Bonita Hatchett-Bodle



130 E. Randolph St.
Suite 3900
Chicago, IL 60601


909 Fannin Street
Suite 2300
Houston, TX 77010
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Fax: 832.397.3519
LL.M., Georgetown University Law Center, Washington DC, 1997, Certificate in Employee Benefits Law
J.D., Rutgers University School of Law, Camden, New Jersey, 1996
B.A., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1992
State Bar Licenses
New Jersey

Bonita Hatchett-Bodle


Bonita L. Hatchett-Bodle specializes in employee benefits and executive compensation law and consulting, and has served as benefits counsel for over twenty-two (22) years in the large international large law firm setting.  She has decades of experience providing benefits design, strategy, and regulatory and administrative compliance advice to federal, state and local public sector employers, educational institutions ranging from school districts to large public and private university systems, credit unions, jointly-trusteed benefits funds, national corporations and growth and middle market companies.  Bonita’s years of professional experience allows her to provide sound and practical guidance and analysis, and to solve even the most complicated problem with ease.


  • Provides advice to employers and plan sponsors on all aspects of compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA), as well as the tax-qualification and other requirements of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the Code) applicable to qualified defined benefit and defined contribution plans, nonqualified plans, health and welfare arrangements, executive compensation, and other arrangements.
  • Negotiates service provider agreements, investment management agreements, subscription agreements, other investment instruments, and represents employers and investment advisors in connection with regulatory examinations.
  • Represents employers in the employee benefits aspects of corporate transactions, designs the employee benefits strategy, conducts benefits due diligence, provides advice on benefits integration issues and coordinates and monitors service provider performance.
  • Establishes and advises compensation and benefits committees, prepares the policies and procedures, provides ERISA fiduciary advice, analyzes prohibited transactions and individual, class and statutory exemptions.
  • Designs and writes union and non-union tax-qualified multi-formula plans established under Sections 401(a), 401(k), 403(b), 457(b)/(f) of the Code, nonqualified plans subject to Section 409A of the Code, health and welfare arrangements, severance and executive compensation plans, other compensatory arrangements, and service provider agreements. 
  • Advises plan sponsors on regulatory changes and amends employee benefit plans to comply with current law, to reflect discretionary design changes, and pursuant to collective bargaining.
  • Prepares regulatory submissions to the IRS, the DOL and the PBGC, and negotiates with the regulatory agencies on behalf of employers and multiemployer plans to prevent the assessment of penalties and excise taxes, and to prevent the disqualification of plans.  Corrects plan operational failures under regulatory amnesty programs. 
  • Advises on compliance with the PPACA of 2010, as amended, COBRA, the Department of Health and Human Services Regulations set forth in 45 C.F.R. Parts 160, 162 and 164 implementing the HIPAA Security Standards, the HIPAA Privacy Rules, HIPAA Portability and Nondiscrimination Rules, the HITECH Act of 2009, as well as the applicable requirements of Title I of ERISA, and §§104, 105, 106, 125, 129, or 152 of the Code, as applicable, in addition to the Department of Labor Regulations, the Treasury Regulations and any and all other regulatory guidance issued under the foregoing provisions of ERISA and the Code.
  • Represents employers in connection with withdrawal liability and other disputes arising under multiemployer plans.


  • Serves as outside counsel to a large public university in all areas of retirement, executive compensation, and fringe benefits, including interaction with statewide defined benefit system, design and operation of optional retirement system (ORP) and elective 403(b) supplemental savings programs, 457(b) and 457(f) plans, and issues in connection with new Section 4960 excise tax on compensation for system executives and senior coaching staff and application of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act unrelated business income tax provisions to parking and related fringe benefits.
  • Serves as benefits counsel and consultant to plan sponsors in multiple industries. For the past 10 years, has served as the primary benefits counsel to a national retailer with over 200 locations, being responsible for the design and regulatory compliance of the retirement and health and welfare plans sponsored by the organization.
  • Serves as counsel to a national trade organization, independent physician practices, manufacturers, tax-exempt organizations and other union and non-union employers.  Fifteen (15) years of experience serving as employee benefits counsel to a multiple entity hospital system, dental services organization and to a multiple entity surgery center. 
  • Served as counsel to trustees of multiemployer retirement and health and welfare funds as well as public sector plans, providing counsel on regulatory compliance, fiduciary and prohibited transaction advice, negotiating benefits and designing and writing plan documents and participant communications, and negotiating service provider agreements.


