Steven J. Friedman advises employers on a variety of aspects of employee benefits law, including:

  • The structuring and implementation of qualified and non-qualified retirement plans
  • Welfare and fringe benefits programs
  • Early retirement programs
  • Severance plans

He also has extensive experience counseling employers on Employee Retirement Income Security Act and tax compliance issues related to employee benefits plans, dealing with the governmental agencies that regulate such plans and construing employee benefits laws, such as the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.  Additionally, Steven advises clients on the manner in which employee benefits plans may be terminated, modified or restructured and has proficiency in plan conversion issues.

Steven has broad experience dealing with the legal, financial and administrative issues arising under executive compensation arrangements, including:

  • Deferred compensation
  • Supplemental executive retirement arrangements
  • Stock-related compensation
  • Stock appreciation rights
  • Phantom stock plans
  • Stock option plans

He also analyzes issues related to section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code. His expertise extends to employee benefits issues in connection with corporate transactions. A regular commentator to governmental agencies on pending legislation, Steven has also appeared on television and has been quoted in many national legal and business publications on employee benefits topics.

Prior to joining Littler Mendelson, Steven spent nearly 10 years as benefits counsel for a major multinational electronics and entertainment company. He also worked as an adjunct professor at Baruch College where he taught a tax course on employee benefits in 2008.

Professional & Community Affiliations


New York State Bar Association


Tax Section, Employee Benefits Committee

American Bar Association


Named, The Best Lawyers in America©


Named, Super Lawyer

New York

Super Lawyers

News, Analysis & Press

The Burden of Health Care


December 1, 2016

Contraceptive Mandate Still in Play

Business Insurance

May 22, 2016

Pensions & Retirement Plans 2016

Getting the Deal Through

May 1, 2016

Pensions & Retirement Plans 2016

Getting the Deal Through

May 1, 2016

New Year, New ACA Provisions, Court Cases and More

California Healthline

January 6, 2016

ACA Strategies for Employers

Today’s General Counsel

October 1, 2015

Contraceptive Coverage Mandate Under Fire

Business Insurance

September 27, 2015

Appeals Courts Split on Contraceptive Mandate ‘Opt-Out’

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

September 24, 2015

Immediate reactions to the King v. Burwell decision

Becker’s Hospital Review

June 25, 2015

House Expected to Pass 40-Hour Workweek Threshold for ACA

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

January 7, 2015

ACA Outlook: What Will 2015 Hold for Employers?

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

December 23, 2014

Last-Minute Actions Before Employer Mandate Kicks In

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

November 17, 2014

Money employers give for insurance can be taxed

Washington Post

September 24, 2014

Rulings on Subsidies Bring More ACA Confusion

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

July 22, 2014

Could Halbig v. Sebelius unravel Obamacare?


July 11, 2014

What the Hobby Lobby Ruling Means for Small Business

Bloomberg Businessweek

July 2, 2014

HHS Loses Contraceptive Coverage Case

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

June 30, 2014

Guests Amy Otto, Steve Friedman and Tom Grant

HealthCare Consumerism Radio

May 16, 2014

The Cost of Noncompliance

Bloomberg BNA Workforce Strategies

November 25, 2013

My Supply-Side Senses Are Starting to Tingle

Macro and Other Market Musings Blog

October 16, 2013

Steve Friedman, Littler, Discusses Impact of ACA on Small Businesses

The Institute for Healthcare Consumerism

September 24, 2013

Obamacare Still Lets Employers Discriminate—for Now

Bloomberg Businessweek

August 29, 2013

Confused IRS Tax Rules Threaten Obamacare Rollout

The Fiscal Times

June 19, 2013

ACA Bad for Small Business

Employee Benefit Advisor

May 29, 2013

ACA Bad for business, say small employers

Employee Benefit News

May 14, 2013

Lessons for 401(k) Plan Fiduciaries

HR Magazine

November 1, 2012

HHS shaming power has little effect on health plans

Employee Benefit News

August 1, 2012

Pension Funding Relief With Strings Attached

Compliance Week

July 17, 2012

Must-Know Facts About Health Reform - March 2010

Corporate Counsel

March 24, 2010

COBRA Subsidy Extended and Expanded


March 8, 2010

Employer CHIP Model Notice Released


February 10, 2010

2008 Compliance Strategies for Employers in Light of Final 409A Regulations

Compensation & Benefits Review, Vol. 40, Issue 2

April 2008

US Supreme Court Allows EEOC Medicare Coordination Ruling to Stand

Littler ASAP

March 2008

Key Challenges in Compensating Executive Under Section 409A Human Resources 2008 – Answers to Your Top 25 Questions

Thompson Publishing


DOL Extends Section 409A Documentation Deadline – Action Still Required By December 31, 2007

Littler ASAP

September 2007

Civil Unions Protected and Discrimination Barred in New Jersey

Privacy & Data Security Law Journal

April 2007

Benefits Issues in Mergers and Acquisitions, IICLE Practice Handbook

Labor and Employment Issues in Transactions, Business Restructuring and Workforce


Steve Friedman Notes Blocking Exit Packages May Snowball

The Wall Street Journal

December 1, 2006

Just In Time For the Holidays – Changes In Health Savings Account Rules Under the New Health Opportunity Patient Empowerment Act of 2006

