Photograph of David McFarlane


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


  • California

Labor & Employment – Repeals and Rollbacks are Likely

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Crowell & Moring's Regulatory Forecast 2017

Regulatory Forecast 2017

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 ERISA team developed and designed the first-in-the-nation employer-funded "Workplace Harassment Prevention and Protection Plan" (WHiPP Plan) to help employers better combat and remedy the growing workplace and societal problem of workplace harassment, with the added safeguards and protections of 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.


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

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.

Speeches & Presentations

  • "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.


  • "Your Next Cybersecurity Breach Will Be Your 401(k)...Soon," Westlaw's Journal of Compensation and Benefits (July/August 2018). Authors: David McFarlane and Alice Hall-Partyka.
  • "Workplace Harassment and ERISA to the Rescue," Bloomberg BNA Daily Labor Report (March 23, 2018). Authors: David McFarlane and Samuel W. Krause.
  • "Labor & Employment – Repeals and Rollbacks are Likely," Crowell & Moring's Regulatory Forecast 2017 (May 2017).
  • $33 Million Settlement Approved For Systematic and Improper “Bundling” of Chiropractic CPT Codes (October 31, 2016). Authors: Harsh P. Parikh and David McFarlane.
  • "Pension Advisors and Prison Wardens – The Reality Show," Daily Journal (April 2011). Author: David McFarlane.
  • "Justin Bieber and Hair Denial," Daily Journal (March 2011). Author: David McFarlane.
  • "True Grit – The New Wild West of Employee Benefits," Daily Journal (February 2011). Author: David McFarlane.
  • "Making Your 2011 Resolution List? Start the New Year Right by Considering the Changes to Your Pension and ERISA Plans," Daily Journal (December 2010). Author: David McFarlane.
  • "Lady Gaga and Health Care Reform," San Francisco Daily Journal and Los Angeles Daily Journal (October 18, 2010). Author: David McFarlane.
  • Pension Benefits Law in Ontario, Carswell Publishing, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada (1996). Co-Author: David McFarlane.
  • Annotated Unemployment Insurance Act, Carswell Publishing, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada (1992). Co-Author: David McFarlane.

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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