  • Has conducted over 130 two-day seminars to former military and civilian employees of the U.S. Department of Defense and armed forces groups regarding  updates to the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS), the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) for the Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Commissary Agency (2012 to present)
  • TEXPERS Summer Trustee Training: Fundamentals of QDROs and Pensions (August 2018)
  • TEXPERS Summer Trustee Training: Update on Regulatory Compliance (August 2017)
  • Did You Know? Unique State Employee Benefit & Employment Issues, American Bar Association (February 2017)
  • Social Security Benefits and DOL’s New Fiduciary Rules, Strasburger Tax Symposium (November 2016)
  • Inherited IRAs-What the Supreme Court May Do-American Bar Association Webinar (June 19, 2014)
  • In the Loop Employment Issues to Master 2013- Update on Health Care Reform (May 15, 2013)
  • The Illinois Chapter of the ESOP Association 2013 Annual Conference, Oakbrook Terrace, IL (3/7/2013)
  • Federal Health Care Reform:  2013 Is Here – Now What? - Warsaw Kosciusko Co. Chamber of Commerce, Champagne Jam, 2517 East Center Street (2/28/2013)
  • National Bar Association – Commercial Law Section, 2013 Corporate Counsel Conference, St. Regis Monarch Beach North, 1 Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, CA 93629 (2/23/2013)
  • Health Care Reform-ERISA- Notre Dame Innovation Park, 1400 E. Angela Blvd., South Bend, IN (2/8/2013)
  • Healthcare Reform 2013:  Post-Election Healthcare Reform and the New Regulatory Landscape Under the Affordable Care Act-Webinar (12/11/2012)
  • Federal Health Care Reform:  The Election Is Over – Now What? (11/13/2012)
  • Spring Symposia – “Employee Benefits Plans and Other Compensation Arrangement Group and Business Planning Group:  Using Retirement Plans as a Part of a Business Entrance or Exit Strategy” (5/3/2012)
  • IBA Chicago Conference 2011 – “Current Trends in Attracting and Retaining Executive Talent After the Crisis” (4/11/2011)
  • American Conference Institute Forum – “What is Next for ‘Say on Pay?’:  Preparing for New Developments So Your Company/Client is Equipped to Create Effective Plans” (7/23/2010)
  • CLE Program:  Sears Holdings Corporation – “ERISA:  The Statute’s Broad Reach” (6/4/2008)
  • Bell, Boyd & Lloyd MCLE – “ERISA:  Demystifying the Statute.  The ABCs of ERISA for Corporate Lawyers” (4/22/2008)
  • Corporate Counsel Forum – “New Strategies on Deferred Compensation” (7/26/2007)
  • Steel Manufacturers Association – “Human Resources:  Legislative Update” (11/1/2003)
  • 2003 Mid-Summer Professional Development Seminar – “Planning, Preparation and Persistence:  The Large Law Firm Hiring Process” (6/28/2003)
  • IBC USA Educational Forum – “Workplace 529 Plans:  Future ERISA and other Implications for Employers” (11/18/2002)
  • Steel Manufacturers Association – “HIPAA Compliance:  Challenges and Opportunities” (3/7/2002)


  • Human Resources 2008: “Automatic 401(k) Plan Enrollment After the Pension Protection Act of 2006” (2008)
  • Human Resources 2006:  Answers to Your Top 25 Questions - “Disaster Planning and HR” (12/1/2006)
  • Human Resources 2006:  Answers to Your Top 25 Questions  - “Domestic Partner Benefits” (12/1/2006)
  • Human Resources 2006:  Answers to Your Top 25 Questions:  “The New Roth 401(k) Plan Feature:  Expanding the Possibilities Under 401(k) Plans Through Qualified Roth Contribution Programs” (12/1/2006)
  • The Practical Lawyer – “What You Need to Know About the Prohibited Misuse of ERISA Plan Assets” (12/1/2006)
  • Human Resources 2006:  Answers to Your Top 25 Questions – “Forms LM-10 and LM-30 Filing Requirements” (6/1/2006)
  • The Advisor – “Health Savings Accounts:  A New Alternative to Cover Healthcare Costs” (9/1/2004)
  • Trustee Magazine – “What Trustees Should Know About Intermediate Sanctions” (3/18/2004)


  • Mention in Bloomberg Business Week Article-“When Employers Want to Avoid Paying for Health Insurance” (6/24/2013)
  • WNIT Public Television – “Economic Outlook” (1/16/2013)
  • Mention in the South Bend Tribune – “Businesses Prep for Health Care Rules” (12/23/2012)
  • Corporate Law Alert – Section 409A:  Arrangements that Require Execution of a Release as a Condition to Severance May Require Action by Dec. 31, 2012 (12/5/2012)
  • Employee Benefits Alert – 2013 Plan Year Reduction in Health FSA Deferrals (10/2/2012)
  • Mention in Society for Human Resource Management Article-“Nondiscrimination Rules for Health Plans Loom Ahead” (5/29/2013)
Chicago’s Top 40 Game Changer” by the Urban Business Roundtable
Chicago Magazine Super Lawyer in ERISA and Employee Benefits Law (2008, 2009, 2010)
Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Distinguished Service Award for work with the Lend-A-Hand Program (1998-2006)
National Public Service Award from the National Association of Public Interest Law (NAPIL) for work with the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania (1993-1994)
American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section, Qualified Plans Co-Chair