Pensions & Benefits 2018

In this chapter we highlight 345 pensions and benefits lawyers from 199 firms across 45 jurisdictions who are considered leading practitioners in their respective markets.

In Europe, CMS leads the field, while Sacker & Partners emerges as the most highly nominated boutique. Boutiques in general perform well, with Blesi & Papa and Capstan recommended for their expertise.

In the US, Littler Mendelson continue to dominate, while Osler and Torys lead the field in Canada. South Africa sees some stiff competition as boutiques and international firms battle it out at the top. In Asia, Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, Fangda Partners and Deacons lead the field.

Across the world numerous firms in multiple jurisdictions demonstrate their prowess and are listed here for their outstanding work in the field.


Thought Leaders
1. Nataša Randlová Randl Partners, London
2. Alfred Blesi Blesi & Papa, Zurich
3. Román Gil Sagardoy Abogados, Madrid
4. Ian Pittaway Sacker & Partners, London



Stands out for its leading pensions and benefits practice, with 12 top practitioners recognised in offices across Europe.
Björn Gaul is one of Germany’s top names on salary structure adjustments and benefits matters. He is praised for his long-standing experience in the field.
Christopher Jordan is co-head of the global employment and pensions group where he regularly advises national and multinational companies on matters surrounding collective bargaining.
Mark Atkinson receives plaudits for his work acting for trustees and companies on occupational pension schemes. He is noted for his superb advisory practice.
Mark Grant is recognised as a specialist in pensions law with over 25 years of experience.

Sacker & Partners

One of the UK’s foremost pensions boutiques. Seven of its leading lawyers are listed in our research this year.
Ian Pittaway is a standout name in pensions law is recognised as a well-respected arbitrator and expert witness in addition to his advisory practice. He assists clients with the funding and valuation of numerous schemes, including governance matters.
Mark Greenlees has over 30 years of experience in the field. He is well versed in complex and innovative transactional matters, most notably for Royal Mail in a multibillion-pound transfer of pension plan assets to the UK government.
Pauline Sibbit is widely praised for her work advising both trustees and employers on pension arrangements and post-merger documentation.
Michaela Berry has in-depth expertise in the set-up, wind-up and mergers of pensions schemes. She is an authority on public matters and regularly advises local authorities.

Norrbom Vinding

Possesses one of Europe’s leading pensions practices and is the most highly rated Danish firm in this year’s research, with six listings.
Morten Langer is frequently instructed for his superb expertise on bonuses and incentives including share-based remuneration structures. He advises leading private sector clients on national and international matters in the space.
Torben Mølgaard Hededal is a go-to name on alternative remuneration structures including bonuses and share-based pay. He is also highly respected for his expertise in tax issues surrounding pensions.
Yvonne Frederiksen draws praise for her expertise in all types of incentives. She is well known for her long-standing experience in the Danish market.
Jørgen Vinding is widely respected in pensions and benefits matters with formidable skill when it comes to disputes and successfully resolving them on behalf of his clients.

Toffoletto De Luca Tamajo e Soci

Five standout practitioners are recognised at one of Italy’s premier firms.
Franco Toffoletto is one of the most long-standing figures in the field. He is esteemed in the Italian market for his in-depth knowledge of benefits law and his expertise in civil law.
Aldo Bottini regularly acts in matters involving industrial relations and both collective and individual employment issues, including contracts. He is recognised as a top name in the field.
Emanuela Nespoli is well known for her expertise in compensation and benefits, where she has an international practice.

Travers Smith

Widely regarded as a top UK pensions practice and sees five names listed this year.
Susie Daykin receives high praise for her stellar counsel on pension schemes, mergers, automatic enrolment obligations and complex regulatory matters. One respondent recommends her for her “practical, solution-based approach and her ability to express things in words that we could properly understand”.
Daniel Gerring is an authority on UK pensions law who acts for both trustees and employers in complex situations. One source says, “Daniel is extremely diligent, thorough and pragmatic.”

Allen & Overy

The leading magic circle law firm achieves five listings across its offices in London, Frankfurt and Madrid.
Thomas Ubber is one of Germany’s most respected pensions lawyers. He has significant experience negotiating with works councils and trade unions and is recognised for providing workable solutions.
Däna Burstow advises both trustees and employers where she is trusted to provide expert advice on matters including scheme funding negotiations, mergers and disputes.

Claeys & Engels

One of Europe’s foremost outfits for pensions and benefits law. Five of its practitioners are recommended.
Jan Van Gysegem is a go-to name on occupational pension matters and fund governance. One source says, “Jan is a very good pensions lawyer who has a thorough knowledge of pension fund law.”
Olivier Debray is well known and widely respected for his expertise in executive compensation and benefits, including social security and tax-related elements.


