James W. Berry, Jr.

Prior to joining Berry & Tudor, P.C., Jim practiced with two large regional law firms for 35 years where he led the employee benefits practice groups in Nashville.

He works in all areas of the design, implementation, operation, amendment and termination of qualified and non-qualified savings and retirement plans, deferred compensation, executive compensation and welfare plans, including consultation regarding compliance, self-correction and the treatment of such plans in mergers and acquisitions.

He has lectured frequently on employee benefits topics including talks to groups representing the Profit Sharing Council of America, the Legal Secretary/Law Office Management Institute, the Nashville Estate Planning Council, the Chattanooga Estate Planning Council, the National Association of Homebuilders, the Middle Tennessee Employee Benefits Council and the Tax Section of the Tennessee Bar Association.


Led multi-disciplinary team to create and obtain determination letter for conversion of thrift plan into one of first 401(k) plans in region.

Advised large national bankrupt retailer in freezing and terminating employee benefit plans including obtaining determination letter and PBGC approval for termination of defined benefit plan converted from cash balance plan, advising fiduciaries with respect to treatment of employer securities in 401(k) plan, establishing individual retirement accounts for lost participants and advising officers with respect to settlement of claims for unfunded supplemental retirement plans and severance pay plans.

Designed and managed administration of law firm’s qualified retirement and savings plans to achieve maximum flexibility in contribution rates and self-directed investment options; restructured fee schedule of trust exceeding $50,000,000 to reduce extremely large fees for largest accounts and satisfy all groups of participants.

Advised past chairman of multi-national firm in self-correction of multiple operational and plan document errors in Keogh plan for directors’ fees and failure to file annual reports over more than a ten-year period to achieve full correction with no liability, plan disqualification of loss of deduction; achieved clean plan acceptable to successor trustee.

Negotiated division of liabilities and transfer of amount equal to assets in prior defined benefit 403(b) church plan in exchange for acceptance of liability for prior plan; finalized and obtained determination letter for plan document coordinating prior service credit, and obtained participant consent to accept new plan benefits in lieu of prior plan benefits for past service.

Advised and represented association in the establishment of regional self-funded health plan for association of governmental agencies and obtained determination letter that structure was exempt from tax under Code Section 501(c)(9).

Negotiated formation of defined benefit plan of utility district with retention of accrued benefits and with statutorily required participation in consolidated state retirement plan limited to future service.

Advised non-profit sponsor of defined benefit retirement plan and 403(b) program with operational errors related to recognition of service of non-employees after splitting regional agency operation into separate local agencies to avoid plan disqualification, to make participants whole and to correct rollover of overpayment of benefit; negotiated favorable settlement with respect to errors-and-omission insurance coverage for cost of compensatory payments to participants.

Advised various clients in achieving self-correction of plan document and operational errors pursuant to Internal Revenue Service procedures achieving favorable correction processes to minimize costs and administrative burdens to plan sponsors.

Advised international private equity fund with respect to U.S. employee benefits aspects of acquisition of multi-national group of companies including negotiation of share purchase agreement, establishment of successor plans, and analysis of retirement pan options for expatriate president.

Advised purchaser in acquisition from institutional trustee of 100% of stock of S corporation wholly owned by employee stock ownership plan.


Middle Tennessee Employee Benefits Council
Member, Past President
Nashville Estate Planning Council
Board Member, President
Gulf Coast Area TE/GE Council
Founding Member and Alumnus
Tennessee Bar Association
Tax Section, Member of Executive Council, Former Chair


The Best Lawyers in America® (Employee Benefits) since 1995
Mid-South Super Lawyers® (Employee Benefits/ERISA) since 2006
AV® Preeminent 5.0TM Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
150 Best Lawyers in Tennessee, Business TN magazine


Make-A-Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee
Former Member, Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Secretary
Boy Scouts of America, Middle Tennessee Council
Table Host, Annual Patrons Luncheon
Former Assistant Scoutmaster
Glendale Baptist Church
Past Chair, Administration and Property Committees
Member of Cuba Sister Church Travel Teams
Member, Personnel, Property and Nominating Committees

A Professional Corporation
5123 Virginia Way, Suite B-23
Brentwood, Tennessee 37027

Tel: (615) 726-1000
Fax: (615) 370-0077



Vanderbilt University
BE, 1971
Magna Cum Laude
Honors in Electrical Engineering

Tau Beta Pi

Duke University School of Law
J.D., 1974
Order of the Coif

Bar Memberships

Nashville Bar Association
Tennessee Bar Association
American Bar Association


Tennessee, 1974

United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee

Unites States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit