Chicago, Illinois 60603
Jennifer Kraft is a partner in the Employee Benefits Department and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Welfare Benefits Practice Group at Seyfarth Shaw LLP. With broad experience assisting Fortune 500 companies with all aspects of their employee benefits plans, she helps clients understand the myriad of complex laws impacting employee benefits, translating technical regulations and government agency guidance to assist clients in making legally sound business decisions.
Ms. Kraft is a member of the firm's cross-departmental Health Care Reform Team. This team of firm lawyers from different practice areas works together to assess the different ways health care reform will impact our clients and create cutting-edge strategies for a holistic response. Ms. Kraft has guided clients in the design and administration of their health plans as this area of the law has unfolded so they may adhere to today’s standards while preparing for an unknown future. Ms. Kraft also helps clients consider alternatives for keeping health care costs contained such as the implementation of health savings accounts and wellness programs in light of a shifting legal landscape.
Ms. Kraft is frequently quoted on health care reform issues in publications as diverse as CNN Money, Yahoo! Finance, National Law Journal, Law360, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Business Insurance, Corporate Counsel, Benefits Pro, Modern Healthcare andScrip.
Ms. Kraft has been specially trained on the SeyfarthLean process and is one of the Seyfarth lawyers responsible for training the Firm's entire workforce regarding this approach to serving Firm clients. Dedicated to delivering increased value to our clients at a time of increased market pressures and competitive demands, the firm created the SeyfarthLean approach, which utilizes Lean Six Sigma and project management methodologies. Seyfarth’s commitment to delivering legal services in a new way, with an emphasis on value and continuous improvement, has been praised by the Association of Corporate Counsel as being “five years ahead of every other AmLaw 200 firm.” Ms. Kraft has worked with clients to create cost-effective solutions using the SeyfarthLean tools and incorporates these concepts into her daily practice.
Ms. Kraft has advised clients on the design and ongoing administration of their qualified retirement plans (401(k) plans, traditional defined benefit and cash balance plans). Her experience in this area includes addressing plan compliance issues through the IRS voluntary correction procedures, significant plan merger projects, responding to changing disclosure requirements, negotiating vendor contracts and facilitating the transition to new recordkeepers.
Ms. Kraft has also helped numerous clients deal with changes in the economy by designing and implementing severance plans, as well as helping protect against ERISA litigation through advising on fiduciary structure and process.
Ms. Kraft frequently presents to various industry groups including the hotel, restaurant, manufacturing and service industries on health care reform and how this quickly evolving area of the law impacts health plan design and administration. She has also recently presented at national conferences for the American Health Lawyers Association, as well as the national Society for Human Resources Management Conference and Exhibition.
Ms. Kraft is very active in civic and pro bono activities. She is a former recipient of the Volunteer of the Year award from CARPLS (the Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for Legal Services). She is the co-founder of the Mentoring Circles Program sponsored by the Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women. She has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women since 2009, currently serving as the Committee Chair. She has previously served as the organization’s Mentoring Circles Chair, Programming Chair and the Committee Vice Chair.
|Areas of Practice||1) Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, 2) Equity & Executive Compensation, 3) HIPAA Privacy & Security, 4) Retirement Plans, 5) Health & Welfare Benefit Plans, 6) Labor & Employment and 7) ERISA & Employee Benefits Litigation|
|Law School||University of Minnesota Law School (J.D., 1996)|
|Education||University of Michigan (B.A.,1993)|
|Bar Member / Association||Illinois State Bar Association|
|Most recent firm||Seyfarth Shaw LLP|
Ms. Fitzgerald represents employers in a wide range of industries, including the entertainment, financial services, hospitality, manufacturing, retail, and transportation industries.