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Leslie A. Klein has more than 30 years of experience advising publicly held companies, privately held companies, not-for-profit corporations, fiduciaries and executives in all aspects of employee benefits and executive compensation. He is recognized as a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel for his contributions to the advancement of the field of employee benefits.

Les regularly counsels clients in connection with pension, profit sharing, cash balance, 401(k), 403(b), 457, employee stock ownership (ESOP), supplemental executive retirement (SERP), deferred compensation and welfare benefit plans and frequently represents plan sponsors and fiduciaries before the Internal Revenue Service, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and U.S. Department of Labor. Les advises companies and senior executives in connection with stock options, phantom stock, stock appreciation rights, annual bonus, long-term incentives, restricted stock, employment agreements, parachute agreements, retention agreements and severance agreements.

Les also advises clients regarding ERISA's fiduciary responsibility rules and the Internal Revenue Code's prohibited transaction excise taxes. From 1980 to 1984, Les was a trial attorney in the Chicago office of the District Counsel of the IRS where he was responsible for several prohibited transaction excise tax cases. Les represented the Commissioner of the IRS before the U.S. Tax Court in a case in which the IRS asserted prohibited transaction excise taxes against the Central Conference of Teamsters as a result of the sale of its airplane to its pension fund. As the attorney in charge of that and other prohibited transaction cases, Les regularly consulted with and advised senior staff of the Department of Labor and the IRS. Les has continued to counsel clients, including sponsors of plans, plan committees, institutional and individual trustees, and investment funds regarding the prohibited transaction excise taxes and ERISA fiduciary rules, DOL and IRS investigations, and employee benefits litigation.


  • Design and provide advice on tax, ERISA and securities laws relating to:
    • Tax qualified retirement plans
    • Nonqualified retirement plans
    • Executive compensation arrangements
    • Senior executive employment agreements
    • Senior executive parachute agreements
    • Senior executive retention and severance agreements
  • DOL and IRS voluntary compliance programs
  • DOL, IRS and PBGC employee plan audits
  • ERISA fiduciary and prohibited transaction rules
  • ERISA litigation



  • Certified Public Accountant

Recognition & Leadership

  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2006-2023
  • Listed, Leading Lawyers Network, 2007-2022
    • Listed, "Among the Top 10 Employee Benefits Lawyers in Illinois," 2014
    • Listed, "Among the Top 250 Business Lawyers in Illinois," 2014
  • Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Southwest Super Lawyers, 2006, 2008-2013, 2021-2022
  • Listed, The Legal 500 United States,
    • Labor and Employment - Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, 2014-2020
    • Labor and Employment - Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation and Retirement Plans: Design, 2021-2022
  • Listed, Chambers USA Guide, 2009-2019
  • Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Illinois Lawyers, 2014-2015
  • Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5.0

°AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell DistinguishedSM and Martindale-Hubbell NotableSM are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell® certification procedures, standards and policies.

  • Adjunct Professor, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Fellow, American College of Employee Benefits Counsel
  • Member, American Bar Association, Taxation Section
  • Former Co-Chair, IRS/ASPPA Great Lakes Benefits Conference, 1996-2007
  • Former Chair, Chicago Bar Association, Employee Benefits Committee 
  • Former Member, Board of Directors, American Society of Pension Actuaries (ASPA)
  • Former President and Founder, ASPA Benefits Council of Chicago


  • J.D., Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, 1980
  • B.S., Accountancy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1977
  • Illinois
  • Arizona