Virginia E. McGarrity


  • Overview


    Virginia McGarrity is a member of the firm's Employee Benefits + Compensation Group, counseling employers, insurance carriers, and service providers on a wide range of complex employee benefits and executive compensation matters.

    Retirement Plan Design and Administration

    Virginia’s practice addresses a broad array of issues relating to the design, drafting, and operation of qualified and nonqualified defined benefit and defined contribution plans, including 401(k), profit-sharing, multiemployer, employee stock ownership and Section 403(b) and 457(b) plans of tax-exempt organizations. She represents clients before the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Labor, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation in connection with audits, qualification submissions, plan corrections, and other matters.

    Governmental Plans

    Virginia frequently works with state and municipal governmental clients sponsoring and administering benefit plans and programs. She advises these clients on qualified retirement plans and 457(b) plans, from generally applicable requirements to unique rules addressing vesting requirements for governmental plans, pick-up of employee contributions, purchase of service and 415(m) excess plans. Additionally, she advises clients on state statutes relating to the implementation and governance of public plans, as well as the interpretation of specific enabling statutes creating various governmental entities.

    Health and Welfare Benefit Plans

    Virginia has considerable experience counseling clients on a wide range of health and welfare benefits matters, including issues related to the Affordable Care Act, self-funded health arrangements, wellness and disease management programs, HIPAA privacy and security rules, COBRA administration, and various state laws and regulations governing health and welfare plan design and administration.

    Executive Compensation and Equity Arrangements

    Virginia has a broad depth of experience in designing, implementing and maintaining executive and outside-director compensation and incentive programs, including equity-based plans. She regularly provides counsel on the tax consequences of such programs, as well as assisting in structuring those arrangements to comply with ERISA, Section 409A, and Section 457(f) (for tax-exempt organizations). Virginia also advises clients regarding change in control issues involving golden parachutes. In addition to designing executive compensation programs, she assists compensation committees of public companies on compliance with Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure and reporting requirements.

    Fiduciary Advice

    Virginia routinely counsels boards of directors, trustees, investment committees, plan administrators, and plan fiduciaries regarding their duties and responsibilities under federal law. She counsels plan sponsors on all aspects of ERISA fiduciary compliance, including plan governance, plan expense issues, and the selection and monitoring of plan investment options.

    The author of numerous articles on employee benefits matters, Virginia is also a frequent speaker at insurance, human resource, financial institution, brokerage and government plan conferences. She is a contributing author to the firm’s Data Privacy + Security Insider and ERISA Claim Defense blogs.

    Virginia was named to the Connecticut Super Lawyers® list from 2013 to 2019 and among The Best Lawyers in America© in the area of Employee Benefits/ERISA Law for 2018 and 2019.

  • Experience
    • Experience


      • Provide HIPAA privacy and security training to employee benefits and human resources professionals for various tax-exempt and private employer-sponsors of self-funded and fully-insured group health plans.
      • Performed HIPAA analysis for plan sponsor's group health plans, including drafting of policies and procedures and negotiation of business associate agreements.
      • Advised plan sponsor regarding consolidation of sponsor's multiple welfare benefit plans and cafeteria plan into a single "wrap plan" and drafted document for new plan.
      • Represented Reflexite Corporation, an ESOP company and a leading global manufacturer of high-visibility, reflective products, as well as lighting optics, display optics, and instrumentation optics, in its merger with a wholly owned subsidiary of Orafol International, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Germany-based Orafol Europe GmbH.
      • Represented Camuto Consulting Inc., owner of lifestyle brand Vince Camuto, in connection with the merger of a newly formed merger subsidiary and a corporation, owned by certain Chaus family members, with and into Bernard Chaus, Inc. designer and marketer of women's wear.
      • Represented EDAC Technologies Corporation, a diversified designer, manufacturer, and servicer of precision components for aerospace and industrial applications, in its acquisition of EBTEC Corporation.
      • Represented Alta Equity Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm, in its acquisition of Truist, Inc., a leading software and service provider of corporate philanthropic solutions.
      • Represented Balance Point Capital Partners, L.P. and First New England Capital III, L.P. in connection with a stock purchase in, and mezzanine debt facility to, ePrize, LLC, a digital promotions agency.
      • Transactional and Development

      • Representation of a construction materials company concerning the sale of its asphalt paving and construction contracting business in Michigan and Indiana; representation of aggregate company in addressing environmental conditions and transactions in New York and Louisiana.

      • Other Experiences

      • Representation of Connecticut municipalities concerning creation and administration of other postemployment benefits trusts.
      • Representation of Connecticut municipalities for consultation with public plan administrators on administration and plan interpretation issues, including 414(h) "pickup" provisions and constructive receipt issues in connection with length of service awards.
      • Representation of Connecticut municipalities concerning the prefunding of retiree medical benefits through the creation of a 401(h) account and the use of excess pension assets as allowed under Section 420 of the Internal Revenue Code.
      • Representation of a Rhode Island municipality concerning the provision of disability benefits for individuals who were not otherwise eligible to participate in the municipality's pension plan.
      • back to top
    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      American Bar Association
      Section of Labor and Employment Law
      Section of Taxation, Employee Benefits Committee

      Worldwide Employee Benefits Network, Hartford Chapter

      Connecticut Bar Association

      Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association
      Advisory Committee to the Board and Former President (2008 - 2017)

      Connecticut Bar Foundation
      James W. Cooper Fellow
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the area of Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law since 2018.

      Selected to the Connecticut Super Lawyers list from 2013 to 2019.

      Selected as a Rising Star in the Connecticut Super Lawyers list from 2010 to 2012.

      2012 Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association Recognition Award

      Robinson+Cole Community Service Award recipient, 2019

      Robinson+Cole Pro Bono Service Award Recipient, 2011

      Connecticut Law Tribune, recognized in 2016 New Leaders in the Law Yearbook 

      Recognized in the special section "Lawyers of Color: High Achievers,"Connecticut Law Tribune, 2011

    • Community Involvement

      Community Involvement

      Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
      Board of Trustees (2012-2019), Secretary (2016-2019)
    • Publications


      "Terminating a Defined Benefit Plan Checklist," published in Lexis Practice Advisor, co-authored with Alisha N. Sullivan (July 2019)
      • » more info
      • View article

      "Disaster Relief in the Workplace," published in Labor and Employment Newsletter, co-authored with Alisha N. Sullivan (Fall 2017)
      • » more info
      • View article

      "Proposed Expansion of the PBGC's Missing Participant Program," co-authored with Alisha N. Sullivan, published in the Fall 2017 edition of the Public Fiduciary
      • » more info

      "Trump admin. allows employers to opt out of ACA's contraception mandate," published in Hartford Business Journal, co-authored with Alisha N. Sullivan (11/6/2017)

      "How Secure is Your Retirement Plan?" published in Data Privacy + Security Insider (10/3/2016)

      "Defense of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional by Federal Appeals Court," published in ABA Health eSource, Volume 8, Number 12 (8/2012)

      "ERISA Health Plans: Changes and Challenges in the Fiduciary Arena," published in Payors Plans & Managed Care, co-authored with Jean E. Tomasco (11/2011)

      "The Fair and Equitable Treatment Standard in a State of Necessity: Violations of the United States – Argentina Bilateral Investment Treaty in Sempra Energy International v. Argentine Republic," published in Yearbook of Arbitration and Mediation, vol. 1 (Summer 2009)

      "401(k) Plans in Challenging Economic Times: Reducing or Eliminating Employer Contributions Midyear," published in The Journal of Retirement Planning, co-authored with Bruce B. Barth and Cynthia R. Christie (May/June 2009)

      The Connecticut Corporate Practice Series chapter of Doing Business in States Other Than the State of Incorporation, a publication of the Bureau of National Affairs, April 2009, coauthored with Eric J. Dale

      "Recent Development: American General Life and Accident Insurance Company v. Wood," published in The Journal of American Arbitration, vol. 6, no. 2 (Spring 2007)

      "Avoiding Evident Partiality in Borst v. Allstate Insurance Company," published in The Journal of American Arbitration, vol. 6, no. 1 (Fall 2006)

    • Presentations


      "Understanding the CARES Act and Employee Benefits," co-presented with Alisha N. Sullivan, one in a series of webinars on the CARES Act presented by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association. (5/1/2020)
      • » more info

      "Pension Board Best Practices," presented at the Connecticut Public Pension Forum Fall Conference. (10/24/2019)
      • » more info

      "Municipal Defined Contribution Plans: The Evolving Fiduciary Landscape," presented during the Government Finance Officers Association of Connecticut (GFOA-CT) Fall 2018 Quarterly Meeting (11/8/2018)
      • » more info

      "The Latest Trends and Practices in Employee Benefits," presented during the MLG Roundtable (6/14/2018)
      • » more info

      "The Current State of the Affordable Care Act," sponsored by ConnectiCare, presented to their sales, marketing, underwriting, and in-house legal counsel (4/30/2018)

      "Section 409A and Executive Compensation," CLE program presented by the Connecticut Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Law Section in Hamden, Connecticut. (2/28/2018)
      • » more info

      "Getting Your Health Care Entity Ready for a Purchase or Sale Transaction: Steps for Success," co-presented with Leslie J. Levinson, Natale V. Di Natale, Richard M. Fil and Brian D. Nichols, webinar (2/27/2018)
      • » more info

      "The Affordable Care Act: Where Do We Go From Here?" program hosted by Robert Hensley & Associates LLC (RH&A) (4/25/2017)
      • » more info

      "403(b) plans under attack: Fiduciary breach class actions brought against multiple plans," co-presented with Bruce B. Barth, at the AICUM Spring Symposium 2017 in Worcester, Massachusetts (3/23/2017)
      • » more info

      "Fiduciary Update: Best Practices in Light of Recent Court Cases," at the Connecticut Society of CPAs' (CTCPA) Employee Benefit Plans Conference in Rocky Hill, Connecticut (5/25/2016)
      • » more info

      "Health Care Reform and Its Impact on the Business Community," at Middlesex Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors meeting at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, Connecticut (5/21/2015)

      "King v. Burwell," guest lecturer for a Supreme Court symposium at Quinnipiac University School of Law (3/30/2015)
      • » more info

      "Advising Your Clients on Health Care Reform," a continuing education session sponsored by ConnectiCare to a group of approximately 40 large group brokers (3/2/2015)
      • » more info

      "Large Group Health Care Reform and Pharmacy Trends," co-presented with Tim Harlan from Express Scripts, an in-house training session for ConnectiCare (2/4/2015)
      • » more info

      "Health Care Reform, the Cadillac Tax and Its Impact on Municipal Employers," presented to the Public Sector Advisory Council and sponsored by ConnectiCare (12/3/2014)

      "Perspective on the Affordable Care Act," co-presented with Bruce B. Barth and Thomas McGuire, senior deputy general counsel at UnitedHealthcare, at the Connecticut Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel's (CONNACCA) In-House Paralegal Conference (3/27/2014)

      "Benefits: What to Prepare for in 2015," at event sponsored by the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, co-presented with Michelle Zettergren, senior vice president, chief sales, and marketing officer at ConnectiCare, Inc. (3/20/2014)

      "Affordable Care Act: Developing Your Health Care Reform Strategy," published in ConnectiCare Inc.’s Annual Breakfast Meeting for Employers, co-presented with Bruce B. Barth (6/12/2013)

      "Affordable Care Act: Developing Your Health Care Reform Strategy," published in ConnectiCare Inc.’s Annual Breakfast Meeting for Insurance Brokers, co-presented with Bruce B. Barth (6/5/2013)

      "Most Important Issues Business Managers Need to Plan for Under Health Care Reform," at Business Manager's Meeting for the Connecticut Association for Independent Schools (10/10/2012)

      "Mentoring, Historical Lessons Still Applicable Today," at Our History, Our Future: Celebrating Attorneys of Color in Connecticut, Moderator (4/13/2012)

      "To Love, Honor, and Share Tax Deductions…?" presented at Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants' (CSCPA) Tax360º Conference in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, co-presented with Felicia S. Hoeniger and Kelley Galica Peck (11/9/2011)

      "Success as a Summer Associate in a Big Law Firm," published in Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity, co-presented with Bruce B. Barth (4/28/2011)

      "Health Care Reform: Preparing Employers and Health Plans for 2011 and Beyond," co-presented with Bruce B. Barth and Melanie J. Hancock, webinar (10/12/2010)

    • News

      R+C in the News

      • July 26, 2019

        Virginia McGarrity and Alisha Sullivan Co-Author Checklist on Terminating a Defined Benefit Plan Published in Lexis Practice Advisor

        • » more info
        • View article
      • May 31, 2019

        Virginia McGarrity Authors Article on ACA Employer Shared Responsibility

        • » more info
      • May 16, 2019

        Virginia McGarrity Is Honored at Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Annual Meeting

        • » more info
      • November 13, 2018

        Virginia McGarrity Presents Program on Municipal Defined Contribution Plans

        • » more info
      • October 18, 2018

        51 Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

        • » more info
        • View article
      • August 20, 2018

        52 Robinson+Cole Lawyers Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2019

        • » more info
        • View article
      • July 11, 2018

        Ed Heath, Virginia McGarrity, and Joanne Rapuano Present During MLG Roundtable Discussion

        • » more info
      • May 15, 2018

        Five Robinson+Cole Lawyers Selected as James W. Cooper Fellows of the Connecticut Bar Foundation

        • » more info
      • March 7, 2018

        Virginia McGarrity Co-presents on Section 409A and Executive Compensation During CBA CLE Program

        • » more info
      • February 28, 2018

        Natale Di Natale, Rich Fil, Les Levinson, Virginia McGarrity, and Brian Nichols Present Health Law Webinar

        • » more info
      • January 10, 2018

        Virginia McGarrity and Alisha Sullivan Co-author Article Published in ABA Labor and Employment Law Newsletter

        • » more info
      • December 22, 2017

        Virginia McGarrity and Alisha Sullivan Co-author Article Published in the Public Fiduciary

        • » more info
      • November 15, 2017

        Virginia McGarrity and Alisha Sullivan Co-author Article Published in the Hartford Business Journal

        • » more info
      • May 2, 2017

        Virginia McGarrity Discusses the Future of Health Care Reform Under the Trump Administration

        • » more info
      • April 3, 2017

        Employee Benefits Lawyers Speak at AICUM Spring Symposium 2017

        • » more info
      • June 1, 2016

        Virginia McGarrity Presents at CTCPA Conference

        • » more info
      • April 26, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Elected to CHBA Board

        • » more info
      • June 16, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Sponsors Stowe Center's Big Tent Jubilee

        • » more info
      • June 10, 2015

        Virginia McGarrity Presents to Middlesex Chamber of Commerce Board

        • » more info
      • April 28, 2015

        Hartford Lawyers Elected to CHBA Board Positions

        • » more info
      • April 21, 2015

        Virginia McGarrity Is Guest Lecturer at SCOTUS Symposium

        • » more info
      • April 8, 2015

        Virginia McGarrity Presents on Health Care Reform

        • » more info
      • October 30, 2014

        Virginia McGarrity Assesses High Court's Silence on Same-Sex Marriage

        • » more info
      • June 12, 2014

        Virginia McGarrity Elected Secretary of Stowe Center Board

        • » more info
      • May 6, 2014

        Hartford Lawyers Speak at CONNACCA Conference

        • » more info
      • April 2, 2014

        Virginia McGarrity Speaks at CBIA Conference

        • » more info
      • June 24, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Lawyers Answer Health Care Reform Questions

