Fiduciary Experts and Advisors

with more than anyone else


Leslie Perlman

With decades of experience in leading ERISA litigation teams on complicated district court litigation on behalf of the Secretary of Labor, Leslie has been intimately involved in formulating major policy and innovative legal positions for the government on financial, fiduciary and health care issues. Leslie has over 30 years of ERISA experience not only as a hands-on trial and appellate attorney, but also as team leader, supervisor, and instructor.

Recently retired as Counsel for General Litigation in the US DOL, Plan Benefits Security Division, Leslie led Department of Labor attorney teams responsible for enforcing Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Leslie managed and oversaw all cases filed against the Secretary.   Leslie and teams also advised and supported the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) on complicated enforcement issues, and coordinated agency efforts with the Department of Justice, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Internal Revenue Service, United States Trustees, Regional Department of Labor attorneys, Securities and Exchange Commission, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and Securities Investor Protection Corporation.

Groundbreaking Work

Led team for Enron ESOP litigation both in Bankruptcy Court and District Court. Negotiated for appointment of independent fiduciary for Enron ESOP.

Lead trial attorney for DOL legal team in lawsuit on imprudence and overpayment for employer stock by an ESOP. Won case on summary judgment (Valley National Bank); obtained favorable rulings on privilege and discovery issues.

Obtained favorable rulings on privilege and discovery; summary judgment motions yielded important ruling on availability of rescission as an equitable remedy and fiduciary standards (Bruister).

Developed law in area of fiduciary exception to attorney client privilege, duty of board of director member to monitor fiduciaries, ESOP financed leveraged buy-outs, ESOP refinancing, investment in derivatives, purchase of annuities.

Career Highlights

Obtained ground breaking rulings on employee stock ownership plans, duties of board of directors toward company retirement plans, duties of trustees in managing plan assets, purchasing stock and valuation principles, knowing participation in a fiduciary breach, fiduciary discharge in bankruptcy, misclassified workers, duties of independent fiduciaries, interpretation of the claims regulation and attorney client privilege.

Assisted in formulation and implementation of DOL litigating position on the measure of losses available under ERISA for fiduciary breaches, illegal stock purchases, appropriate administrative fees, adequate consideration and rescissionary remedies. Successfully coordinated DOL litigating positions with SEC, Department of Justice, and United States Attorneys nationwide on ERISA issues.

Supervised and designed: “best practices” papers for independent fiduciaries and valuation firms to be used by EBSA; appropriate practices for disability insurers and medical insurers. Advised EBSA Valuation Working Group.

Assisted in formulation and implementation of DOL litigating position on the measure of losses available under ERISA for fiduciary breaches, illegal stock purchases, adequate consideration, valuation of loan forgiveness and remedies. Supervised 502(c)(2) penalty administrative program.

Solely responsible for Defensive litigation: defended challenges to Employee Benefits Security Administration’s denial of exemption, Pension Protection Act, Affordable Care Act and COBRA requirements.

Leslie holds a Juris Doctorate from Vanderbilt University, and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University.

*Detailed resume available upon request.