The Wyrick Robbins Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation practice is pleased to welcome Jim Hoch. Jim recently relocated from Indianapolis where he worked as in-house counsel for a national employee benefits consultancy acquired in December by Ascensus, the nation’s largest third-party retirement plan administrator. Jim’s knowledge of the design and administration of tax-qualified retirement plans means he can hit the ground running, supporting our clients with their retirement plan compliance. His prior experience also means he is uniquely qualified to help companies navigate the myriad benefits issues that arise leading up to, during, and after the closing of corporate transactions.
Jim earned his Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine from Purdue University and his JD from Valparaiso University School of Law. Lawyers aside, it’s no secret that many people don’t work in fields remotely related to their degrees, but Jim combined his sports medicine and law degrees to serve two professional football teams and later the NFL main office in New York.
Although we did interview Jim before he joined Wyrick, we decided to put him through his paces on the first day. Here’s what we learned:
- What is exciting about joining Wyrick?
From the moment I first spoke with Wyrick to the present day, everyone has been extremely welcoming, helpful, and flat out great. Wyrick’s culture and high level of practice is what really sold me on the firm and it’s exciting to see it in person. I’m really excited to sharpen my skills while working with a talented group of people in a great environment. The warmer winters don’t hurt either.
- Do you have a pet peeve?
One that comes to mind is my dog’s tendency to grab food off the counter. She’s a Rhodesian Ridgeback and pretty close to eye level with my countertop, so she counter surfs.
- What is in your pocket or surprising thing you keep in your car?
Right now? The standard cell phone, keys, and a pen. Something surprising in my car? I usually keep some Copelitas close by. If you’re not familiar, Copelitas are caramel and coconut cookies from Colombia. My fiancé is from there and she introduced me to them, now I can’t get enough.
- What keeps you up at night?
Sometimes nothing, sometimes a multitude of things. Usually, it’s a good show on Netflix or an interesting conversation with my fiancé or my brother who lives on the west coast and likes to call when it’s early out west but late out east. In the employee benefits and executive compensation world, it’s finding creative solutions to unique problems. That sounds pretty general, but employee benefits, ERISA, and health and welfare issues can arise in a variety of legal contexts, from family law, to labor and employment, to mergers and acquisitions, and many areas in between. So, it’s important to have an understanding of the issues that each area of law presents in the larger context of employee benefits and executive compensation. It’s a small cross-section of the legal world that interacts with many different areas – so knowing the areas that I may not operate in on a daily basis and their interactions with my world is extremely important.
- What book is on your nightstand?
The Foundation series by Isaac Asimov. I usually have a Carl Sagan book laying around as well. I think there’s also a book on the top hikes in North Carolina and a book on learning to speak Spanish.
- You have 45 minutes to exercise. What do you do?
I would definitely jump on a bike. I’m excited to ride the Raleigh Greenway and explore the various trails in the region.
- What is the biggest challenge in-house counsel faces today?
With the way 2020 has gone thus far, a new challenge seems to present itself daily. In general, I think it’s important for any in-house counsel to know your industry and your particular company as best you can. Companies are simply groups of people working towards a set of goals, so knowing the employees, the challenges, and the industry in which you operate, is key. It’s also important to understand where you can turn to for help and guidance. Knowing who you can rely on goes a long way.