Jamie Hinkle advises a wide range of clients on all aspects of their employee benefits and compensation programs. Much of his practice includes helping employers design and administer cost-effective retirement and health and welfare benefit plans while minimizing legal risks and administrative complications. His work includes helping ensure benefit plans comply with ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, HIPAA, COBRA, relevant sections of the North Carolina Insurance Code and other federal and state laws as well as assisting employers correct operational errors and respond to IRS and Department of Labor (DOL) plan audits.
Jamie also frequently advises corporate clients ranging from start-ups to global publicly-traded companies with respect to the adoption and administration of annual and long-term incentive and bonus plans, nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements and various equity-based compensation plans, including stock option, restricted stock and restricted stock unit (RSU) awards. He works closely with the firm’s business lawyers in addressing the various employee benefits and executive compensation due diligence, correction and integration issues that arise in connection with mergers, acquisitions and other corporate transactions. As part of his practice, Jamie also frequently represents both executives and employers in negotiating and drafting executive employment and severance agreements, including work on golden parachute (Code Section 280G) issues and deferred compensation compliance matters under Code Section 409A.
Jamie also has broad experience in estate planning for high net-worth executives with particular expertise on planning for the tax-efficient transfer and diversification of stock options and other equity compensation awards.
Jamie practiced employee benefits and estate planning in the Raleigh office of a global law firm and with another large corporate firm before he joined Smith Anderson in 2000.
Professional & Community Affiliations
- American Bar Association
- North Carolina Bar Association
- Tax, Business Law, and Estate Planning & Fiduciary Law Sections
- Council Member, Tax Section Council, North Carolina Bar Association (2001-2015)
- Chair, Employee Benefits Committee, Tax Section, (2005-2014)
- Wake County Bar Association
- Director, Food Runners Collaborative, Inc. (2011-2016; Chair, 2014)
- Former Director, Junior Achievement of Eastern North Carolina, Inc.
- National Association of Stock Plan Professionals (NASPP), Carolinas Chapter
- Triangle Benefits Forum (TBF)
Honors & Awards
- Best Lawyers®, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (2013-2021)
- North Carolina Super Lawyers Rising Star, ERISA (2013)
Advised a leading provider of patient affordability, access, adherence, and support services in a definitive agreement to acquire a provider of mobile-based medication management and adherence solutions for the life sciences sector.
- Design and draft equity compensation and bonus plans for various start-up companies.
- Coordinate company-wide stock option repricing and exchange program for underwater stock options.
- Represent employer in overhauling existing equity compensation awards for chief operating officer.
- Prepare and file Corrective Top Hat Plan Filings Under DOL's Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program (DFVCP) for Fortune 100 Company.
- Advise on Benefit Plan Corrections in Connection with Sale of Major Pharmaceutical Company.
- Advise Terminating Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement (MEWA) and Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association (VEBA) on IRS and DOL Compliance Issues and Distribution of Surplus Trust Assets.
- Advise employers on 401(k) plan coverage and eligibility issues in connection with IRS contractor misclassification audit.
- Advise on Equity Compensation and Benefit Plan Integration Issues Following Client's Purchase of Major Competitor.
- Design and Draft Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Retention Plan for Key Executives of Venture-Backed Start-Up.
- Advise a public specialty pharmaceutical company on cash-out of target's stock options, coordination of severance benefits, and post-closing benefits integration.
- Advise insolvent client on criminal liabilities associated with improper benefit plan terminations.
- Amend and restate numerous 401(k) plans for required plan amendments.
- Represent a global provider of biopharmaceutical development services and commercial outsourcing services in favorably resolving DOL audit of 401(k) Plan reporting failures.
- Coordinate Revisions to major pharmaceutical company's self-insured health plan to comply with health care reform rules.
- Advise Publicly-Traded Pharmaceutical Company Section 409A Compliance for Staggered Severance Payments to Departing Executives.
- Advised a multinational Fortune 500 provider of product development and integrated healthcare services on benefits-related matters in its merger with a NYSE-listed global information and technology services company, creating a leading information and tech-enabled healthcare service provider. The equity market capitalization of the joined companies was more than $17.6 billion at closing.
- Advised a private equity fund on the acquisition, equity and debt financing of a reference laboratory.
- Advised a SaaS company on employee benefits and executive compensation issues related to its sale to a data integration public company.
- Advised a leading healthcare services provider on employee benefits and executive compensation issues related to its $60 million cash acquisition of a global sourcing company.
- Advised a leading provider of financial software and information products to U.S. financial institutions on employee benefits and executive compensation issues related to its reverse triangular merger with a private equity-backed company.
News & Publications
- 2021 Best Lawyers® and The Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch Recognize Largest Group of Smith Anderson Lawyers in Firm’s History08.20.2020
- Smith Anderson Leads “Best Lawyers®” Rankings with 71 Recognized Lawyers and 11 “Lawyers of the Year” - Most of Any Raleigh Law FirmThe Best Lawyers in America©, 08.20.2019
- 2017 The Best Lawyers in America© Guide Recognizes 62 Smith Anderson Lawyers – Most in the Firm’s History08.15.2016
- 2016 The Best Lawyers in America© Guide Lists 60 Smith Anderson Lawyers – Most in the Firm’s History08.17.2015
- Smith Anderson Announces 49 of its Firm Lawyers are Named a “Best Lawyer” by The Best Lawyers in America® 201308.29.2012
- Reminder: January 31, 2013 Deadline for Employers to Report 2012 Incentive Stock Option (ISO) Exercises and Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP) Transfers01.24.2013
- Co-Presenter, "Benefits in Mergers & Acquisitions for the HR Generalist: The Real Deal,” Smith Anderson 26th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.11.14.2018
- Co-Presenter, "Benefits Implications of Contingent Workforces," Smith Anderson's 23rd Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.10.2015
- Presenter, "Correcting Problems with Your Retirement Plan," Smith Anderson’s 22nd Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.10.2014
- Speaker, "DOMA and Your Benefit Plans," Smith Anderson’s 21st Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.11.2013
- Presenter, "Benefits JEOPARDY!," Smith Anderson’s 20th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.11.2012
- Presenter, "Finding and Fixing Common Benefit Plan Errors," Smith Anderson’s 19th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.11.2011
- Presenter, DOMA and Your Benefits Plans, Smith Anderson Live Webinar, March 2014
Bar & Court Admissions
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
- All North Carolina State Courts
University of North Carolina, J.D., with honors, 1996
Duke University, A.B., 1991