José M. Jara


Practice Areas

  • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
  • Employment
  • Insurance
  • Litigation – Civil Pretrial and Trial Services
  • Litigation & Risk Management
  • Mediation

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey


  • Georgetown Law Center, LL.M.
  • Georgetown Law Center, Certificate in Employee Benefits Law
  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, J.D.
  • Manhattan College, B.S.

Corporate Experience

  • American International Group

Large Law Firm Experience

  • Greenberg Traurig
  • Seyfarth Shaw
  • Dentons

Mr. Jara has over 20 years of ERISA and employee benefits law experience. In the field of employee benefits law, he provides innovative solutions to his clients by incorporating into his guidance a business and practical perspective.  Jose has extensive experience in:

  • Guiding plan sponsors and fiduciaries through U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) – audits and investigations; and Office of the Solicitor – lawsuits.
  • Defending fiduciaries and boards of directors against ERISA class action litigation alleging breach of fiduciary duty (imprudent investments, employer stock, cash balance, excessive fees, delinquent employee contributions, ESOPS)
  • Advising on fiduciary responsibilities, plan fees and expenses, plan asset regulations, and ERISA prohibited transactions and exemptions
  • Correcting retirement plan errors under: the Internal Revenue Service, Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS), fiduciary violations under the DOL Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (VFCP), Annual Reporting failures under the DOL Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program (DFVCP)
  • Handle Withdrawal Liability Arbitrations and advise on Controlled Group and Affiliated Service Group, Plan Funding, and PBGC issues

In the professional liability insurance arena, Jose advises on D&O, Fiduciary, and EPL insurance issues.  As a former claims director at a major insurance carrier, he fully understands the triad relationship between the law firm, the client, and the insurance carrier and in litigation matters manages the relationships to produce optimal results for the trio involved.  He has also acted as monitoring counsel and coverage counsel.  Jose has provided advice to underwriters on a variety of provisions of the insurance policy and taught underwriters on spotting red flags and mitigating risks.

Jose’s experience extends to advising his clients on a myriad of labor and employment issues, including, but not limited to: discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, restrictive covenants, exempt and non-exempt employees, over-time, and sexual harassment.  He has also drafted employee handbooks and executive compensation agreements.

Professional Affiliations

  • Leake and Watts Services, Inc., President of the Board of Directors
  • The Center for Family Support, Member of the Board of Directors
  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Chairman of the Labor & Employment Alumni Group, Chairman of the Black, Asian, & Latino Alumni Association, Member and Officer of the Executive Committee of the Cardozo Alumni Association.


  • Spanish

Presentations & Teaching Experience

  • “DOL Investigations of Employee Benefit Plans: Navigating Enforcement Actions, Audits and Settlements,” Strafford Webinars, New York, NY, June 8, 2016
  • “Private Company D&O/EPL/Fiduciary Underwriting Issues and Claims,” 12th Annual D&O Insurance ExecuSummit, Uncasville, CT, May 18, 2016
  • “Transparency in Prescription Drug Plans,” International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans 61st Annual Conference, Honolulu, HI, November 2015
  • “Retirement Plan Issues and Trends,” International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Advanced Trustees and Administrators Institute, Orlando, Fl., February 2015, and San Francisco, Ca., June 2015
  • “When the DOL Comes A’Knocking…” National Labor & Management 38thAnnual Conference, Hollywood, Fl., February 2015
  • “Withdrawal Liability,” ACI 7th National Forum on ERISA Litigation, Chicago, Il., April 2014
  • “Steering Clear of a Pension Calamity in America,” Buck Consultants, Dentons, and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, New York, NY February 2014
  • “Labor and Employment Law: Governmental Initiatives and 2012 Year-End Review,” SNR Denton and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, New York, December 2012
  • “The 10th Annual Employee Benefits Symposium: The Past, Present, and Future of Supreme Court Jurisprudence on ERISA,” The John Marshall Law School Center For Tax Law and Employee Benefits, Chicago, IL, April 2012
  • “Labor and Employment Law Panel Discussion,” American Bar Association, Section of Labor and Employment Law, New York, February 2012
  • “Hot Issues in Labor and Employment Law: Year-End Update,” SNR Denton and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, New York, December 2011
  • “ERISA 2011 Checkup: Regulatory Changes and Litigation Update,” SNR Denton, New York, June 2011
  • “Get on Board! Nonprofit Board Service for Attorneys,” NYLPI Board Service Panel, New York, April 2011
  • “Benefits in Wage & Hour, Termination/Discrimination, Contract & Worker Misclassification Claims,” the ACI Compensation & Benefits Boot Camp for Labor and Employment Practitioners, Philadelphia, PA, January 2011
  • “ERISA Update: Fiduciary Responsibilities in the Post-Madoff World,” New York Breakfast Briefing, 2009
  • “ERISA Fiduciaries in a Time of Financial Crisis and Change,” New York Breakfast Briefing, 2008
  • “Optimizing the Nonprofit Budget: Understanding Your Fiduciary Duties,” New York Breakfast Briefing, 2008
  • “401(k) Regulatory and Litigation Update,” Worldwide Employee Benefits Network, 2008
  • “401(k) Litigation Update,” New York County Lawyers’ Association, New York, 2007
  • “18th Annual ERISA Litigation Conference,” Glasser LegalWorks, New York, 2005


