John E. Schembari

(402) 231-8886
(402) 346-1148 Fax

John is Chair of the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group. He concentrates his practice primarily in employee benefits, executive compensation, tax, corporate and privacy law. 
John works with private, public and governmental employers on their qualified and nonqualified retirement plans, employee stock ownership plans, insured and self-funded health plans, executive and incentive compensation programs, and other equity-based compensation arrangements. He advises compensation committees, ERISA fiduciaries, in-house counsel, and finance and human resources executives from companies of all sizes, including several of the largest employers in the United States. John is widely known for providing practical and straightforward advice in complex areas of the law. 

John is a nationally recognized speaker and author on employee benefits, executive compensation, tax and privacy matters. He speaks several times per year across the country to thousands of participants. He has also authored numerous articles in his areas of specialty for law journals, magazines and other publications.

His recent experience includes:

  • Serving as ERISA and employee benefits counsel for Fortune 500 companies with hundreds of thousands of employees around the world.
  • Training hundreds of fiduciaries annually on ERISA’s fiduciary duties.
  • Serving as ESOP counsel in more than 500 million of leveraged ESOP transactions involving Code section 1042 rollovers, proxy votes and subchapter S elections.
  • Serving as counsel to governmental entities in connection with the maintenance and operation of defined benefit, defined contribution and health and welfare plans.
  • Representing Taft-Hartley (multiemployer) funds, including pension, self-funded health and welfare and 401(k) plans.
  • Designing, drafting and implementing nonqualified deferred compensation plans and equity incentive plans for key management employees of private and publicly traded companies.  
  • Conducting dozens of fiduciary and tax compliance reviews for employee benefit plans with over $10 billion in assets.
  • Serving as an independent fiduciary to ERISA-governed employee benefit plans.
  • Serving as lead counsel to state-sponsored college savings,prepaid tuition programs and ABLE plans under Code sections 529 and 529A.


  • Co-author, "Taking a Look at Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Plans," Benefits Magazine, April 2017.
  • “Fiduciary Duties in the Public Sector,” Benefits Magazine, April 2015.
  • "Effective Use of ESOPs for Banks," Nebraska Banker, November/December 2014.
  • "Living Through IRS and DOL Audits and Investigations," Benefit Magazine, 2011.


  • Refresher on Fiduciary Responsibility, October 15, 2018, presentation at International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, 64th Annual Employee Benefits Conference, New Orleans, LA.
  • Another Look at Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB) Programs, November 15, 2016, presentation at International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, 62nd Annual Employee Benefits Conference, Orlando, FL.
  • Keeping Your Wellness Program Legal, Annual Nebraska Safety Council Conference, September 20, 2016.
  • Advice About Advice: How Your Retirement Plan Will be Impacted by the New Department of Labor Fiduciary Role, August 25, 2016, presentation to State Human Resource Group, La Vista NE.
  • Qualified Retirement Plans: How to Fix Common Errors, Webinar, Clear Law Institute, August 17, 2016.
  • Keeping Your Wellness Program Legal, Omaha, NE, March 22, 2016.
  • Legal and Legislative Update, 2016 PSCA Omaha City Event Symposium, March 15, 2016.
  • A View of the Legal Landscape (ERISA), Regional Plan Sponsor Council of America Conference, Omaha, NE, April 23, 2015.