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Bank of the West – Senior Counsel – Compensation and Benefits

Our Brand


What sets Bank of the West apart from other banks is our team members – they embody the optimistic spirit of the West. There is a spirit here that drives us to do more. Our team of more than 10,000 employees is vital to the success of our Bank. They reflect our modern western values—straightforward, entrepreneurial and optimistic. We seek to create a corporate culture that fosters and rewards excellence, encourages creative thinking and respects diversity – an environment where team members are engaged, supportive of one another and enthusiastic about serving our customers. Bank of the West offers the stability of a company that has a 135 year history and is part of BNP Paribas, a European leader in global banking and financial services and one of the 6 strongest banks in the world. We offer opportunities across our diverse business lines – Retail Banking, Commercial Banking, Personal Finance, and Wealth Management.



Position Summary


The Senior Counsel – Compensation & Benefits will have direct responsibility for all legal matters concerning the Bank’s employee benefits and compensation plans.  The role requires an attorney with detailed knowledge of state and federal laws concerning employee benefits and compensation, coupled with extensive experience advising on the adoption, implementation, modification and monitoring of such plans.  Familiarity with European laws regarding banking benefits and compensation laws is beneficial.  The Senior Counsel – Compensation & Benefits will exercise sound judgment and decision-making to ensure the Bank’s compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and adherence to its employee benefits and compensation plans.



Key Responsibilities


  • Detailed knowledge of the laws and regulations applicable to employee health and welfare benefits, executive compensation, retirement, incentive plans, as well as severance plans, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPPA”), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA) and relevant provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, including Section 409A.
  • Extensive experience in a broad range of compensation and employee benefits matters, including design of non-qualified deferred compensation plans and equity compensation programs, design and negotiation of executive compensation arrangements, compensation-related disclosure and corporate governance matters, ERISA fiduciary issues, taxation issues related to compensation agreements, pay equity issues, and experience in developing total rewards strategies, as well as health and welfare plans and wellness programs.
  • Provides legal advice to the Bank’s Human Resources Department on developing and implementing the Bank’s employee benefits and compensation and incentive plans.
  • Provides legal advice to the Bank’s Human Resources Department in compliance, design and implementation of both qualified and non-qualified retirement plans.  Experience drafting plan documents, plan amendments and summary plan descriptions for health and welfare, wellness and defined contribution plans is critical.
  • Prepares and reviews employee-related agreements, including employee benefits and compensation plans and separation agreements.
  • Provides legal advice in developing employee benefits and compensation-related policies and training materials.
  • Conducts audits of employee benefits, incentive, and executive compensation plans.
  • Keeps informed of legislative proposals and legal developments in the employee benefits and compensation area.  Studies proposed and existing legislation affecting the Bank, and counsels management regarding impact.
  • Collaborates with other members of the Legal Department regarding compensation and employee benefits-related issues.
  • Performs other duties and special projects as assigned.



Required Education or Equivalent Experience

  • Juris Doctor degree from a top law school
  • California State Bar member or otherwise qualified to practice law in California as house counsel

Required Experience

  • 8+ years legal practice with a law firm and/or financial institution legal department specializing in the area of employee benefit and executive compensation

Field of Experience

  • Thorough knowledge of secured and unsecured lending practices, documentation, and legal and regulatory requirements
  • Well versed in all aspects of lending law, including asset-based financing, UCC Article 9 issue and security interests


  • Excellent analytical and research skills
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Team player and self-starter
  • High level of professionalism
  • Ability to work well with personnel and inspire confidence at all levels of the organization
  • Adaptable and flexible work-style with a proven ability to handle competing demands and priorities
  • Must be willing to work on all types of matters, large and small
  • Able to successfully navigate changing environments and perform in a fast-paced setting
  • Work history indicates a demonstrated track record of performance
  • Excellent negotiation, planning, and organizational skills
  • Good computer skills

Level Supervised

  • No direct supervisory responsibility


Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

Bank of the West is an Equal Opportunity employer and proud to provide equal employment opportunity to all job seekers without regard to any status protected by applicable law.   Bank of the West is also an Affirmative Action employer – Minority / Female / Disabled / Veteran.  Bank of the West will consider for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance subject to the requirements of all state and federal laws and regulations.

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