Scott E. Galbreath leads the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Team. He has more than 30 years of experience representing employers in ERISA, employee benefits, and executive compensation matters. Scott also practices in the areas of tax, business and nonprofit law.
Scott’s benefits practice includes counseling for-profit, tax exempt and governmental clients on all aspects of employee benefits: choosing appropriate retirement, deferred compensation, equity compensation, cafeteria and other health and welfare benefit plans; using benefits to attract and retain key executive and management employees; using benefits (including ESOPs), in succession planning; ERISA, Internal Revenue Code section 401(a), 403(b), 409A and 457 compliance; CalPERS and PEPRA compliance; investments, prohibited transactions, and fiduciary duties; multiemployer plan funding and withdrawal liability rules; as well as drafting plan documents and correcting plan operational or document failures, and representing clients in IRS audits or Department of Labor investigations. Scott also consults with attorneys involved in litigation or alternative dispute resolution on ERISA and employee benefits aspects of their case and can serve as an expert witness.
Scott was awarded his J.D. from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law and also earned an LL.M in Taxation, with honors, from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. He has earned his certification as a specialist in Taxation Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. He was recognized as an Illinois Leading Lawyer in Employee Benefits in 2006 by the Leading Lawyer Network. Scott is a former officer of the Chicago Bar Association's Employee Benefits Committee and former Chair of its Executive Compensation Subcommittee.
After practicing for 20 years in Chicago, Scott moved to California where he has served as Chair of the Sacramento County Bar Association's Tax Section as well as President of the Sacramento Chapter of the Western Pension & Benefits Council. He has also served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Governing Board of the Western Pension & Benefits Council and as a board member of the Sacramento Chapter of the National Institute of Pension Administrators. He is currently the President of the Chapter.
Scott is a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel. Selection as a Fellow reflects the Board's judgment that a nominee has made significant contributions to the advancement of the employee benefits field. Fellows are selected by the College's Board of Governors from among employee benefits attorneys nominated for that honor and recommended for consideration by the Board's Membership Committee after considering the recommendations of regional screening committees.
Scott is a frequent writer and speaker on new developments in employee benefits. In September 2007, he helped organize, spoke at and moderated the first annual Executive Compensation Institute sponsored by the Chicago Bar Association and the John Marshall Law School. He was also instrumental in helping to establish the Capital Forum on Pensions, the Sacramento area’s annual employee benefits conference established in 2013. He is also a regular contributor to the Journal of Pension Benefits published by Wolters Kluwer and the author of Murphy Austin's The Benefit of Benefits blog, which is an online resource for information and commentary on new legislative, regulatory, and industry developments in employee benefits and executive compensation.
Scott was named a Top Lawyer for Employee Benefits (2015-2017 and 2020-2021) and a Top Lawyer for Tax (2021) in the lists published by Sacramento Magazine. He was also named a Super Lawyer in Northern California Super Lawyers in 2021 for excellence in employee benefits law. Scott is recognized by Martindale-Hubbell as an AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated lawyer.