News Release

Locke Lord's Ed Razim and Stefan Smith Elected for Induction as Fellows of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel

February 28, 2022

(HOUSTON and DALLAS) February 28, 2022 – Locke Lord Partner Ed Razim, Chair of the Firm's Tax Department and Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group, and Partner Stefan Smith were elected by the Board of Governors of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel (ACEBC) to be inducted as Fellows in the College at the College’s Annual Dinner to be held at the Chicago Club in Chicago on September 17, 2022.

The highly selective list is based on each individual’s substantive contributions to the field throughout their career. Those elected as Fellows of the ACEBC, a not-for-profit dedicated to fostering excellence in the practice of employee benefits law and advancing public understanding of employee benefits, are required to have focused on benefits law for at least 20 years and have a sustained commitment to its advancement through writing, speaking, public policy analysis, public education or public service. Upon induction, Razim and Smith will join Locke Lord Partner Philip Bush as Fellows.

Razim, based in the Firm’s Houston office, advises clients on the full range of executive compensation and employee benefits issues arising out of mergers and acquisitions. His practice includes drafting and implementing employee benefits and executive compensation programs for large and small employers; addressing compliance issues regarding Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code and various equity compensation plan design matters; addressing employee benefits matters in corporate mergers and acquisitions; resolving unique plan design issues faced by controlled groups of corporations or businesses; consulting employers and plan administrators on plan design and compliance matters; and negotiating with the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of Labor and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation on a variety of audit and compliance matters. Razim also has worked extensively with nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations on a variety of tax issues.

Smith, based in the Firm’s Dallas office, has extensive experience in employee benefits and executive compensation law. He works with both public and private entities to establish and ensure the continued compliance of tax-qualified defined contribution and defined benefit retirement plans, including 401(k)/profit sharing plans, traditional defined benefit plans, money purchase plans, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and cash balance plans. Smith assists with employee benefits matters arising during mergers and acquisitions and works with all forms of health and welfare plans and executive and equity-based compensation, including incentive and non-qualified stock options, restricted stock awards, stock appreciation rights, employee stock purchase plans, phantom equity, performance unit and bonus plans, SERPs and other excess benefit plans and non-qualified deferred compensation plans.

Locke Lord’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group advises a diverse range of clients — from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies — across a variety of areas, including qualified benefit plans, ESOPs and equity incentive arrangements. The Firm’s benefits lawyers frequently represent plan trustees and administrators, including fiduciaries of ESOPs as well as insurers, preferred provider organizations, health maintenance organizations, administrative service providers, utilization review organizations and many other businesses in the health care industry.

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About Locke Lord LLP
Locke Lord is a full-service law firm with global reach and 20 offices designed to meet clients’ needs in the United States and around the world. The Firm has a history that spans more than 130 years and is a leader in the middle market arena. Locke Lord focuses on providing the highest levels of commitment, quality and service to clients across its five Key Sectors: Energy and Infrastructure; Finance and Financial Services; Insurance and Reinsurance; Pharmaceutical; and Private Equity. In addition, the Firm advises clients across a broad spectrum of other industries, including fund formation, venture capital, health care, public finance, real estate, technology, cybersecurity and white collar, while providing a wealth of experience through its complex litigation, intellectual property, tax, regulatory and transactional teams.

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