  • Author, “ERISA Fiduciary Considerations When Incorporating Alternative Investments in Your Pension Plan’s Portfolio,”Cardozo Law Alumni Quarterly (Jan. 2015)
  • Author, “What Is the Correct Standard of Prudence in Employer Stock Cases,” New York University Review of Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, Chapter 1B (Alvin D. Lurie ed., 2012)
  • Author, “ERISA Prudence and Employer Stock: What’s the Correct Standard of Prudence?,”John Marshall Law Review, August 2012
  • Author, “Legal Insight – COBRA,” Employee Benefits section in the online XpertHR US Employment Law Manual, XpertHR, 2012.
  • Author, “Legal Insight – ERISA,” Employee Benefits section in the online XpertHR US Employment Law Manual, XpertHR, 2012.
  • Author, “Federal Employer Liability Concerns in Employee Management,” Employee Management section in the online XpertHR US Employment Law Manual, XpertHR, 2012.
  • Co-author, “Hot Topics in ERISA Litigation: From Ongoing Class Action Challenges to the Upcoming Fee Disclosure Deluge,” chapter in Inside the Minds: Recent Changes in Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, January 2011
  • Co-author, “International Law Firm Network,” chapter 3 in International Corporate Practice: A Practitioner’s Guide to Global Success, Practising Law Institute, 2009
  • Co-author, “Specific Corporate Compliance Challenges by Practice Area: ERISA,” chapter in Corporate Compliance Practice Guide: The Next Generation of Compliance, Lexis 2009, August 2009
  • Co-author, “The Recovery Act’s Mechanism to Stimulate the Economy Requires Adjustment: Is More Legislation the Answer?” Pension & Benefits Reporter, March 2009
  • Co-author, “Modernization of the Section 403(b) Plan and Its ERISA Implications,” Pension & Benefits Reporter, July 2008
  • Co-author, “ERISA’s Fiduciary Duties: Meeting the ‘Reasonable’ Contract and Fee Requirements, “Pension & Benefits Reporter, April 2008
  • Co-author, “Subprime Mortgage Crisis Impacts ERISA Plan Investment In Employer Stock,” Journal of Compensation and Benefits, 2008
  • Co-author, “Plan Sponsors Impacted by Hidden 401(k) Fee Litigation,” Journal of Compensation and Benefits, 2008
  • Co-author, “Litigating Claims of Discrimination in Employee Benefits,” ALI-ABA, 2003
  • Assisted in preparation of “ERISA Fiduciary Self-Audit Overview and Checklist,” Practising Law Institute, 2003
  • “DOL Guidance—Easing the Paperwork Burden,” NY Employment Law Letter, 2002
  • “ERISA Recovery by Insurer Against Insured Limited to Equitable Remedies,” NY Employment Law Letter, 2002
  • “Bad Employment Record Is not Excused by Supervisor’s Racial Comments,” NY Employment Law Letter, 2001