Christy Richardson focuses her practice on employee benefits and executive compensation, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, 401(k) plans and health and welfare benefit programs.

Christy advises clients on all aspects of employee benefits, including drafting, designing and implementing, as well as handling operational, compliance, and strategic planning considerations related to tax-qualified plans such as 401(k) plans; non-qualified deferred compensation programs; welfare and health benefit plans encompassing wellness programs, reimbursement accounts (HSAs and HRAs), severance programs, cafeteria plans; fringe benefit plans; bonus programs; and advice related to the Internal Revenue Code, ERISA, Affordable Care Act, WARN Act, HIPAA and COBRA compliance issues.

Representative Experience

Assists clients with audits by both the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service, and supervises submissions to the IRS regarding its review of retirement plans’ tax-qualified status.

Advises benefits committees and other plan fiduciaries regarding ERISA fiduciary considerations, as well as securities law issues emerging from implementation and administration of employer stock funds in tax-qualified plans.

Negotiates benefits representations, warranties and covenants in both asset and stock transactions, as well as employee matter and transition agreements, earn out agreements and handling related transition issues.

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  • Negotiates service arrangements with vendors, including registered investment advisors, consultants, and third party administrators, for all forms of employee benefit programs.

Professional Highlights

American Bar Association, Tax Section (past chair of the Employee Benefits—Mergers & Acquisitions subcommittee)

Bar Association of San Francisco (current Board member and on its Audit Committee); co-chair in 2013 and 2016 of BASF’s “Food from the Bar” Campaign in conjunction with the Food Bank of San Francisco and Marin

California State Bar Association

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  • Associations
    • Western Pension Benefits Conference
    • National Association of Stock Plan Professionals
    • Northern California Human Resources Association
  • Honors & Awards
    • The Legal 500 U.S., Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (2014, 2017) and Employee Health and Retirement Plans (2018)
    • Middle-Market M&A Award, Consumer and Retail Products—Finalist, M&A Advisor (2008)
    • Deal of the Year, Total Terminals Infrastructure Joint Venture—Recognized, Asian-Counsel (2007)
    • Super Lawyers (2012 – 2013)
  • Speaking Engagements
    • “Employee Benefits: What’s New and What’s Next?” Pillsbury MCLE Marathon, January 2018
    • “Employment Law Outlook,” Pillsbury, February 2015.
    • “Top Employee Benefits Issues that Pose Traps for the Unwary,” Pillsbury MCLE Marathon, January, 2014.
    • “ERIC FocusOn Conference Call: An Exploration of the Final Mental Health Parity Regulations,” ERIC; December, 2013.
    • “Updating Wellness Programs and Navigating New Open Enrollment Issues,” Pillsbury, September, 2013.
    • “FocusOn Call on the Final Wellness Regulations,” ERIC, June, 2013.
    • Shared Responsibility/Health Care Reform: “Pay or Play” Workshop Pillsbury, April, 2013.
    • “The New Wellness Regime under the Affordable Care Act and Beyond: If It Doesn’t Kill Us, Will It Make Us Stronger?” ERIC’s Spring 2013 Meeting, April, 2013.
    • “FocusOn Call on the Proposed Wellness Regulations,” ERIC, December, 2012.
    • “Top 10 Fiduciary Considerations for your Benefits Program,” Pillsbury MCLE Marathon, January, 2012.
    • “The Top Ten Problems to Avoid (or Fix) with Your 401(k) Plan,” Annual Silicon Valley Western Pension Benefits Conference, March, 2011.
    • “The Top Ten Things You Need to Know About Health Care Reform,” Pillsbury MCLE Marathon, January and February, 2011.
    • “Is This What's Next After Health Care Reform?” panel discussion on Retirement Security, ABA Annual Meeting, August, 2010.
    • “Health Care Reform: The Top 10 Issues Employers Need to Focus on Now ... and an Update from Washington,” Pillsbury, June, 2010.
    • “The Top Ten Problems to Avoid (or Fix) With Your 401(k) Plan,” Pillsbury, January, 2010.
    • “Domestic Partnership and Same-Sex Marriage Issues Arising Under Employee Benefit Plans,” Pillsbury, July, 2009.
    • “Employee Benefit Issues Arising in the Context of Mergers and Acquisitions,” panel discussion, ABA Tax Section Meeting, May 2008 and May 2009.
    • “Understanding ERISA 2008—Plans that Invest in Employer Securities,” Practicing Law Institute, July, 2008.
    • “Developments in Qualified Plans, with an emphasis on ROTH 401(k) plan feature,” ABA Tax Section Meeting; panel discussion on, May, 2007.
    • “401(k) Plans Regulatory Update,” Western Pension Benefits 24th Annual Conference—San Francisco Chapter, April, 2007.


  • J.D., Cornell Law School, 1990

    B.A., Mathematics and Government, Claremont McKenna College
    cum laude


  • California