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Joni L. Andrioff’s expertise is in the areas of employee benefits and executive compensation. She advises corporate, tax-exempt, and institutional fiduciary clients in matters relating to:

  • ERISA fiduciary responsibility and prohibited transactions
  • Employee benefit plan design, administration, funding and correction
  • Executive compensation, including severance arrangements, employment agreements, deferred compensation, equity-based arrangements, nonqualified retirement plans, and SERPs
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Health and welfare plans and trusts

Joni has counseled employers in the funding and administration of multiemployer pension and health and welfare plans. In one instance, healthcare issues were the subject of a lengthy strike involving over 80,000 employees. She participated in the multi-million dollar settlement of a cash balance pension plan "whipsaw" litigation case; and in various fiduciary breach and ERISA §510 benefit discrimination and interference cases. Some notable cases that Joni has handled include:

  • Compliance review of a multi-billion defined benefit pension plan with 72 different benefit formulae resulting from mergers and acquisitions by a large paper company.
  • Union negotiation, court settlement, structuring, employee communications and other matters relating to a domestic tire and rubber company’s $1 billion contribution to a voluntary employees’ beneficiary trust established to fund retiree medical benefits. 
  • Representation of a large institutional fiduciary in its role as independent fiduciary of the retirement plans of an energy trading company during its bankruptcy proceedings. This representation included the settlement of bankruptcy and ERISA litigation claims on behalf of the retirement plans and ongoing plan compliance issues.
  • Representation of a large institutional fiduciary in its capacity as trustee of a 100% S Corporation ESOP in connection with the ESOP’s acquisition of a paper company from foreign owners in a transaction valued in excess of $900 million.
  • Representation of an independent fiduciary of airline pension plans in considering whether to accept in-kind contributions to the plans in the form of subsidiary stock valued in excess of $300 million. This engagement eventually included the sale of the contributed stock in an initial public offering.

Before she joined Littler Mendelson, Joni was a principal in the Tax Services Group at Deloitte; a partner at a global business and finance law firm, and a representative in the Office and Professional Employees International Union. She also served as a law clerk to Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.


  • Chair, Employee Benefits Committee, Tax Section - American Bar Association, 2011-2012
  • Member, Joint Committee on Employee Benefits – American Bar Association, 2003-present
  • Chair, Joint Committee on Employee Benefits – American Bar Association, 2006-2007
  • Chair, Committee on Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, Business Section – American Business Association, 2004-2007
  • Chair, Employee Benefits Committee, Section of Federal Taxation  - Chicago Bar Association, 1998-1999
  • Chair, Executive Compensation Committee, Section of Federal Taxation - Chicago Bar Association, 1997-1998


  • Named, America's Leading Lawyers for Business - Chambers USA, 2013
  • Named, Who’s Who in American Law
  • Named, Who’s Who for American Women
  • Named, The Best Lawyers in America, 2011-2014
  • Named, Super Lawyer - Illinois
  • Inductee, American College of Employee Benefits Counsel
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation