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David McFarlane

Phone: +1 213.443.5573
515 South Flower Street
40th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90071

David McFarlane is an ERISA partner in the firm's Corporate, Health Care, Tax, and Labor & Employment groups in Crowell & Moring’s Los Angeles office. David has more than 25 years of experience in the U.S. and Canada advising on all matters under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Internal Revenue Code and other applicable laws related to pensions, retirement, health and welfare plans, employee benefits, equity and deferred compensation plans, and other matters relating to executive compensation. David and his ERISA colleagues have an in-depth knowledge and experience in advising clients on ERISA plan asset investment and prohibited transaction rules, private equity investments, fund structuring, ERISA fiduciary protection, cybersecurity risks, national and international corporate transactions, regulatory filings, and bankruptcy reorganizations. David is also well known for his knowledge of ERISA, the Affordable Care Act, and private and public health plan matters including fiduciary audit and protection for corporate plan sponsors.

David and his team have developed a unique Fixed-Fee ERISA Fiduciary Protection Program for corporate plan sponsors of retirement, health, and other employee benefit plans to ensure compliance with ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, the Affordable Care Act, and other laws in order to best protect plan sponsors and their Boards of Directors, officers, and other employees from personal liability under ERISA.

David has been active in leadership roles for a variety of public and private institutions and organizations including president of the Canadian American Bar Association, judge pro tem of the Superior Court of California, vice-chair of the board of directors at Barlow Respiratory Hospital, president of the LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles, and president of the Western Pension & Benefit Council (Los Angeles).

Prior to joining Crowell & Moring, David was a former partner in the Canadian law firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt before joining Skadden Arps in Los Angeles for 13 years. David is a frequent speaker and writer on matters related to his practice as well as diversity in the practice of law. He was recently recognized in the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of the “Most Influential Minority Lawyers in Los Angeles.”


  • McGill University, B.A. political science (1983)
  • University of Windsor, Faculty of Law, Windsor, Canada, J.D. (1986)


Admitted to practice: California; Ontario, Canada (inactive)

Professional Activities and Memberships

  • Canadian American Bar Association – Past President
  • Barlow Respiratory Hospital – Former Vice-Chair, Board of Directors
  • LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles– Past Co President
  • UCLA School of Nursing – Former Advisory Board Member
  • Western Pension & Benefits Council, Los Angeles – Past President

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"Employee Benefits 2021 – Post COVID Tax Strategies for Stock Options – Repricing v. Exchange," Crowell & Moring's Managing Tax Audits and Appeals Seminar 2021 (October 4, 2021). Speakers: David McFarlane, Samuel W. Krause, and Anthony G. Provenzano
"New York City Establishes Auto-Deduction Retirement Security Program for Certain Private Sector Employees," (June 2, 2021). Contacts: David McFarlane, Ira M. Saxe, Eric Su, Samuel W. Krause, Lynn Hsieh, Jessica S. Nam
Client Alert / Newsletter
"Supreme Court Sides with State Regulation of PBMs in Boost to Independent Pharmacies," Health Care Alert (December 16, 2020). Contacts: David McFarlane, Todd D. Rosenberg, Samuel W. Krause, Barbara H. Ryland, Ian Logan
Client Alert / Newsletter
"COVID-19: Pull Down Your Mask, Deep Breath – Impact on Retirement Plans, Health Plans & Executive Compensation," Crowell & Moring's Managing Tax Audits and Appeals Seminar 2020 (October 9, 2020). Presenter: David McFarlane.
"What’s Next for Your Employees: Congress Responds with New Rules for Employment and Benefit Programs," Crowell & Moring Webinar (April 2, 2020). Presenters: Thomas P. Gies, David McFarlane, S. Starling Marshall, and Christine B. Hawes.
"Trends in Litigation: Review and Analysis of Landmark Litigation Withdrawal Liability," 17th Annual Made in America: Taft Hartley Benefits Summit, Las Vegas, NV (January 21, 2020). Speaker: David McFarlane.
"Fiduciary Liability in Healthcare," 17th Annual Made in America: Taft Hartley Benefits Summit, Las Vegas, NV (January 20, 2020). Speakers: David McFarlane and Samuel W. Krause.
DEAL NOTE: Crowell & Moring Advises Humana Inc. on Acquisition of Enclara Healthcare (Dec.16.2019)
Firm News / Announcement
"North Carolina Enacts Association Health Plan Law," Crowell & Moring's Health Law Blog (September 24, 2019). Authors: David McFarlane and Alice Hall-Partyka.
"Current Issues Regarding Taxation of Independent Contractors," Crowell & Moring's Managing Tax Audits and Appeals Seminar 2019, Washington, D.C. (September 12, 2019). Presenters: David McFarlane, Glenn D. Grant, and Samuel W. Krause.

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Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with offices in the United States, Europe, MENA, and Asia that represents clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory and policy, and transactional and corporate matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation and government-facing matters, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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