James Frazier focuses his practice in the area of ERISA and employee benefits. A large part of his practice is devoted to advising clients with respect to the application of ERISA’s fiduciary standards and prohibited transaction provisions to their activities in transactional and regulatory matters.
James regularly advises financial services firms with respect to the structuring of investment vehicles and other investment products, including complex structured products and derivatives, offered to employee benefit plans and entities deemed to hold the assets of such plans. He routinely advises financial services firms in connection with the provision of services, such as investment management and brokerage services, to such plans or entities. James also advises clients regarding issues that arise under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code in the context of corporate transactions. He also routinely represents clients before the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration.
James has been recognized by Chambers USA as one of the nation’s top employee benefits and executive compensation lawyers, he has been praised for his ERISA experience and clients have noted that he "is thoughtful, has a great practical approach" and has been described as "a strong advocate and very solutions-oriented." James was also recognized in the 2013-2021 editions of The Best Lawyers in America as one of the nation's leading lawyers in ERISA law, has been recognized in the 2016-2020 editions of The Legal 500 U.S. and was part of the team that was named 2020 Regulatory team of the year by IFLR Americas.
Prior to entering private practice, James was a Pension Law Specialist with the U.S. Department of Labor, where he spent extensive time working with the fiduciary provisions found in, and prohibited transaction exemptions issued under, Title I of ERISA.
James received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Arkansas School of Law, and an LL.M. in Taxation and Certificate in Employee Benefits Law, as well as an LL.M. in Labor Law, with distinction, from the Georgetown University Law Center. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina. He is admitted to practice in New York and North Carolina.
Selected Speaking Engagements:
- Pension Plan Investments 2020: Current Perspectives, Practising Law Institute, October 20, 2020
- Pension Plan Investments 2019: Current Perspectives, Practising Law Institute, May 7, 2019
- Pension Plan Investments 2018: Current Perspectives, Practising Law Institute, May 15, 2018
- ERISA Plan Investments in Financial Markets 2018: The Fundamentals, Practising Law Institute, March 23, 2018
- Pension Plan Investments 2017: Current Perspectives, Practising Law Institute, May 16, 2017
- WGMR Pension Fund Webinar, International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc., January 20, 2017
- Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule, MFA Outside Counsel Forum, June 15, 2016
- Pension Plan Investments 2016: Current Perspectives, Practising Law Institute, March 30, 2016
- ERISA Plans in the Financial Markets 2016, Practising Law Institute, February 8, 2016
- Pension Plan Investments 2015: Current Perspectives, Practising Law Institute, April 14, 2015
- Pension Plan Investments 2014: Current Perspectives, Practising Law Institute, April 1, 2014
- Pension Plan Investments 2013: Current Perspectives, Practising Law Institute, April 2, 2013
- Dodd Frank Implementation: Navigating Rough Waters, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, March 1, 2012
- Regulatory Roundtable, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, November 10, 2011
- ERISA Fiduciary Investment Basics 2011, Practising Law Institute, February 23, 2011
Selected Professional Publications:
- "Department of Labor Finalizes Rule Adopting Amendments to the ‘Investment Duties’ Regulation" (co-author), Clients & Friends, November 18, 2020
- "Pension Plan Investments 2020 - Regulatory Update", PLI Pension Plan Investments: 2020, Current Perspectives (co-author)
- "Pension Plan Investments 2019 – Regulatory Update", PLI Pension Plan Investments: 2019, Current Perspectives (co-author)
- "Choose One: Best Interest or Full Service" (co-author), Clients & Friends, April 26, 2018
- "The Trump Administration: President Trump Issues Executive Actions on Dodd-Frank and the DOL Fiduciary Rule", Clients & Friends, February 16, 2017
- "U.S. Department of Labor's Proposed New Criteria for Qualification as a 'Rating Agency' in Connection with the Underwriter Exemptions," PLI Pension Plan Investments 2013: Current Perspectives (co-author)
- "ERISA," Lofchie's Guide to Broker Dealer Regulation, 4th Edition, 2011