Barclay Damon
Barclay Damon

John S. Zollo

John S. Zollo


p: 315.425.2833

f: 315.425.8586

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Syracuse Office

Barclay Damon Tower
125 East Jefferson Street
Syracuse, New York 13202

John's practice includes all areas of employee benefits law including qualified retirement plans, nonqualified deferred compensation plans, health and welfare plans, plan investigations and correction programs. John counsels clients on Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) compliance, benefit plan tax-qualification issues and investment matters. He advises board members, plan administrators, investment committees, trustees and investment advisors on best practices to limit exposure to fiduciary liability. A significant portion of his practice is devoted to employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) including ESOP transactions, compliance and fiduciary counseling.

John has served as an administrative committee member for 401(k) and profit sharing plans and as the Trustee for ESOPs sponsored by companies in various industries including construction, manufacturing and retail.

A native of Syracuse, New York, John graduated from the UC Davis School of Law where he was an editor of the UC Davis Law Review and received the Witkin Award for Academic Excellence in Pension Law.

Representative Experience

  • Advised on the formation, merger and termination of retirement plans.
  • Prepared plan documents and determination letter filings.
  • Coordinated benefit plan arrangements among multiple controlled group members to ensure nondiscriminatory availability of benefits, rights and features.
  • Advised on multiemployer pension plan withdrawal liability.
  • Corrected plan errors under the IRS’ voluntary correction program (VCP) and self-correction program (SCP).
  • Advised employers on all aspects of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Advised colleges and universities on retirement plan, health and welfare plan, and deferred compensation matters.
  • Represented companies and plan fiduciaries in DOL investigations of employee benefit plans, including settlement negotiations with the Office of the Solicitor.
  • Prepared nonqualified deferred compensation plans for select groups of management and highly compensated employees and evaluated plans for compliance with Internal Revenue Code Section 409A.
  • Served as counsel to companies and Trustees in numerous ESOP transactions ranging from $10MM to $150MM.

Practice Areas


  • Columbia University, B.A., 1995
  • Ohio University, M.S., 1999
  • UC Davis School of Law, J.D., 2007

Admitted To Practice

  • California, 2007
  • New York, 2017

Memberships & Affiliations

  • National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO)

Speaking & Publications

  • “ESOP Companies: Nonqualified Deferred Compensation for Key Employees,” National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), Employee Ownership Conference 2018, Atlanta, GA, April 18, 2018
  • "EBSA Investigations: Common Violations and Tips to Avoid Them," National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), Employee Ownership Conference 2017, Denver, CO, April 4, 2017
  • “Sustainable Distribution Policies,” National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), The ESOP Symposium, Austin, TX, September 13, 2016
  • "U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies ERISA's Statute of Limitations While Emphasizing Plan Fiduciary's Ongoing Monitoring Obligations Under ERISA," (Bloomberg BNA Insight), July 2015

Prior Experience

  • Ice Miller LLP
  • Chang, Ruthenberg & Long P.C.