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Hugh Davis

t: 919.783.2908

Hugh devotes most of his practice to representing companies in matters relating to their defined benefit pension plans. He also advises on North Carolina laws governing multiple employer welfare arrangements and association health plans.

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For more than 25 years, Hugh has worked almost exclusively in the ERISA/employee benefits area.  Over his career, he has worked on 401(k) and pension plans, ESOPs, executive compensation, health and welfare plans, cafeteria plans, and the like.  He has assisted his clients with day-to-day compliance, plan design, government audits, mergers and acquisitions, employee communications, and plan terminations.  Today, he spends most of his time assisting corporate clients with legal issues relating to their defined benefit pension plans.

Areas of Focus

+Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation

  • Advising governmental and private sector employers in the design and operation of retirement and welfare benefit plans and executive compensation packages, including matters concerning ERISA and Internal Revenue Code compliance
  • Assisting plan sponsors in amending qualified plans to comply with changes in federal laws
  • Designing and redesigning qualified plans to take advantage of new rules and strategies, including safe harbor 401(k) plans, age-weighted profit sharing plans, and “new comparability” plans
  • Representing and advising sponsors of employee stock ownership plans and 401(k) plans in connection with plan purchases of and investments in employer securities, including leveraged ESOP transactions
  • Representing plan fiduciaries in benefit claims and disputes, including ESOP disputes
  • Advising sponsors of qualified retirement plans in connection with retirement plan mergers, spin-offs and terminations, including terminations of defined benefit plans under Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation regulations
  • Advising employers on employee benefits issues arising in business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions
  • Representing associations in the design, implementation and administration of multiple employer welfare arrangements, including representation before the North Carolina Department of Insurance in licensing matters
  • Representing sponsors of qualified retirement plans before the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, including advice and representation in connection with Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor voluntary compliance programs


+Certifications & Specializations

Certified Yellow Belt in Legal Lean Sigma by the Legal Lean Sigma Institute®



University of Virginia, JD, 1988

Duke University, BA, 1984


+Notable Accomplishments

Ranked among Law & Politics magazine’s North Carolina “Super Lawyers” (Employee Benefits/ERISA), 2007 – 2009




+Professional & Community Activities

Member, American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries

North Carolina Bar Association

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