The firm achieves five listings in this edition.
Salvador del Rey is esteemed for his long-standing national and international practice and his in-depth expertise in compensation and benefits at all levels of an organisation.
Juan Bonilla is a leading name in pensions and incentives. He has an in-depth expertise in employee compensation schemes and share-based schemes and is frequently instructed to advise on such matters.

Sagardoy Abogados

A go-to firm with four stellar practitioners recognised.
Román Gil is one of Spain’s leading names in pensions law. He is widely respected for his leading expertise and is highly active within the market.
Iñigo Sagardoy is a go-to name on social security matters. He receives widespread praise for his work and has over 25 years of experience in the field.

Bronsgeest Deur

Four outstanding names from this leading Dutch firm are listed.
Philip Nabben is esteemed for his skills in negotiations with trade unions when it comes to benefits and compensation and is a top name in the field.
Hylda Wiarda is widely recognised as an expert handler of benefits and compensation issues, particularly in high-stakes matters for leading national and multinational clients.


One of Germany’s standout boutiques in the field, achieving four listings this year.
Michael Kliemt is a leading name in occupational pension plans. He receives plaudits for his work in harmonisation of pension schemes, liabilities and related litigation.
Stefan Fischer advises on both collective and individual employment law issues and is frequently instructed for his in-depth knowledge of benefits and compensation matters.


This renowned firm has four names recommended.
Jean-Michel Mir is one of France’s foremost names in pensions and compensation. He is widely respected for his long-standing pan-European practice.
Pascal Lagoutte draws high praise for his work in compensation and benefits where he is frequently instructed on complex high-value matters.

Kromann Reumert

A highly regarded Danish firm with three leading names recognised.
Helene Amsinck is widely applauded for her pensions work and for her stellar counsel. She is an expert in compliance and dispute prevention and is recognised for her in-depth knowledge of the field.
Jens Lund Mosbek is an expert on share-based payment arrangements and pension schemes. He has over 15 years of experience and is highly respected for his skills in dispute proceedings including arbitrations.
Marianne Granhøj receives plaudits for her work with pension funds and her ability to build strong relationships within the industry.

Gleiss Lutz

Three practitioners are listed from the firm this year.
Doris-Maria Schuster is a go-to name in bonuses and compliance matters. She is recognised for her in-depth expertise in compliance-related litigation, often with a cross-border element.
Martin Diller is esteemed for his work on company pensions. He is a specialist in the area with a strong knowledge of issues surrounding German pensions law.
Gerhard Röder advises on collective and individual matters relating to pensions, where he is highly respected.

Dittmar & Indrenius

An independent Finnish firm that achieves three listings in this chapter.
Petteri Uoti is one of the most widely known and respected figures in the field. Clients frequently turn to him for his in-depth knowledge of benefits and pensions.
Seppo Havia is an authority on pensions matters and is recognised for his ability to handle complex matters in the field.
Suvi Knaapila is praised for her handling of “very high-profile” pensions and benefits cases, for which she has a reputation as an effective practitioner who gets results for her clients.


Czech Republic

Thought Leader Nataša Randlová of Randl Partners is widely regarded as a leading light in pensions and benefits matters. She is regularly instructed to advise both Czech and international clients on high-stakes complex cases.


Alfred Blesi of Blesi & Papa is one of the industry’s leading names when it comes to pensions and benefits. He has a distinguished reputation within the Swiss market and a long-standing practice. He is consistently recognised as a specialist in the area.
Roberta Papa receives high praise for her expertise in pensions and benefits and is widely respected within the market.


North America


Littler Mendelson

One of the US’s top names in ERISA and benefits law, leading our North America research with five practitioners recognised for their expertise.
Johan Lubbe is a go-to name on cross-border issues within the space. He has in-depth experience of high-stakes pensions and benefits matters and is esteemed within the marketplace.
Bruce Millman advises both public and private sector employers on bonuses, benefits and pensions. He has over 40 years of experience and is highly respected for his expertise.
Stefan Marculewicz is frequently instructed by multinational corporations for his superb counsel and expert handling of significant matters in the field.

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe

A leading name in the space with two standout practitioners recognised for their expertise.
Michael Delikat is a prominent and well-regarded name in the field advises numerous major corporations on all aspects of compensation and benefits law.
Laura Becking is an authority on compensation schemes, particularly when it comes to fast-growing international companies. She is recognised for her skilled handling of global HR-related legal matters.

Osler Hoskin & Harcourt

This premier Canadian firm achieves two listings.
Paul Litner is a leading name in pensions and benefits. He is an expert on investment arrangements and advises clients in both the public and private sector on large-scale pension plans. Sources praise his “depth of expertise” and “excellent legal advice”, calling him “a leading lawyer in his field”.
Jana Steele is recognised for her skilled implementation of pension plans across Canada. She receives plaudits for her skills in plan design and is considered by one respondent as “probably the leading expert in the country on shared risk/target benefit plans”.


