Joseph R. Rackman

Joseph R. Rackman

Senior Counsel
New York

Email joseph.rackman@​

Phone +1 212 918 8456

Fax +1 212 918 3100

Practice groupCorporate

Joseph Rackman has been doing Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) work since 1974, when as a young associate, a partner tossed a copy of a book only 1/4-inch thick on his desk and said, "Learn it, kid."

Tens of thousands of pages of legislation, regulations, rulings, and opinions later, he is still hard at work on the subject matter. He has seen almost every benefits issue that can arise in a merger or acquisition but especially enjoys the new or special situations that requires a creative solution to make the deal happen. Joseph believes the goal is not always to answer the question, but to solve the problem. Once, he actually brought a company through a bankruptcy to solve its pension issue and save the company.

Over the decades, he has handled benefits issues of many companies but has particular familiarity with media companies. While ERISA work is U.S.-centered, Joseph has familiarity with foreign (particularly European) benefits issues and works with other offices to resolve matters quickly. He is also unusually skilled in church plans, representing a major religious group for close to four decades. Of late, much of his work has centered on qualified plans and deferred compensation IRC section 409A issues.

Awards and recognitions


Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation
Legal 500 US


Employee Benefits/ERISA
New York Super Lawyers

Education and admissions


LL.M., New York University School of Law, 1977

J.D., Harvard Law School, 1972

B.A., Yeshiva University, 1969


Board of Governors, American Jewish Committee

Bar admissions and qualifications

New York

Court admissions

U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York

U.S. Tax Court

Representative experience

Representing 21st Century Fox in the creation of a joint venture with National Geographic.

Creating welfare plan document for News Corporation.

Restating the Reform Pension Plan for the Jewish Reform movement.

Girl Scouts of the USA spin-off of plan assets to a newly created plan.

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