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For 25 years, Kirstin Poirier-Whitley has been a trusted counselor to both tax-exempt employers, including hospitals, universities, and local governments, and for-profit employers on complex tax, fiduciary, and other regulatory issues impacting employee and executive benefit programs. She provides creative advice and practical solutions for thorny plan design and administration issues, addresses the benefit plan liability and transition issues that arise in M&A transactions, and helps clients favorably settle compliance issues with government agencies.

Kirstin regularly advises on emerging options for employer-provided health care benefits, such as direct-contracting between employers and health care providers, and stand-alone options like telemedicine and second opinion services. She has extensive experience advising on ERISA, tax, Affordable Care Act, HIPAA privacy, and myriad other regulatory requirements impacting clients' health and welfare plans and related funding vehicles (e.g., 401(h) accounts, VEBAs). She often negotiates health plan service agreements with third-party administrators and network providers.

Kirstin also frequently counsels sponsors and fiduciaries of retirement plans (cash balance, pension, 401(k), 403(b), and 457(b) plans) on tax and fiduciary issues, including topical matters such as environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investment considerations. She also assists tax-exempt and for-profit clients with executive deferred compensation programs (457 and 409A issues) and on all manner of fringe benefits (educational assistance, employer-provided vehicles, wellness incentives). Additionally, she counsels clients on payroll tax matters, including FICA taxation of nonqualified deferred compensation, and is experienced with state law issues impacting governmental plans, such as the vested rights doctrine.


  • Health care employer obtains advice on treatment of benefits as qualified disaster relief paymentsJones Day advised a health care employer on the treatment of certain child care and housing benefits as qualified disaster relief payments under section 139.
  • Huntington Ingalls to sell San Diego Shipyard to Titan Acquisition HoldingsJones Day is advising Huntington Ingalls Industries in the sale of its San Diego Shipyard to Titan Acquisition Holdings.
  • Stanford Health Care enters into accountable care services arrangement with Silicon Valley technology companyJones Day advised Stanford Health Care (“SHC”) in connection with the negotiation of an "accountable care services" arrangement with a national health insurance company and a prominent, global technology company headquartered in Silicon Valley.
  • City of Hope forms precision medicine alliance with TGenJones Day advised City of Hope, a world-renowned cancer and diabetes research and treatment center, in its affiliation with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), a nonprofit biomedical research institute focused on developing earlier diagnostics and personalized treatments.
  • Astellas sells U.S. manufacturing subsidiary to AvaraJones Day advised Astellas Pharma Inc. in the transfer of its wholly owned manufacturing subsidiary Astellas Pharma Technologies, Inc. to Avara Norman Pharmaceutical Services, Inc.
  • Stanford Health Care and Silicon Valley employer enter into unique "accountable care organization" arrangementJones Day advised Stanford Health Care ("SHC") in connection with the negotiation of a unique "accountable care organization" arrangement with a prominent Silicon Valley technology company, pursuant to which SHC will coordinate and manage the provision of health care services furnished to enrollees of the company's self-funded health benefit plans by health care providers (including SHC) participating in a custom-designed narrow network and will assume financial accountability for the cost and quality of services furnished to the company's enrollees.
  • USI Insurance Services acquires seven Willis retail insurance brokerage locations across the U.S.Jones Day advised USI Insurance Services LLC in its acquisition of seven retail insurance brokerage locations from Willis North America Inc., part of Willis Group Holdings.
  • Redwood Regional Medical Group merges with St. Joseph Heritage HealthcareJones Day represented Redwood Regional Medical Group ("Redwood"), a multi-specialty physician group practice specializing in medical and radiation oncology diagnostic and interventional radiology, and breast and vascular surgery, in connection with its sale to St. Jude Hospital Yorba Linda, dba St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare.
  • Hoag Memorial Hospital forms regional health systemJones Day assisted Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in its affiliation with St. Joseph Health to form an integrated regional health system.
  • City of Hope forms City of Hope Medical FoundationJones Day advised the City of Hope in connection with the development and formation of City of Hope Medical Foundation (COHMF) and the purchase by COHMF of California Cancer Specialists Medical Group (CCSMG) and Oncology Specialists of COH (OSCOH).
  • Celgene acquires Abraxis BioScience for $2.9 billionJones Day advised Celgene Corporation in its $2.9 billion merger with Abraxis BioScience Inc.
  • VMware acquires Integrien and TriCipherJones Day advised VMware, Inc. in its acquisition of Integrien and TriCipher, Inc.
  • Ellison Technologies acquired by Mitsui and Mori SeikiJones Day advised Ellison Technologies, Inc., a U.S. producer of machine tools, in the acquisition of a controlling interest by Mitsui & Co. and Mori Seiki Co., Ltd.
  • Contra Costa County seeks advice on tax consequences of plan designJones Day advised Contra Costa County on tax consequences of plan design.
  • Individual trustee seeks representation on DOL auditJones Day represented Plan Trustee on DOL audit.
  • Speaking Engagements

    • January 15, 2019
      PLI: 2019 Applying ERISA Fiduciary Rules to Health Plans, Services and Products
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