A leader in the Canadian market with sees two top practitioners recognised.
Susan Nickerson regularly acts on complex risk management and governance issues relating to defined contribution pension conversions and the implications of corporate restructurings. One source praises her “significant deal experience”.
Mitch Frazer is frequently instructed to act on the gamut of pensions and benefits matters. He is recognised as “a leading authority on pension plan law”.



David Powell of Groom Law Group is an expert on ERISA matters and qualified plans of public companies, including 401(k) schemes. One client says, “David’s ability to explain complex matters is quite remarkable. I am not sure we could have gone through this elaborate process without him."


Latin America

Thought Leaders
1. Juan Carlos de la Vega G Santamarina y Steta, Mexico City
2. Jorge G De Presno-Arizpe Basham Ringe y Correa SC, Mexico City
3. Mónica Schiaffino Littler Mexico, Mexico City


Munita & Olavarría

One of Chile’s leading labour and employment boutiques with a strong reputation in benefits and pensions work. Both of its founders are recognised.
Enrique Munita L receives widespread praise for his work in pensions and investment in the Chilean market. He has an in-depth knowledge of the field and a long-standing and revered practice.
Cristián Olavarría is an expert on compensation plans and benefits and has over two decades of experience in the field.



Juan Carlos de la Vega G at Santamarina y Steta receives high praise for his in-depth expertise in the field. He advises on collective and individual matters and has over 30 years of experience. One source praises him as “very knowledgeable on pensions and benefits”.

Basham Ringe y Correa’s Jorge De Presno-Arizpe is a go-to name on social security matters and is a seasoned trial lawyer with significant expertise in corporate law.

Mónica Schiaffino at Littler Mexico is a leading name on the implementation of pension plans. She is widely respected for her skills in the coordination and implementation of such plans, including the handling of complex structures and regulations.


Middle East & Africa

Thought Leaders
1. Jonathan Mort Jonathan Mort Inc, Cape Town
2. Rosemary Hunter Fasken, Johannesburg
3. Michelle David Norton Rose Fulbright, Johannesburg


Jonathan Mort Inc

One of South Africa’s best-known and well-respected pension fund boutiques. Three leading names are recognised for their expertise.
Jonathan Mort is an authority on retirement funds and specialist trusts. He is also highly experienced in disputes and distressed funds and is recognised as “one of the most senior pensions lawyers in the industry”. 
Paul Williams draws high praise for his “unique insight into the UK versus the South African legal system” after being trained as and working in English law. He is noted for his in-depth experience in retirement funds and trustee matters.
Vanessa Bell is recognised as a well-versed and skilled lawyer in the field of retirement fund litigation. One respondent praises her “sound knowledge on pensions industry organisations”.


This firm provides a formidable South African contingent, with two stellar practitioners recognised.
Rosemary Hunter is a go-to name on pensions and benefits, particularly retirement funds and employee benefit schemes. One source says, “She is just unbelievable. Undoubtedly the premier pension funds lawyer in South Africa.”
The “excellent” Nigel Carman is noted for his widespread expertise advising employers and pensions funds and is widely respected for his long-standing experience in the market.


Two top-notch names are listed at this highly regarded full-service law firm.
Graham Damant is an authority on pension funds and benefits including disputes between employers and funds. He is praised as “very experienced in the industry and has a unique expertise in areas where pensions overlaps with employment law”.
Karen Fulton receives plaudits for her work in benefits matters and is recognised as a key figure in the South African market.


The “excellent” Michelle David at Norton Rose Fulbright is an expert on the Pension Funds Act and matters surrounding funds, management and implementation. She is esteemed for her in-depth knowledge and presence in the market.




Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Stands out as one of Japan’s leading law firms in compensation and benefits. Three standout names are recommended this year.
Kazutoshi Kakuyama is a top name in the market on salary, retirement allowance and pension matters with exceptional experience in the area.
Hideki Thurgood Kanoh receives widespread praise for his work in social insurance and pension plans. He has widespread expertise on pension structures including defined contribution, defined benefit and tax-qualified pensions.
Nobuhito Sawasaki is well respected for his pensions law practice, where he advises domestic and international clients on complex corporate matters.


Remains one of the premier firms for pensions and benefits matters in Australia, and sees two top practitioners recommended.
Maged Girgis is a go-to figure on public sector superannuation funds. He advises a raft of clients on high-value matters, particularly those in the financial services industry.
William Thompson is an expert on tax matters related to benefits and compensation where he is widely respected for his expertise.



Zheng Xie of Fangda Partners is one of China’s top names on compensation and benefits. He is frequently instructed to advise leading multinational clients on significant matters in the space.

Hong Kong

Deacons’ Cynthia Chung advises on occupational retirement schemes and mandatory provident funds where she is recognised as an authority. She is recognised as a leading light in the market.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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