DC: 1710 Connecticut Ave, N.W., Suite 300 Washington, D.C. 20009

Mailing Address: 6530 Bradley Blvd, Bethesda, MD 20817

Joseph Semo

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Joseph Semo


Counsel with respect to executive compensation, non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements, and restrictive covenants. Also providing counsel to health care providers with respect to business, employment, and regulatory matters.

All aspects of employee benefits including plan design (pension, welfare, and nonqualified compensation plans), compliance issues (tax and labor), multiemployer plan representation, institutional investment issues (e.g., security lending agreements and investment management agreements), prohibited transaction class exemptions, multiple employer welfare plan issues, provider contracts (e.g., PPO contracts, third party administration contracts, auditor engagements, consulting agreements and software licensing), ESOPs (as counsel both for corporate sponsor and for lender), and fiduciary issues.

Litigation of various employee benefit cases on contractual and fiduciary matters, withdrawal liability claims, contribution cases and breach of trust. Other general business cases litigated have concerned the defense of civil RICO allegations arising from alleged breach of confidentiality obligations and government securities fraud.

Services as ADR neutral. Completed AHLA and Maryland State Bar mediation training programs. Offer services to mediate and arbitrate disputes arising from employment and from executive compensation programs, as well as commercial contracts. Completed FINRA alternative dispute resolution training and enrolled as FINRA mediation and arbitration panelist.


  • Chairman, City of Annapolis Police and Fire Retirement Commission, Annapolis, Maryland (1/11/1989 – present).
  • Executive Director, National Employee Benefits Institute (1991-2003).
  • Board of Directors, Partnership for Jewish Life & Learning (2003 – 2010).
  • Board of Directors, Employment Justice Center (2003 – 2011); President (11/2004 – 11/2006);
  • Treasurer (1999-2007) and Past President-Wharton School Club of Washington, D.C. (1988 and 1989). Treasurer, University of Pennsylvania, Mid-Atlantic Regional Advisory Board (1996-1999); Washington President’s Council, University of Pennsylvania (1994); and
  • Member ABA Labor Section, Employee Benefit Committee; Co-Chair of Legislative and Administrative Oversight Subcommittee (1997-2002); Co-Chair of MEWA Subcommittee (1995 -1999); Past Co-Chair of Welfare Plan Subcommittee of ABA Labor Section, Employee Benefit Committee; Past Co-Chair of Plan Design Subcommittee; Member of Fiduciary Responsibility Subcommittee (1999-2003). Contributing author to Committee’s publication, Employee Benefit Law. Former member of Montgomery County High Technology Council.


  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rating.
  • Awarded Joseph Wharton Award for Service (38th Annual Award – June 2003), Wharton School Club of Washington, DC.


  • 1976 – J.D. – National Law Center, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
  • 1973 – B.S. Ec. – Wharton School (cum laude), University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Member of District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and Wisconsin (inactive) Bars. Also admitted to several federal district courts, Circuit Courts, and the United States Supreme Court.


  • Languages: Spanish (conversational)
  • Honorable Discharge – U.S. Army Reserve, Captain – Quartermaster Corp.


American Med. Sec. v. Bartlett, 111 F.3d 358 (4th Cir. 1997).

Filed Amicus Curiae on behalf of National Employee Benefits Institute, supporting position of appellant, that state law was preempted by ERISA where self-insured health plan was involved, without regard to the attachment point at which stop loss insurance was obtained.

Sheppard & Enoch Pratt Hosp. v. Travelers Ins. Co., 32 F.3d 120 (4th Cir. 1994).

Establishing that the court should limit the record with respect to an ERISA claim denial, to the record that was before the administrator.

Barry v. Trustees of the Int’l Ass’n Full-time Salaried Officers and Employees of Outside Local Unions and District Counsels (Iron Workers) Pension Plan, 404 F. Supp. 2d 145 (D.D.C. 2005).

Corporation and its directors allegedly involved in wrongful stock transactions were not ERISA fiduciaries to employee benefit plan stockholder.

Washington Area Carpenters’ Welfare Fund v. Overhead Door Co., 681 F.2d 1 (D.D.C. 1982).

Enforcement of contributions due to ERISA plan under pre-hire agreement.

Cross v. Bragg, 329 Fed. Appx. 443(4th Cir. 2009).

Local Union No. 666, IBEW v. Stokes Elec. Serv., 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22201 (E.D. VA.), rev’d, 225 F.3d 415 (4th Cir. 2000).

United Mine Workers 1985 Constr. Workers Pension Trust v. Denral, Inc., 1987 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16024 (D.D.C.).

Dennis v. Board of Trustees, 625 F. Supp. 976 (M.D. PA. 1986).

Dennis v. Board of Trustees, 620 F. Supp. 572 (M.D. PA 1985).

Vernau v. Zelienople Super Duper, 39 Fed. R. Serv. 2d (Callaghan) 1345 (W.D. PA. 1984)

Corley v. Hecht Co., 1983 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18791 (D.D.C.).

Laborers’ Dist. Council Trust Fund No. 2 v. General Concrete Constr. Corp., 1980 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9550 (D.D.C.).

Washington Area Carpenters’ Welfare Fund v. Overhead Door Co., of Metropolitan Washington, 488 F. Supp. 816 (D.D.C. 1980).

Leonard v. Drug Fair, Inc., No. 78-1335., 1979 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9045 (D.D.C.).

Retail Store Employees. Union Local 400 v. A&P, 480 F. Supp. 88 (D. MD. 1979).


Weil v. Markowitz, 264 U.S. App. D.C. 381 (1987).

Silverman v. Weil, 662 F. Supp. 1195 (D.D.C. 1987).

Liquor Salesmen’s Union v. NLRB, 214 U.S. App. D.C. 188 (1981).

National Latex Products Co. v. United States, 4 C.I.T. 110; 1982 Ct. Intl. Trade LEXIS 2000.

Riegert v. Commonwealth, 218 Va. 511 (1977).

Hurdle v. Prinz, 218 Va. 134 (1977)