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Richard W. Kaiser


Dick has worked with virtually all forms of benefit plans and compensation arrangements, including plans for tax-exempt organizations and special requirements for plans of churches and religious organizations. His practice focuses on employee benefits, including qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, tax and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requirements, executive compensation and employment agreements, stock and equity-based compensation programs, and multiemployer plan-withdrawal liability.

Dick has worked extensively on executive and nonqualified deferred compensation issues, including the design of traditional deferred compensation plans, supplemental executive retirement plans (SERPs), annual and long-term bonus plans, change in control and severance arrangements, employment agreements, and equity awards in compliance with Internal Revenue Code sections 83, and 162(m), and other "top-hat" plan and rabbi trust design and compliance issues. He also has extensive experience addressing Code section 409A issues in the design and operation of non-qualified plans and executive compensation arrangements.

Dick is regularly involved in mergers and acquisitions and handling the issues that arise, including preparation of executive employment agreements, application of the 280G golden parachute rules, and transition of benefit plans. He has also represented plan sponsors, in and out of bankruptcy, in devising, negotiating, and implementing changes to employee benefit plans, including standard and distress termination of defined benefit plans. Because of the recent severe underfunding situation faced by some multiemployer pension funds, he has also worked on issues involved in the determination of withdrawal liability and structuring transactions so as not to trigger withdrawal liability when possible.

Dick co-authored the treatise Taxation of Distributions from Qualified Plans (Thomson Reuters/Tax & Accounting; 2013). He is responsible for the sections on tax deferred annuities (403(b) plans), distributions of employer securities, minimum required distributions, and international tax issues.

Every month, Dick and fellow Employee Benefits attorneys compile an Employee Benefits newsletter to highlight important changes and amendments throughout the industry. The monthly newsletters can be found in the Publications section of the Hodgson Russ website.


B.A., University at Buffalo, B.A. 

UCLA School of Law, J.D.

University of Miami School of Law, L.L.M. (Taxation)


  • New York
  • U.S. Tax Court

Representative Work

Dick has extensive experience performing the following services:

  • Negotiation and drafting of executive employment agreements
  • Negotiation and drafting of separation agreements
  • Performing employee benefit plan due diligence and advising clients engaged in merger and acquisition activities, including corporate transactions involving ESOP-owned companies
  • Developing voluntary correction strategies and negotiating compliance agreements with governmental agencies (IRS and DOL)
  • Advising clients on ERISA compliance matters, including fiduciary governance and investment policies
  • Designing, drafting, and maintaining qualified and non-qualified retirement plan documents, summary plan descriptions and plan procedures, including preparation of IRS determination letter application filings
  • Advising clients on ERISA compliance matters, including fiduciary governance and investment policies

Below are specific representative matters Dick has completed:


  • Listed, Best Lawyers in America (Employee Benefits [ERISA] Law) 2010 - 2024
  • Listed, Upstate New York Super Lawyers, 2010 - 2012

News & Insights


  • American Bar Association Section of Taxation Committee on Employee Benefits 
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Richard W. Kaiser / News & Insights