James K. Shaw


30 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 2800
Chicago, IL 60602
P 312.580.1258
F 312.580.1201
E jshaw@ralaw.com

James K. Shaw


Phone: 312.580.1258
Fax: 312.580.1201
Email: jshaw@ralaw.com

Mr. Shaw focuses his practice on federal taxation matters with special emphasis on employee benefits. Prior to practicing law, he spent six years practicing public accounting. He is actively involved in efforts to clarify and simplify state and federal pension laws, particularly those pertaining to affiliated service groups, controlled groups, and employee leasing.

In addition, Mr. Shaw provides legal counsel to non-organizational or independent physicians in the area of mergers and acquisitions of medical practices, having participated in representing clients on both sides of such transactions. He has also been involved in the formation of management service organizations (MSOs) and other forms of health care entities that manage physicians’ practices.

Further, Mr. Shaw has represented commercial and industrial clients in employee benefits matters involving mergers and acquisitions. He has also practiced in the area of collectively bargained (union) plans, Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), executive compensation, and welfare benefit plans.

Mr. Shaw has published various articles on mergers and acquisitions of physician practices and numerous articles on estate planning and employee benefits topics in Estate Planning and Taxation for Accountants. He has also contributed to speeches given by the firm’s partners at the annual meetings of the American Society of Pension Actuaries, Enrolled Actuaries, Ohio State University Tax Conference, Southern Law Institute Tax Conference, and Illinois Medical Group Management Association. Mr. Shaw has also spoken at the Illinois CPA Society on various employee benefit plan topics.

Representative Matters

  • Designs and drafts qualified retirement plans for various sized organizations; among the first attorneys to design and draft “Cash Balance Plans”
  • Represents clients in Plan audits by the IRS and DOL
  • For professional practices and small to mid-sized businesses, designs qualified plans to maximize benefits for the ownership group
  • Represents clients in mergers and acquisitions with respect to their employee benefit plans, including pension benefit plans, welfare benefit plans, and nonqualified plans
  • Advises clients with respect to their welfare benefit plans, including compliance with “health care reform”
  • Drafts welfare benefit plans, including Healthcare Reimbursement Arrangements and Cafeteria Plans
  • Advises clients with respect to their compliance with fiduciary duties under ERISA
  • Advises clients with respect to ESOPs
  • Drafts nonqualified deferred compensation plans
  • Advises not-for-profit entities with respect to their qualified plans
  • Represented client before the U.S. Tax Court
  • Advises not-for-profit clients with respect to their deferred compensation plans, including 403(b) plans, 457(b) plans, and 457(f) plans.


  • Certified Public Accountant (1976)
  • Selected as an "Illinois Leading Lawyer" for Employee Benefits Law (2016 -present)


  • Masters in Management, Northwestern University
  • LL.M., New York University
  • J.D., Loyola University of Chicago
  • B.S., University of Illinois-Chicago

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
    • Employee Benefits Committee of the Tax Section, Member
    • Subcommittee on Government Submissions, Member
    • Task Force on HMO’s and Related Problems, Previous Member
  • American Society of Pension Professional & Actuaries
  • American Society of Pension Actuaries, Previous Member of the Education and Examination Committee


  • “Practice Mergers and Acquisitions”– Co-Author, Chicago Medical Society

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