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ERISA Attorney - Retail Investments

At Northwestern Mutual, we are strong, innovative and growing. We invest in our people. We care and make a positive difference.

The Northwestern Mutual Law Department is seeking an experienced, independent, and agile ERISA attorney for our retail investment business interested in joining a diverse, challenging, and fast-paced practice advising the Company on a wide range of issues as the Company works to transform how clients experience financial security.

What's the role?

This attorney will be a member of the Law Department’s Investment Products and Advisory Services Team and will primarily focus, working closely with securities and banking colleagues in Law and the Company’s compliance, risk and government relations professionals, on supporting our retail investment business on ERISA and tax issues related to the marketing and sale of broker-dealer, investment advisory and insurance products and programs to tax-qualified accounts.  This attorney will report to the VP-Investment Products and Services in the Law Department.  Examples of the type of work this attorney will engage in as a member of the Investment Products and Advisory Services Team, include:

  • Analyzing DOL and IRS rule proposals and adoptions applicable to tax-qualified investment accounts,  advising our business clients on requirements and risks, and serving on project teams to implement such rulemakings.
  • Advising on legislative proposals affecting tax-qualified investment accounts, including assisting Government Relations in developing advocacy positions, and contributing to the implementation efforts related to such legislation.
  • Participating actively in retirement plan and related committees of our industry trades including the ACLI and SIFMA.
  • Providing ERISA and tax advice related to the development and maintenance of broker-dealer and investment advisory products and programs to be recommended to tax-qualified accounts.
  • Ensuring retail investment compensation attributable to tax-qualified accounts paid to our field force complies with ERISA and Tax Code requirements.
  • Developing and reviewing disclosures to clients in prospectuses, ADVs, Regulation Best Interest brochures and other documents that address ERISA and Tax Code issues related to tax-qualified investment accounts.
  • Working collaboratively with other attorney specialists in product tax, securities, banking, financial planning and insurance in support of the above efforts.

Bring Your Best! What this role needs:

  • Candidates must have at least six years of legal experience gained at a law firm, in-house at an insurance, investment or other financial services firm and/or through a government position advising on ERISA/Tax Code matters involving the retail investment space.  Experience with securities, banking and/or insurance laws and regulations is a plus.  Having an LLM in Taxation is also a plus.
  • To qualify, this candidate must be able to analyze a variety of legal issues, synthesize complex information, and provide solution-oriented legal advice to business professionals throughout the enterprise.  
  • A candidate must have an exemplary academic record and a Juris Doctorate degree; note that a license to practice law in the State of Wisconsin or a commitment to become licensed within the first year of employment is required.

Desired personal attributes:

  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and presentation skills, a highly analytical and curious mind, strong attention to detail, creative, comfortable dealing with ambiguity, of high integrity and ethical standards, and evidencing a positive demeanor.
  • Proven ability to collaborate and contribute effectively in a team environment and across teams within and outside of the Law Department; exceptional partnership and relationship building skills.
  • Self-motivated with the ability to work proactively and autonomously and to effectively prioritize multiple tasks at the same time.
  • A keen problem-solving approach using sound legal reasoning and practical business judgment to identify and address risks and achieve results that balance benefits for all parts of the enterprise.
  • The scope of this role may change over time to respond to business needs.  The successful candidate will be flexible and adaptable in terms of general abilities and aspirations.

Information About Our Law Department and Northwestern Mutual:

Of the Northwestern Mutual Law Department’s approximately 130 members, about 80 are lawyers, having come to Northwestern Mutual from all around the country after having graduated from a multitude of law schools and undergraduate institutions and having practiced in a wide variety of settings.  The balance of the Department consists of highly skilled paralegals and research and administrative professionals who support significant aspects of the Department’s operations.  Our Law Department (in every aspect of its operations, including the Law Department Leadership Team, the Department’s practicing lawyers and paralegals, and the Department’s professional administrative staff) is inclusive and diverse, comprising a rich mixture of people who come from a wide variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds and includes people of color and those who are openly gay or lesbian.

The Northwestern Mutual Law Department provides the vast majority of legal services in nearly all fields directly to the Company, with only select utilization of outside counsel.  There are nine main legal practice teams within the Law Department:  Investment Products and Advisory Services; Digital and Enterprise Operations; Insurance Products and Operations; Corporate; Distribution; Litigation; Enterprise Governance; Securities Investments; and Real Estate Investments.  Lawyers have the opportunity to develop a thorough understanding of the Company’s business needs, and we are fully engaged in the execution of the Company’s business strategy.  This allows us to provide the most timely and effective counsel in an efficient manner and leads to greater career satisfaction for our attorneys, paralegals, and professional administrative staff.

Northwestern Mutual has been helping people and businesses achieve financial security for more than 165 years. Through a comprehensive planning approach, Northwestern Mutual combines the expertise of its financial professionals with a personalized digital experience and industry-leading products to help its clients plan for what is most important.  With $340 billion in total assets, $35 billion in revenues, and $2.2 trillion worth of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual delivers financial security to more than 5.0 million people with life, disability income and long-term care insurance, annuities, and brokerage and advisory services. The company manages more than $237 billion of investments owned by its clients and held or managed through its wealth management and investment services businesses. Northwestern Mutual ranks 97 on the 2022 FORTUNE 500 and is recognized by FORTUNE® as one of the "World's Most Admired" life insurance companies.

Compensation Range:

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Please note that this is the standard pay structure. Positions in certain locations (such as California) may provide an increase on the standard pay structure based on the location. Please click here for additional information relating to location-based pay structures.

Grow your career with a best-in-class company that puts our client’s interests at the center of all we do. Get started now!

We are an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age or status as a protected veteran, or any other characteristic protected by law.

If you work or would be working in California, Colorado, New York City, Washington or outside of a Corporate location, please click here for information pertaining to compensation and benefits.


We’re excited about the potential people bring to Northwestern Mutual. You can grow your career here while enjoying first-class perks, benefits, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.