Robert Rachal is the resident partner of the firm’s New Orleans Office. For close to 25 years, Robert has focused his practice on complex ERISA and executive compensation litigation, including defending DOL investigations, and on advising ERISA fiduciaries. Robert graduated summa cum laude and valedictorian of Tulane Law School, and clerked for Judge Jacques Wiener of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. From 2004 to 2016, Robert was a senior counsel at Proskauer, where his work included advising fiduciaries and defending companies, plan providers and plan fiduciaries in all types of complex ERISA litigation, e.g., from claims ESOP stock was overvalued, to claims 401(k) fees were excessive or that pension plans owed greater benefits under complex provisions of ERISA. Robert’s work also includes providing expert testimony and consulting on issues that arise in complex ERISA litigation and benefits claim processing.
Robert’s clients include both Fortune 500 companies and small and mid-size employers. In defending and advising these clients, Robert was recently named Best Lawyers® 2017 Lawyer of the Year, ERISA Litigation, New Orleans, and he has been repeatedly recognized by Chambers and US Legal 500, where clients have called him “creative and thorough” and with “encyclopedic knowledge of ERISA litigation.” Robert is also a prolific writer and lecturer on cutting-edge ERISA litigation and fiduciary issues, including for the ABA and BNA.
J.D. – Tulane Law School, 1993
B.S., Accounting – University of New Orleans, 1981
- Fellow, American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, and member Board of Governors
- Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Benefits Law Journal, Wolters Kluwer
- Employer Co-Chair, ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law for the Employee Benefits Committee
- Listed in Best Lawyers® 2017 Lawyer of the Year, Litigation – ERISA, New Orleans
- US Legal 500 – Mention for Labor & Employment, ERISA Litigation
- Chambers – Louisiana Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 2)
- Louisiana “Super Lawyer” 2007-2010, 2013-2018
- Named “Top Lawyer” New Orleans Magazine 2012
Selected Recent Published Books & Articles
- Author article “Recent Litigation Developments Affecting Delaware Executive Compensation,” in Bloomberg BNA Tax Management Compensation Planning Journal (August 2017).
- Co-Author Article, “ERISA Fee Litigation: Recent Developments and Developing Best Practices to Limit Exposure,” in Bloomberg BNA, Benefits Practice Resource Center (July 7, 2017).
- Co-Author Article, “Fee Litigation 2016 Round-Up: Mitigating Risk in the Face of Expanding Targets and Theories of Fiduciary Liability,” in 30, No. 1 Benefits Law Journal 21 (Spring 2017).
- Author Chapter “Fiduciary Liability, DOL Audit, Fiduciary Insurance and Bonding,” in T. Rowe Price Fiduciary Source Guide (December 2016).
- Author Article, “Disney and Chevron: Court Skepticism Can Provide Some Important Limits to Fee Litigation,” in Bloomberg BNA, Pension & Benefits Daily (November 30, 2016).
- Co-Author Article, “Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual – The Supreme Court Construes ERISA Preemption Expansively in the Reporting and Disclosure Context” in ABA Employee Benefits Committee Newsletter Spring 2016.
- Co-Author Article, “401(k) Fee Litigation: Recent Case Teachings on Exposures and Practices to Mitigate That Risk,” in 28 No. 4 Benefits Law Journal 14 (Winter 2015).
- Author Article, “Pension Plan Administration and Court Deference to the IRS—The ‘Church Plan’ Cases as a Case Study on the Significance of Agency Deference to Plan Administration” in Bloomberg BNA, Pension & Benefits Daily (April 13, 2015).
- Co-Author Article, “Labor & Employment and ERISA Class Actions After Wal-Mart and Comcast – A Defense Perspective,” in 29 ABA Journal of Labor & Employment Law 319 (Winter 2014).
- Co-Author Article, “Developing Issues and Litigation Under the Federal Mental Health Parity Act and the Affordable Care Act,” in Bloomberg BNA, Pension & Benefits Daily (July 9, 2014).
- Author Article, “Debate Continues Over Fiduciary Status of 401(k) Plan Service Providers,” in Thompson, 401(k) Handbook (July 2014)
- Bloomberg BNA ERISA Litigation (BNA 5th 2014), Co-Author Chapter 34 “Fees and Expenses Litigation in Defined Contribution Plans,” Chapter 39 “Violation of Fiduciary Duty by Misrepresentation and Nondisclosure,” Chapter 41 “Fiduciary Duties Regarding 401(k) and ESOP Investments in Employer Stock” and Chapter 24 “The Affordable Care Act and ERISA Litigation.”
- Co-Author Article, “Using Experts to Defeat or Limit Class Certification in Employment Law and ERISA Cases After Wal-Mart and Comcast” in Bloomberg BNA, Class Action Litigation Report (February 14, 2014).
- Bloomberg BNA Employee Benefits Law Contributing-Author, (3ed 2012 & 2015 Cumulative Supplement).
Licensed to practice in all Louisiana state courts and the following federal courts:
United States Court of Appeal, Second Circuit
United States Court of Appeal, Fifth Circuit
United States Court of Appeal, Sixth Circuit
United States Court of Appeal, Seventh Circuit
United States Court of Appeal, Eight Circuit
United States Court of Appeal, Ninth Circuit
United States Eastern District of Louisiana
United States Middle District of Louisiana
United States Western District of Louisiana
United States Northern District of Texas
United States District of Colorado
United States Eastern District of Michigan