Scott E. Galbreath

Of Counsel

916-446-2300 x3059
sgalbreath@murphyaustin.com
Practice Area(s): Corporate and Business, Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, Labor and Employment, Nonprofits, Tax and Estate Planning

  • Overview
  • Representative Matters
  • Awards
  • Leadership
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Publications

Scott E. Galbreath leads the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Team. He has more than 30 years of experience representing employers in ERISA, employee benefits, and executive compensation matters. Scott also practices in the areas of tax, estate planning, business and nonprofit law.

Scott’s benefits practice includes counseling for-profit, tax exempt and governmental clients on all aspects of employee benefits: choosing appropriate retirement, deferred compensation, equity compensation, cafeteria and other health and welfare benefit plans; using benefits to attract and retain key executive and management employees; using benefits (including ESOPs), in succession planning; ERISA, Internal Revenue Code section 401(a), 403(b), 409A and 457 compliance; CalPERS and PEPRA compliance; investments, prohibited transactions, and fiduciary duties; multiemployer plan funding and withdrawal liability rules; as well as drafting plan documents and correcting plan operational or document failures, and representing clients in IRS audits or Department of Labor investigations.

Prior to joining Murphy Austin, Scott led the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Services practice at the Burton Law Firm, a boutique business law firm, where he counseled for-profit, tax exempt and governmental clients on all aspects of employee benefits. Prior to his work with Burton Law Firm, Scott was a senior attorney with the Folsom employee benefits firm of Chang, Ruthenberg & Long P.C.

Scott was awarded his J.D. from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law and also earned an LL.M in Taxation, with honors, from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. He was recognized as an Illinois Leading Lawyer in Employee Benefits in 2006 by the Leading Lawyer Network. Scott is a former officer of the Chicago Bar Association's Employee Benefits Committee and former Chair of its Executive Compensation Subcommittee.

After practicing for 20 years in Chicago, Scott moved to California where he has served as Chair of the Sacramento County Bar Association's Tax Section as well as President of the Sacramento Chapter of the Western Pension & Benefits Council. He has also served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Governing Board of the Western Pension & Benefits Council and is a board member of the Sacramento Chapter of the National Institute of Pension Administrators.

Scott is a frequent writer and speaker on new developments in employee benefits. In September 2007, he helped organize, spoke at and moderated the first annual Executive Compensation Institute sponsored by the Chicago Bar Association and the John Marshall Law School. He was also instrumental in helping to establish the Capital Forum on Pensions, the Sacramento area’s annual employee benefits conference established in 2013. He is also a regular speaker at the Sacramento County Bar Association's Tax Symposium.

Scott was named a Top Lawyer for Employee Benefits on the 2015 and 2016 lists published by Sacramento Magazine.

  • Saved the qualified status of a 401(k) plan that had not been amended for over 20 years through the IRS Voluntary Correction Program.
  • Designed executive compensation program involving restricted equity interests and a captive insurance company.
  • Negotiated a voluntary closing agreement with IRS, unwinding a Rollover for Business Start-Up (ROBS) transaction with minimal tax consequences to taxpayer.
  • Advised 501(c)(3) organization’s board on operational issues threatening exempt status and assisted in implementing changes to reduce risk.
  • Structured joint venture among three 501(c)(3) organizations to develop a public school curriculum to educate youth about risks and avoidance of a particular social issue.
  • Regularly draft, review, and revise executive compensation agreements, employment agreements, and severance arrangements for compliance under Code section 409A.
  • Regularly advise clients on avoiding prohibited transactions when using self-directed IRAs to invest in alternative investments, businesses, and real estate.
  • Regularly form nonprofit corporations and obtain necessary federal and state recognition of tax exempt status.
  • Regularly advise tax exempt organizations on whether activities give rise to unrelated business income tax and how to restructure transactions to avoid such tax.
  • Named in Sacramento Magazine's Top Lawyers List, Employee Benefits (2015-2016)
  • IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Bar & Gavel Society Award (1986)
  • Sacramento Chapter of National Institute of Pension Administrators, Member, Governing Board (2013-present)
  • Sacramento Chapter of Western Pension & Benefits Council, Program Chair, (2016-2017, 2013-2014); President (2009-2011); Member, Board of Directors (2008-present)
  • Western Pension & Benefits Council, Member, Governing Board (2011-2013);
  • Member, Program Committee, 2014 Western Benefits Conference (2014);
  • Sacramento County Bar Association Tax Section, Chair (2010-2011)
  • Appointed Adjunct Professor, John Marshall Law School Center for Tax Law and Employee Benefits (2007)
  • Recognized as an Illinois Leading Lawyer in Employee Benefits by Leading Lawyer Network (2007)
  • Chicago Bar Association Employee Benefits Committee, Secretary (2007-2008)
  • CBA Employee Benefits Committee’s Executive Compensation Subcommittee, Chair (2006-2007)
  • CBA Employee Benefits Committee’s ERISA Litigation Subcommittee, Chair (2004-2005)
  • “Taxes for Tax Exempt Organizations: An Introduction to the Unrelated Business Income Tax,” SCBA Tax Section (April 2017)
  • “457, 401(k), & 403(b) Plans: Which is right for your client’s organization?” Western Pension and Benefits Council, Sacramento Chapter, Co-Presenter (April 2017)
  • “The Final? DOL Fiduciary Regulations-an overview of the final regulations and the pending litigation challenging them,” National Institute of Pension Administrators, Sacramento Chapter (August 2016)
  • “Mission Possible?  Correcting Common and Not-So-Common Plan Failures,” Capital Forum on Pensions, Sacramento, Co-Presenter (May 2016)
  • “Real Property in Retirement Plans, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” SCBA Tax and Real Property Sections (April 2016)
  • “The Numerology of ERISA Fiduciaries: 3(21), 3(16), and 3(38)-What Does Your Future Hold?” National Institute of Pension Administrators, Sacramento Chapter (March 2016)
  • “ACA Practical Choices For Employers,” Western Benefits Conference, San Francisco (July 2015)
  • “Using Benefits To Compensate Key Management & In Succession Planning,” Sacramento County Bar Association Tax Section Tax Symposium (May 2015)
  • “When and Why To Use Nonqualified Plans,” Capital Forum on Pensions, Sacramento (May 2015)
  • “Mission Impossible?  How To Correct The Uncorrectable-Fixing Plan Issues That Don’t Qualify For EPCRS,” Capital Forum On Pensions, Co-Presenter (May 2015)
  • “A Comparison of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Pre-tax and Post-tax Deferred Compensation in Employee Benefits Plans,” Sacramento County Bar Association Tax Section Tax Symposium (May 2014)
Memberships
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Business, Labor and Employment, and Tax Law Sections
  • Sacramento Chapter of National Institute of Pension Administrators
  • Sacramento Chapter of Western Pension & Benefits Council
Bar Admissions
  • State Bar of California
  • State Bar of Illinois
Education

California Certified Tax Specialist Exam, April 2016

IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, Illinois
LL.M. (Tax), with honors, 1991

IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, Illinois
J.D., 1986

Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Illinois
B.A., with high honors, in Political Science and Urban Studies,
double major - Criminology minor, 1983  

Contact Us

Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP
J. Scott Alexander, Managing Partner
555 Capitol Mall, Suite 850
Sacramento, CA 95814

916/446-2300

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