Photograph of David McFarlane


  • McGill University, B.A. political science (1983)
  • University of Windsor, Faculty of Law, Windsor, Canada, J.D. (1986)


  • California

Corporate – $28 Trillion and Personal Liability: ERISA Roars Back

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Crowell & Moring's Litigation Forecast 2019

Litigation Forecast 2019

David McFarlane

 Partner Los Angeles
Phone: +1 213.443.5573
515 South Flower St., 40th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90071-2201

David McFarlane is a partner in the firm's Corporate, Health Care, Tax, and Labor & Employment groups in Crowell & Moring’s Los Angeles office. David has more than 20 years of experience in the U.S. and Canada advising on pensions, employee benefits, executive compensation, national and international corporate transactions, bankruptcy reorganizations, securities laws, corporate governance, deferred compensation, and structured finance matters related to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Internal Revenue Code, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

David and his team have developed a unique fixed-fee fiduciary compliance review of retirement, health, and other employee benefit plans to ensure compliance with ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, the Affordable Care Act, and other laws in order to best protect plan sponsors and their Boards of Directors, officers, and other employees from personal liability under ERISA.

David is the former president of the Canadian American Bar Association, judge pro tem of the Superior Court of California, former vice-chair of the board of directors at Barlow Respiratory Hospital, former president of the LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles, and former president of the Western Pension & Benefit Council (Los Angeles).

Prior to joining Crowell & Moring, David was a former partner in the Canadian law firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt before joining Skadden Arps in Los Angeles for 13 years.

Representative Engagements

  • Represented Liquid Environmental Solutions, one of the largest non-hazardous U.S. wastewater collection, processing, and disposal companies, in its acquisition by Audax Group, a Boston-based private equity group.
  • Represented private equity firm on employee benefit matters in multi-million dollar acquisition of aviation and technology company.


Admitted to practice: California

Professional Activities and Memberships

  • Canadian American Bar Association – Past President
  • Barlow Respiratory Hospital – Former Vice-Chair, Board of Directors
  • LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles– Past Co President
  • UCLA School of Nursing – Former Advisory Board Member
  • Western Pension & Benefits Council, Los Angeles – Past President

Highlights, News & Knowledge

Speeches & Presentations

  • "2019 Retirement Plan Economic Forecast, Plan Compliance & Litigation Update," BDO USA, Costa Mesa, CA (November 28, 2018). Presenter: David McFarlane.
  • "10 Awesome Golden ERISA Rules for Health Plans (and 179 Less Awesome Bronze Ones)," American Health Lawyers Association In-House Counsel Institute, Chicago, IL (November 2, 2018). Speaker: David McFarlane.
  • "Running With Scissors and Other Prohibited, Bad and Silly Tax Practices to Avoid in the ERISA-World," 2018 Managing Tax Audits and Appeals Seminar, Washington, DC (September 27, 2018). Speaker: David McFarlane.
  • "Bitcoin in Your 401(k)? Doesn't Matter, Cyber-Thieves Are Going to Hack and Drain it Anyway," 2018 Global TEC Forum, Austin, TX (April 12, 2018). Presenter: David McFarlane.
  • "How Did THAT Happen? ERISA’s Sharpening Scrutiny on Health Care," 2017 California Society for Healthcare Attorneys (CSHA) Fall Seminar, Los Angeles, CA (November 3, 2017). Presenter: David McFarlane.
  • "Global Mobility – Where I am, Why it Matters," Tax Executives Institute (TEI), Toronto, Canada (October 23, 2017). Presenter: David McFarlane.
  • "Employee Benefits - Scratch the Tax - HSA's - Move Over 401(k)s," Crowell & Moring's Managing Tax Audits and Appeals Seminar 2017, Washington, D.C. (October 5, 2017). Presenter: David McFarlane.
  • "Following the Supreme Court: A New Approach to Judicial Review of Government Agency Decisions?," Crowell & Moring Webinar (July 20, 2017). Panelists: Thomas P. Gies, Glenn D. Grant, David McFarlane, Daniel W. Wolff, and Jillian Ambrose.
  • "Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 – Claims, Trends & Compliance," Lexis Nexis Webinar (July 19, 2017). Presenter: David McFarlane.
  • "HSAs, Archer MSAs and the New Challenges of Open State Competition for Health Plans," National Audience of BCBS Attendees, Orlando, FL (May 9, 2017). Speaker: David McFarlane.
  • "ACA, Control Groups and Related Issues," ASPPA/WPBC Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA (August 2015). Speaker: David McFarlane.
  • "Recent D.C. Trends and Litigation," Blue Cross/Blue Shield Western Operations Conference, San Diego, CA (June 2015). Speaker: David McFarlane.
  • "Legal Privilege in International Business Matters," IACD (International Association of Defense Counsel) Annual Meeting, Whistler, B.C. (July 2011). Speaker: David McFarlane.
  • "Employee Benefit and Compensation Issues in Acquiring or Selling a Privately Held Company," Practicing Law Institute, Beverly Hills, CA (June 2009). Speaker: David McFarlane.


Client Alerts & Newsletters

In the News

Firm News & Announcements

Feb.08.2018 Crowell & Moring Partner David McFarlane Recognized as One of Los Angeles Business Journal's "Most Influential Minority Attorneys"
Nov.28.2017 DEAL NOTE: Crowell & Moring Represents Novume Solutions in Acquisition of NeoSystems
Oct.11.2016 Established ERISA/ACA Lawyer David McFarlane Joins Crowell & Moring’s Corporate Practice