Trusted Attorney in Washington, DC

Martha Jo Wagner
Of Counsel
Attorney Martha Jo Wagner — Legal Services in Washington, DC
Martha Jo (“Marty”) Wagner is a nationally recognized employee benefits lawyer with more than 30 years of legal experience who provides practical business solutions – emphasizing cost containment and legal risk management – to complex benefit problems. Ms. Wagner has a varied litigation, litigation avoidance, and counseling practice.

She has litigated retirement, health and welfare, and fiduciary breach claims nationwide throughout her legal career. She has been involved in successful litigation on behalf of plans, plan sponsors, and plan fiduciaries, in many federal courts, including, most recently, those in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Tennessee, and Ohio.

Ms. Wagner has led teams of lawyers that:

  • Created a disciplined, systematic and automated health contract review process for a client with more than 300 benefit designs and more than 65 health care vendors and negotiated dozens of resulting vendor contracts.
  • Assessed the risks of reducing retiree health benefits for a client with more than 100 retiree health plans and hundreds of millions of dollars in long term liabilities.
  • Assisted a client with several hundred employees employed on military bases world-wide design and implement a strategy to meet its statutory benefits obligations, including those under TRICARE.
Ms. Wagner's process orientation helps convert lessons learned into integrated process improvements, often on a national scale. Her extensive litigation experience provides her with a perspective unlike most benefits Practitioners.
The clients Ms. Wagner has assisted include: The Estee Lauder Companies Inc.; Dana Holding Corporation; Ultra Electronics, Inc.; St. Vincent's Medical Center; General Dynamics Corporation; Bank of America; The Pepsi Bottling Group Inc.; and Howard Hughes Medical Center.
Ms. Wagner's representative matters include:

  • Assisting the Commission on U.S. Capital Markets for the 21st Century by coordinating a team of experts and drafting recommendations related to retirement plans.
  • Leading a team that designed and implemented more than a half dozen voluntary and involuntary severance programs offered simultaneously to approximately 9,000 employees.
  • Redesigning employee communications for a pension plan with more than 150 benefit configurations.
  • Providing expert testimony before a House Subcommittee regarding disability benefits paid to former NFL players.

Ms. Wagner writes regularly for employee benefits publications, speaks frequently on diverse employee benefits topics, and is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center.
  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., Cum Laude
  • University of Maryland, College Park, B.A., Summa Cum Laude
Bar Admissions
  • District of Columbia
  • Pennsylvania

Court Admissions
  • District of Columbia Court of Appeals
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia

Memberships and Recognitions
  • President, Executive Committee and Board of Governors Member American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, 2009-present
  • Fellow, American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, 2004-present
  • Management Co-Chair, ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law Employee Benefits Committee, 2005-2007
  • Management Co-Chair, ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law Employee Benefits Committee, Fiduciary Responsibility, Benefit Claims and Individual Rights, and Liability Issues Unique to Welfare Plans Subcommittees, Various Years from 1995-2005
  • Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University Law Center, LLM Program, 2006-2016
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2008-2016
  • Pennsylvania Top Lawyers, 2013
  • Super Lawyer, District of Columbia 2010-2011, 2014-2016
  • Rising Stars, 2016
  • AV Peer-Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Who's Who in American Law
  • Who's Who in American Women
  • Who's Who in America

Selected Presentations
  • ABA National Institute on ERISA Litigation, 2000-2007, 2010-2014
  • ABA National Institute on Health & Welfare Plans, 2010-2014
  • ABA National Institute on ERISA Basics, 1999-2001, 2006-2007, 2010-2012
  • Annual ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law Conference, 2010, 2013
  • Glasser and West Legal Works Annual Fiduciary Seminar, 2001-2007