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.
Recognized by Chambers USA as a leading lawyer, James was praised for his ERISA experience and clients noted that he "is thoughtful, has a great practical approach and is very helpful in giving us a sense of where we are in the pack." James was also recognized in the 2013-2020 editions of The Best Lawyers in America as one of the nation's leading lawyers in ERISA law, 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 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
- Public Pension Plans: Opportunities and Challenges, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, November 6, 2008
Selected Professional Publications:
- "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
- "Legal Issues," Handbook of Insurance-Linked Securities, 2009 (Wiley Finance) (co-author)
- "Understanding the Landscape for Financial Institutions and Advisers," PLI ERISA Fiduciary Investment Basics 2011 (co-author)
- “Affiliation Issues," PLI Pension Plan Investments 2008: Current Perspectives (co-author)
- “Last Year at the Labor Department,” PLI Pension Plan Investments 2007: Current Perspectives (co-author)
- “ERISA Compliance Guide for Broker Dealers,” PLI Pension Plan Investments 2005: Confronting Today's Issues (co-author)