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Years of Experience
Date Last Verified
ProfileBenefits Attorney The candidate reviews and analyzes documents, fact situations, and relevant laws and rules, and provides legal services and advice to General Counsel, the Legal Benefits Administration team manager, agency management including the Board of Trustees, and other agency staff; and provides information to members, retirees, beneficiaries, and the general public as applicable regarding pension benefits. Provides legal advice and assistance related to trust participant matters, pension benefit matters, and collection of amounts due to the retirement system; and coordinates advice with other attorneys to ensure compliance with plan qualification requirements, tax law requirements, and other federal and state laws affecting qualified governmental plans. Responds to open records requests, discovery requests and subpoenas, and other requests for member information, including determining whether confidential information may be disclosed and corresponding with the requestors. Determines if an order is a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) and assists other legal staff in administering QDROs. Reviews child support orders and administrative writs, various court orders, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax levies, criminal restitution writs, bankruptcy notices, federal student loan garnishment orders, subpoenas, third party discovery, powers of attorney, guardianship, trust, and other legal documents; and provides advice and legal assistance to other legal staff and departments regarding the administration of pension benefits. Develops training materials and provides training to management and staff regarding pension benefits. Reviews pension plan publications for legal sufficiency, and provides legal advice on web-based access to personal information and pension plan transactions. Drafts rules and assists with rulemaking, including preparation of rule preambles and coordination with staff in affected departments; and coordinates periodic rule reviews as required by statute. Represents the agency at the State Office of Administrative Hearings in administrative appeals, including preparing pleadings, briefs, notices, motions, and orders; gathering evidence and conducting discovery; and conducting hearings. Coordinates with the Office of the Attorney General on agency litigation; researches and analyzes legal issues and prepares legal memoranda; gathers and reviews evidence and prepares discovery responses and affidavits; and assists in defense or prosecution of litigation. Attends meetings of the Board of Trustees, Board committees, and Medical Board or advisory committees as directed; assists with preparing meeting materials, such as drafting proposed resolutions, meeting minutes, and related materials; and delivers presentations as assigned. Represents the agency as assigned in meetings and negotiations with other attorneys and external participants, including executive and legislative branches of Texas state government. Provides legal advice and assistance on other matters as assigned, such as organization authority, contracting and procurement, employment, records retention, and other records management issues. Conducts or directs legal research with respect to assigned or referred matters. Prepares letters, memoranda, bills, or analysis for legislative consideration, policies, guidelines, procedures, contracts, and other materials as assigned. Tracks deadlines and takes appropriate action on assigned matters. May coordinate the related work of legal assistants and support staff, and may supervise or coordinate the related work of attorneys and other departmental staff when designated as lead attorney with regard to assigned matters. Leads or participates in special projects and serves in special roles, as assigned. Performs related work as assigned.
Qualification and Experience
The candidate should have JD degree from an accredited law school. Should have 5+ years of full-time experience as a practicing attorney in at least one of the following areas: litigation, administrative law (Administrative Procedures contested cases, open government, records management, rulemaking, etc.), employee benefits related to qualified plans, tax law related to qualified plans, school law, or employment law. Licensed to practice law in the State of Texas and a member in good standing of the State Bar of Texas; or hold a valid, active law license issued by another state and be eligible for Texas licensure under Board of Law Examiners Rule XIII: Attorneys From Other Jurisdictions (candidate must obtain Texas license within eight months of hire date) is needed. Experience handling litigation and/or administrative hearings are needed. Experience providing counsel, drafting and interpreting laws, rules, and regulations, and preparing written communications to plan participants and participating employers regarding the administration of a defined-benefit governmental plan and various systems and programs of retirement and related death and disability benefits for public school employees, including higher education employees is needed. Experience interpreting and providing counsel regarding legal requirements for qualification as a tax-exempt trust and governmental plan under 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code is essential. Experience interpreting and providing counsel regarding fiduciary duties of trustees are needed. Experience effectively communicating with a high-level audience, such as a governing Board or executive management is needed. Experience coordinating work assignments and reviewing work product of a group of attorneys and other legal staff is needed. Must have knowledge of: Legal issues and concepts in at least one area of law relevant to job functions. Fiduciary responsibilities or ethics issues. Should have skill in: Performing legal research and analysis of relevant information and in rendering advice based on sound legal judgment. Effective written and verbal communications in developing and advocating legal positions, giving advice, and preparing and presenting complex legal documents or reports. Handling litigation and/or administrative hearings, motion practice, conducting discovery, and drafting pleadings, briefs, motions, and affidavits. Analyzing problems and devising effective solutions. Negotiating, mediating, and resolving conflicts. Using a computer in a Windows environment with Microsoft Office word processing, spreadsheet, and other business software, including using software for electronic research and producing briefs, correspondence, reports, spreadsheets, and presentations. Task management and organization, including prioritizing work assignments to manage a high-volume workload in a fast-paced and changing environment, meeting deadlines, and completing detailed work with a high degree of accuracy. Should have ability to: Work extended and/or irregular hours and travel as needed due to internal and external obligations; Establish and maintain harmonious working relationships with co-workers, other agency staff, members, and other external contacts; amd Work effectively in a professional team environment.
Teacher Retirement System of Texas
1000 Red River Street
Austin, TX 78701