Littler ASAP

December 2006

Steve Friedman Comments on 401K Oversight Lawsuits

Compliance Weekly

October 31, 2006

Steve Friedman Urges Employers to Comply with HIPAA Privacy Rule

SHRM Online

March 29, 2006

Year-End Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Checklist

Littler ASAP

December 2005

Steps Every 401(k) Sponsor Should Take to Minimize Fiduciary Risks

Employee Benefits Plan Review

October 2005

Flexibility From IRS For Flexible Spending Accounts

World Trade Executive

July/August 2005

New Legislation May Require Extensive Changes for New and Existing Executive Compensation Arrangements

Case n’ Point (online newsletter of the California Bar Association)

January 2005

Books & Book Chapters

  • Getting the Deal Through, Law Business Research Ltd., Pensions & Retirement Plans - Global Overview, Chapter Author, 2013 and 2014
  • Getting the Deal Through, Law Business Research Ltd., Pensions & Retirement Plans - USA, Chapter Co-Author: Melissa B. Kurtzman, 2013 and 2014
  • Executive Compensation, Open Compliance and Ethics Group Manual, Co-Editor, 2005

Speaking Engagements

Financial Services and Corporate Compliance

New York, NY

November 30, 2016

Inaugural U.K. Conference

November 8, 2016

Dealing with Plans Under Attack

NJCPA Conference

May 24, 2016

Dancing on a Minefield: Executive Compensation’s New Rules

The 2016 Executive Employer® Conference, Scottsdale, AZ

May 5, 2016

The Affordable Care Act: Imperatives for Employers in 2016 and Beyond

The 2016 Executive Employer® Conference, Scottsdale, AZ

May 5, 2016

2016 Employee Benefits Update - Rochester

Fairport, NY

January 28, 2016

2016 Employee Benefits Summit - Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

January 14, 2016

2015 Tri-State Employer Conference

New York, NY

November 5, 2015

2014 Employee Benefits Summit

Atlanta, GA

June 19, 2014

Overview of ERISA Fiduciary Responsibilities

2014 New Jersey Fiduciary Summit - Xponential Growth Solutions (XGS), Bridgewater, NJ

April 24, 2014

Workplace Uncertainties Under the ACA: Preparing the Employer and Employee for the Road Ahead

Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal, Hempstead, NY

November 1, 2013

Affordable Care Act Update

New York, NY

June 11, 2013

Running with Scissors: What U.S. Employers Should Know Before Cutting Global Staff

Global Employer Institute

Littler Mendelson, Washington D.C.

November 7, 2012

Atlanta Employer Conference

Atlanta, GA

September 28, 2012

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – What it Means After the Supreme Court’s Decision and What Employers Should Do About It

Atlanta Employer Conference

Littler Mendelson, Atlanta, GA

September 28, 2012

Health in a Handbasket - Where Healthcare is Headed and What Employers Should Do about It

The 2012 Executive Employer® Conference

Littler Mendelson, Scottsdale, AZ

May 10, 2012

The 2011 Littler Health Care Summit

New York, NY

June 8, 2011

New York Benefits Summit

New York, NY

February 10, 2011

Employee Severance and Release Agreements: The Courts’ Latest Rulings

Strafford Legal Teleconference

July 2008

Navigating the New Complexities of Deferred Compensation

Strafford Legal Teleconference

May 2008

Employee Severance: Crafting and Negotiating Enforceable Contracts

Strafford Legal Teleconference

January 2008

A Benefits Double-Feature

Denver, CO

October 4, 2007

Final 409A Regulations, Countdown to 12/31/07 Compliance

Strafford Legal Teleconference

October 2007

A Benefits Double - Feature

Boston, MA

June 26, 2007

Hot Topics in Health Benefit Plans

Lorman Education Services Seminar

June 2007

What You Don't Know About Deferred Compensation Can Hurt You – Do You Have an Action Plan?

Littler Mendelson Webinar

May 2007

Executive Compensation: How to Comply with New IRS Rules on Section 409A

Audio Conference - IOMA

May 2007

The New World of Deferred Compensation under Section 409A

New York State Bar Association

December 2006

Legal and Practical Considerations of Operating a Business

National Business Institute

November 2006

Employment Related Records

Lorman Education Services Seminar

May 2006

The New Deferred Compensation Rules – Critical Concepts You Need to Know

Littler Mendelson

November 2005

Health Plan Issues

Association of Law Administrators

September 2005

Executive Compensation Governance

Open Compliance and Ethics Group

September 2005

A Primer on New Deferred Compensation Rules

American Corporate Counsel

May 2005

Benefits Update

American Corporate Counsel

April 2005

Fiduciary Concerns of 401(k) Plan Sponsors

Defined Contribution/401(k) Plan West Coast Conference

October 2004

Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Update

East Coast Employer Conference - Littler Mendelson

September 2004

COBRA Update

Mid-Atlantic Employers' Association

June 2004

Employment Related Records in New York

Lorman Education Services Seminar

June 2004

HIPAA Compliance

Association of Law Firm Administrators

May 2004

Benefits Considerations in Mergers and Acquisitions

Society of Certified Employee Benefits Specialists - South Florida Chapter

April 2004

COBRA Update

Mid-Atlantic Employers' Association

January 2004


  • LL.M. in Taxation, New York University School of Law, 1988
  • J.D., Boston University, 1985
  • B.B.A., Emory University, 1982

Bar Admission

New York
New Jersey