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Press release:

Jackson Lewis Taps Howard Shapiro as Co-Leader of ERISA Litigation Practice

Issued by: Jackson Lewis LLP

Date: Feb. 14, 2020

NEW ORLEANS, LA (February 13, 2020) Jackson Lewis P.C., one of the country’s preeminent workplace law firms, is pleased to announce Howard Shapiro has joined the firm’s New Orleans office as a Principal. Mr. Shapiro has almost 40 years of experience in the employee benefits litigation space and is nationally recognized as one of the top ERISA litigators in the country. He joins the firm from Proskauer, where he was Co-Leader of the firm’s national ERISA Litigation practice and the Office Managing Partner in New Orleans. Mr. Shapiro will serve as Co-Leader of Jackson Lewis’ ERISA Complex Litigation Group alongside René E. Thorne. 

“Howard is a first-rate, nationally-acclaimed ERISA litigator and we are excited that he has joined Jackson Lewis,” said Firm Co-Chairs William J. Anthony and Kevin G. Lauri in a joint statement. “His arrival at the firm elevates the firm’s national ERISA litigation capabilities and was the key factor in our decision to augment our existing ERISA litigation team by creating the ERISA Complex Litigation Group. René and Howard worked together closely in other firms for more than a decade, honing their complex ERISA litigation skills. The firm is dedicating significant resources to the newly formed ERISA Complex Litigation Group.”

The ERISA Complex Litigation Group has immediate and ready access to the firm’s entire Employee Benefits Practice Group and the Class Actions and Complex Litigation Practice Group to address comprehensive client needs in the ERISA litigation space.

Mr. Shapiro’s practice focuses on the defense of large, sophisticated ERISA class actions. He defends “bet-the-company” litigation where damages are potentially material. His cases involve the defense of Defined Benefit plans, 401(k) Plans, and 403(b) Plans. Mr. Shapiro also defends litigation involving health and welfare plan issues. His practice is nationwide, and throughout his career, Mr. Shapiro has appeared as counsel across the entire country. Typically, his cases involve damage allegations in excess of hundreds of millions of dollars. Mr. Shapiro has defended cases involving: breach of fiduciary duty; breach of the duty of loyalty; Prohibited Transactions; 401(k) Plan asset performance, fees, and expense issues; 403(b) Plan asset performance, fees, and expense issues; defined benefit plan asset issues, accrual issues, and cut-back issues; Cash Balance Plan issues; ESOP litigation; fiduciary misrepresentation claims; sophisticated preemption issues; Executive Compensation litigation, both pension and welfare claims; Directed Trustee claims; retiree rights litigation; severance plan class actions; Section 510 cases; and complex benefit claim cases.  He has appeared in federal courts from coast to coast while maintaining an active national ERISA litigation practice.

“When I retired from Proskauer, I considered a wide range of options and quickly decided that Jackson Lewis was the right firm to continue my national ERISA litigation practice,” said Shapiro. “I have worked with René, Office Managing Principal Charles Seemann and several other attorneys in the New Orleans office, at various law firms since the 1990’s. The opportunity to ‘put the band back together’ was outcome determinative as the firm now has among the finest collection of ERISA litigation talent in the country. I am delighted to reunite with my former colleagues as we launch Jackson Lewis’ ERISA Complex Litigation Group.”

Mr. Shapiro has been named as one of the Top 40 Benefits Lawyers in the country in the category of litigators representing management by The National Law Journal. Additionally, he has been featured as a Band 1 ranked attorney by Chambers and Partners, in the “ERISA Litigation in USA – Nationwide” category. Mr. Shapiro was one of the founding fellows and initial members of the Board of Governors of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, and is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Mr. Shapiro is also the former Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law, and past Chair of the American Bar Association's Joint Committee on Employee Benefits. He is ranked as a Top-Ten Attorney state-wide by Louisiana Super Lawyers. Additionally, Howard served as a member of the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association.

Mr. Shapiro received his J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, his M.A. from McGill University and his B.A. from Tulane University. 

Mr. Shapiro is Jackson Lewis’ ninth lateral hire in the employee benefits practice within the past year. His arrival, combined with our existing ERISA litigation talent, resulted in the formation of the firm’s ERISA Complex Litigation Group. Last month, ERISA litigation pro Stacey C.S. Cerrone joined the firm as a Principal, along with seasoned ERISA litigation Associate, Lindsey H. Chopin, both also formerly of Proskauer.

Jackson Lewis’ New Orleans office can be reached at (504) 208-1755. 

About Jackson Lewis 
Focused on labor and employment law since 1958, Jackson Lewis P.C.’s 950+ attorneys located in major cities nationwide consistently identify and respond to new ways workplace law intersects business. We help employers develop proactive strategies, strong policies and business-oriented solutions to cultivate high-functioning workforces that are engaged, stable and diverse, and share our clients' goals to emphasize inclusivity and respect for the contribution of every employee.

Additional information about the firm can be found at

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