The Wagner Law Group | Est. 1996

Sophisticated Legal Solutions Boutique-Style Service

Biography

Prior to joining The Wagner Law Group, Michael was the Director of the Office Enforcement at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), where he served as EBSA’s principal advisor regarding policy and program matters pertaining to civil and criminal enforcement of Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) as well as related provisions of other Federal laws. He also provided executive leadership and direction in the formulation of policies, development of programs and execution of activities conducted by the four Divisions within EBSA’s Office of Enforcement. Michael also served as EBSA’s Philadelphia Regional Director, where he planned and executed a civil and criminal program enforcing ERISA, oversaw outreach, education and participant assistance programs in six states, supervised the activities of over 60 investigative, advisory and other staff based in offices in Philadelphia and Silver Spring and spearheaded EBSA’s “terminated vested” (a.k.a., missing participant) initiative that, in just a few years, produced record-setting multi-billion-dollar recoveries for tens of thousands of American retirees and their families. He also oversaw investigations involving employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), mental-health parity, digital assets, multiple employer welfare arrangements, improper claims denial practices, bankruptcies, 401(k) plan mismanagement, abandoned plans, and other activities and plans covered by ERISA. For 25 years, Michael worked in DOL’s Office of the Solicitor, Plan Benefits Security Division, as Counsel for Financial Litigation and as a trial attorney, during which time he handled all phases of complex trial and appellate litigation arising under ERISA. Such litigation experience included matters related to imprudent investments in company stock by ESOPs (including serving as the lead trial attorney in the Enron litigation), as well as securities cross-trading, imprudent investments in derivatives (mortgage-backed securities), prohibited transactions, foreign-exchange transactions, retiree health and fiduciary misrepresentations.

Michael is also a highly sought-after speaker on a wide range of topics relating to Title I of ERISA and DOL activities and is the recipient of multiple awards for his service at the DOL, including the prestigious Alan D. Lebowitz Award, recognizing managers and supervisors who exemplify dedication, a distinguished career of excellence and commitment to mentoring future leaders.

Education

  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, New York, New York
    • J.D. - 06/1987
  • Yeshiva College, New York, New York
    • B.A. - 09/1983
    • Major: History

Bar Admissions

  • Supreme Court of the United States of America
  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit

Speaking Engagements

Sought-after speaker on a wide range of topics relating to Title I of ERISA and Department of Labor activities before a variety of audiences including:

  • Administration on Aging
  • Pension Rights Center
  • The ESOP Association
  • Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
  • In-House Benefits Counsel Network (“IBCN”)
  • American Bar Association sections and committees
  • Mid-Sized Pension Management Conference
  • American Society of Pension Actuaries
  • Greater Valley Forge Human Resource Association
  • Fordham International Derivatives & Risk Management Symposium
  • The National Society of Compliance Professionals.

Honors

  • U.S. Department of Labor Alan D. Lebowitz Award, 2019 - Award to recognize managers and supervisors who exemplify Alan Lebowitz’s dedication, distinguished career of excellence, and commitment to mentoring future leaders

Law Alerts

Bugielski v. At&T Case Continues With Appellate Reversal

By Michael Schloss and Stephen Wilkes On August 4, 2023, a Ninth Circuit panel reversed a District Court decision in favor of AT&T -  holding that AT&T breached its fiduciary duties by, among other things, failing to consider whether Fidelity’s compensation...