has completely transformed some industries, it’s only beginning to be applied in the employee benefits and executive compensation space.  But when it is applied to the benefits and executive compensation space, it will transform the way employers sponsor plans, the way employees experience benefits and compensation and the way administrators administer benefits and compensation.  The role of the ERISA attorney will similarly be transformed.  This session will provide a basic understanding of blockchain technology and describe some examples of how it’s being used.  We will then explore how the role of the benefits and executive compensation attorney may change once the technology is deployed more deeply into benefits and executive compensation.

      Speaker:     Adam Greetis, Seyfarth Shaw 

      Organizer:  Chris Rylands, HUB

      12:45 – 2:00pm            Lunch (presentation to start after 15 minutes)

      1:00 – 2:00pm              No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: ERISA, Voluntary Plans and Student Debt   Restructuring

      Your HR colleagues have been offered this great deal and a new fresh platform of benefits that we know the Millenials and Gen Z will want!  But what about ERISA?  We will explore when ERISA applies, especially to certain types of so-called “voluntary benefits.” We will also look at the growing array of programs designed to encourage employees to pay off their student loan by “matching” those payments with an employer non-elective contribution to the company’s 401(k) plan as well as loan restructuring programs. This session will explore the contours of ERISA-covered plans, the DOL exemption for voluntary plans, how employers might fail to qualify for that exemption despite an intention to do so (hint: it’s “endorsement”) and strategies to mitigate risk to the company and plan fiduciaries.

      Speakers:    Seth Peretta, Groom Law Group

      Organizers:  Joan Brown, Trustee of FPPA; Sarah Richards, MetLife

      2:00 – 3:00 pm              Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and In-House Employee Benefits Practice

      [description under construction]

      3:00-3:15 pm                 Closing Remarks – Maya Crone, Freddie Mac

      General Information

      We are excited to announce that this year's forum will take place in Baltimore, Maryland at The Center Club, 100 Light Street, in the heart of downtown Baltimore, across from the Inner Harbor and its many attractions.

      Conference attendees are responsible for making their own travel arrangements and hotel accommodations. Please note that there are many great hotel options at all price points near the meeting venue. Our conference venue provides discounts at several hotels if you mention that you are attending an event at The Center Club.  See their list here! Both the Lord Baltimore and the Royal Sonesta are easy walking distance.  The other two are Uber/Lyft/taxi rides away.  Book your hotel early to get the best possible rates!


      Register Today -- Don't miss this opportunity to join your colleagues for two days of education, inspiration and networking! In addition to an excellent program, your registration fee includes a continental breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks on Thursday and Friday, the Wednesday evening pre-conference welcome reception at Mustang Alley, and the sponsor reception on Thursday evening.

      Conference Fee = $100

      Registration is limited to IBCN members in good standing in 2022.

      You may register by clicking this link.

      Cancellation Policy

      All fees are fully refundable until September 30.  Between October 1 and 10, requests for refunds will be granted a 50% credit, which can be applied to next year's membership.  After October 10, no refunds will be available. 


      In-House Benefits Counsel Network, P.O. Box 45, Riderrwood, MD  21139

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