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Lee Trucker began his legal career in New Jersey, but his move to California 25 years ago set him on a path to become the premier management-oriented ERISA lawyer in the Bay Area and beyond. Not that size matters in and of itself in this specialty area of law, but Trucker can claim that his 20-lawyer firm, Trucker Huss, is “the largest employee benefits boutique west of the Potomac River.” Only the 44-attorney Groom Law Group, prestigiously located a block away from the White House in Washington, D.C., is larger. Although Trucker’s firm handles some litigation, the overwhelming bulk of his practice focuses on advising employers and the trustees of employee benefit plans on compliance with all aspects of retirement, health and other job-related benefits. Trucker, for example, played a role in the transition of all employee benefits matters as part of the 2002 merger between computer makers Hewlett-Packard Co. and Compaq Computer Corp. His firm serves as general counsel to the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust, whose 100,000 participants make it the largest pension plan in the country operating under a collective bargaining agreement. One of Trucker’s partners, Barbara Creed, represents the trustees of two retirement plans that had been in place at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, the San Francisco firm that shut its doors in January. “Lee is smart, thoughtful and has great integrity,” says Wendy Lazerson, an employment partner in Holland & Knight’s San Francisco office. “I’d use him if we didn’t have our own ERISA lawyers.” While Trucker Huss competes for business with the benefits departments of larger law firms, Trucker notes that even the largest of those firms often have no more than a handful of ERISA experts among their ranks. Some have none at all, which also helps to explain why Trucker and other lawyers at his firm are regularly brought in by other firms to assist in benefits matters. Trucker, 62, is a 1966 graduate of Rutgers School of Law in New Jersey. After starting his own firm in 1980, he joined forces with R. Bradford Huss, another ERISA expert, in 1989. Over the years, Trucker Huss has dabbled in other related areas, notably estate planning. But the focus shifted back exclusively to benefits-related work about a decade ago and has remained there ever since. “That’s all we do,” says Trucker. And he does it very well.

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