        • » more info
      • June 18, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Lawyers Support The Stowe Center

        • » more info
      • May 28, 2013

        Robinson+Cole Sponsors Crawford Annual Dinner

        • » more info
      • May 9, 2013

        Virginia McGarrity Quoted in Connecticut Law Tribune

        • » more info
      • December 13, 2012

        Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association Honors Virginia McGarrity

        • » more info
      • November 2, 2012

        Virginia E. McGarrity Delivers Presentation to Connecticut Association for Independent Schools

        • » more info
      • September 6, 2012

        Virginia McGarrity Writes Article on Defense of Marriage Act in American Bar Association Newsletter

      • June 1, 2012

        Virginia McGarrity Quoted in an Article About the Connecticut Bar Association’s Diversity Efforts

        • » more info
      • May 10, 2012

        Virginia McGarrity Begins Serving as Past President of Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association

        • » more info
      • May 1, 2012

        Virginia McGarrity Moderates Panel Discussion at Attorneys of Color Symposium

        • » more info
      • March 1, 2012

        Virginia McGarrity Weighs In on the Connecticut Bar Association’s Latest Diversity Initiative

        • » more info
      • December 5, 2011

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Participate in the Connecticut Society of CPAs’ Annual Tax Conference

        • » more info
      • November 11, 2011

        Employment and Benefits Attorneys Publish ERISA Health Plan Fiduciaries Article

        • » more info
      • September 30, 2011

        Connecticut Law Tribune Recognizes Four Robinson & Cole Attorneys

      • September 12, 2011

        Virginia McGarrity Accepts Award on Behalf of Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association

        • » more info
      • May 31, 2011

        CHBA President Virginia McGarrity Featured in Connecticut Law Tribune Article

        • » more info
      • April 18, 2011

        Virginia McGarrity Named President of the Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association

        • » more info
      • May 3, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Elected Secretary of Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association

        • » more info
      • May 12, 2009

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Coauthor Chapter in Bureau of National Affairs Publication

        • » more info
      • April 30, 2009

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Elected to Board of Directors of Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association

        • » more info

      R+C News Releases

      • October 19, 2019

        52 Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

        • » more info
        • View article
      • August 15, 2019

        57 Robinson+Cole Lawyers Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2020

        • » more info
        • View article
      • October 17, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

        • » more info
        • View article
      • August 15, 2017

        Fifty-Nine Robinson+Cole Lawyers Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2018

        • » more info
        • View article
      • November 18, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Elects New Partners

        • » more info
        • View article
      • October 18, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

        • » more info
        • View article
      • September 29, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Named “New Leaders in the Law” by the Connecticut Law Tribune

        • » more info
        • View article
      • October 19, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

        • » more info
        • View article
      • October 17, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers

        • » more info
        • View article
      • June 21, 2013

        Local Organizations Recognize Robinson & Cole’s Pro Bono Service

        • » more info
        • View article
      • February 26, 2013

        Virginia McGarrity Elected to Harriet Beecher Stowe Center’s Board of Trustees

        • » more info
        • View article
      • October 22, 2012

        Super Lawyers® Names 49 Robinson & Cole Attorneys to 2012 List and Recognizes 26 as Rising Stars

        • » more info
        • View article
      • November 18, 2011

        Robinson & Cole Announces Pro Bono Award Recipients

        • » more info
        • View article
    • Legal Updates/Newsletters

      Legal Updates/Newsletters

      IRS Issues Guidance on Cafeteria Plan Elections and Other Changes Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, co-authored with Bruce B. Barth and Alisha N. Sullivan

      Joint Agency Guidance Extends COBRA and Other ERISA Deadlines, co-authored with Bruce B. Barth and Alisha N. Sullivan (5/7/20)

      CARES Act Provisions Affecting Employee Benefits, co-authored with Alisha N. Sullivan and Bruce B. Barth (3/27/20)