Attorney Bios

Attorneys: Jeffery Mandell, John C. Hughes & Loren K. Messerly
Health Care Consultant: Josh Sears, Attorney, The Murray Group
Legal Assistants: Ruby Perren & Aspen Compton
Office Manager: Mary Mandell

Jeffery Mandell -

Jeffery Mandell is founder and President of The ERISA Law Group, P.A.

“I think that my undivided commitment to my clients, my creativity, resolute tenacity and resourcefulness to achieve their objectives (and provide peace of mind) probably best describes what I do. I find solutions. I find results. I want success for my clients.”

Jeff is one of a rigorously selected group of lawyers who are Fellows of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel. The American College of Employee Benefits Counsel is the highest and most prestigious honor an ERISA attorney can receive in the United States. The Fellowship recognizes a career of legal excellence and consistent, positive contributions to advance and improve ERISA on a national scale.

With clients coast-to-coast, Jeff is a recognized practitioner, speaker, and prolific author on ERISA topics. He has been voted each year by his peers to be listed in the Best Lawyers in America since 1995.

He was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Idaho College of Law and the University of Wisconsin Law School. His textbook regarding ERISA plan administrative and legal matters was published in 1998 by Panel Publishers.

Jeff has been the long-time appointed representative of Idaho to serve before the Internal Revenue Service Pacific Coast TE/GE Council and the U.S. Department of Labor.

He also serves on the Bloomberg Bureau of National Affairs’ Legal Advisory Board.

Jeff is the founder of Employee Benefit Publications and Seminars.

Jeff and his partner, John Hughes, are the editors and architects of the 401(k) Advisor, The Insider's Guide to Plan Design, Administration, Funding & Compliance, a widely-used monthly journal published by Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.

Jeff complements his technical expertise with a practical approach based on decades of a practice devoted exclusively to ERISA. Since 1982, he has concentrated his practice solely in retirement plans, welfare plans, and all other ERISA, deferred compensation and employee benefit matters. Jeff's practice extends to 401(k), profit sharing, nonqualified deferred compensation, health plans and trusts, 457, pension, severance plans, 403(b), cross-tested, defined benefit and cash balance, VEBA, key aspects of employment agreements, cafeteria/flex, ESOP, governmental, health, welfare, and all types and forms of employee benefit plans (subject and not subject to ERISA).

Jeff also provides training, seminars, and written materials for the employee benefit and plan sponsor communities.

He represents for-profit employers, tax-exempts, governmental entities, associations, and individuals (mostly the owners and key players of companies). He also represents pension professionals and organizations that offer plan services, such as financial institutions, third-party administrators, accountants, attorneys, and plan consultants.

Jeff was a partner and head of the Employee Benefits practice group at several law firms (including Hawley Troxell Ennis & Hawley in Boise, Idaho and Boardman, Suhr, Curry & Field in Madison, Wisconsin).

Born and raised in Chicago; very lucky Idahoan since 1997; married with three daughters; loves family, friends, the outdoors, sports, music, Idaho, reading, writing, and helping teenage refugees.

Education & Associations

Law School:

  • University of Texas, J.D., 1982


  • University of Virginia, B.A., 1977, with high distinction
  • La Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá
  • University of Pennsylvania


  • Idaho Representative to the IRS on Employee Benefit Matters (TE/GE Pacific Coast)
  • Fellow of The American College of Employee Benefits Counsel
  • Bloomberg Bureau of National Affairs’ ERISA/Employee Benefits Advisory Board
  • Member and on Board of Directors of The Group, Inc. (a selective nationwide group of industry experts)
  • Western Pension & Benefits Conference, Boise Chapter, Founding Board Member
  • American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries
  • Employee Benefits Publications and Seminars, Founder
  • Madison (WI) Pension Council, Former President and Board member

Admitted to Bars:

  • Texas
  • Illinois
  • Wisconsin
  • Idaho

See Mr. Mandell's full bio

John C. Hughes

John C. Hughes -

John C. Hughes is a Shareholder with The ERISA Law Group, P.A. John’s practice is focused in the area of ERISA/employee benefits. John represents clients nationwide relative to issues involving all kinds of employee benefit plans including 401(k), profit sharing, pension/defined benefit, 457, 403(b), nonqualified deferred compensation/409A, employee stock ownership (“ESOP”), governmental, 125/cafeteria, and health and welfare plans.

John represents and provides advice to private companies, plan committees, individuals, corporations, tax-exempt entities, governmental entities, and associations. He also represents retirement plan industry professionals and organizations such as financial institutions, third-party administrators, accountants, and plan consultants. John counsels clients on a broad spectrum of plan related issues including legal compliance, fiduciary responsibilities, plan operations and administrative issues, plan corrections, plan design, mergers and acquisitions, litigation, and plan qualification.

John is the Coeditor-In-Chief of a well established nationally circulated monthly newsletter entitled the 401(k) Advisor. He is a former Board Member and President of the Boise Chapter of the Western Pension & Benefits Council. John frequently writes and speaks on ERISA-related topics. John was Managing Editor of the California Western Law Review. He acted as a Pro Tem Judge for the San Diego Superior Court from 2001 through 2005, and is a former member of the Louis M. Welsh Inn of Court.

John’s primary focus is to solve employee benefit problems and assist clients in achieving their employee benefit objectives. He helps clients maintain their plans in compliance with the numerous, ever-changing, and complex legal requirements. John compliments his technical expertise with a practical, dedicated, and efficient approach.

John is originally from Port Washington, New York. He enjoys family, friends, skiing, hiking, music, and reading.

Education & Associations

Law School:

  • California Western School of Law, J.D., 1995


  • State University of New York at Buffalo, B.A., 1991


  • Western Pension & Benefits Council - Boise Chapter, Former Board Member and President
  • City Club of Boise, Member
  • Human Resources Association of Treasure Valley, Member
  • Southern Idaho Compensation and Benefits Association, Member
  • Idaho State Bar
  • California State Bar
Loren K Messserly

Loren K. Messerly -

Loren K. Messerly focuses in the area of ERISA/employee benefits and ERISA litigation. Prior to joining The ERISA Law Group, Loren developed a diverse background in the law: bankruptcy expertise through a federal bankruptcy clerkship with Judge Arthur Harris in the Northern District of Ohio; civil litigation expertise with Judge James Taylor in Utah County; trial and courtroom experience as an Ada County, Idaho deputy prosecutor. As a civil litigator he handled cases involving numerous areas of the law including contracts, medical malpractice, personal injury, property and easement rights, bankruptcy, construction, corporate and partnership disputes, attorney malpractice, and ERISA. Loren’s considerable experience including in ERISA created the keen mutual interest that brought Loren to The ERISA Law Group.

His career has been replete with successes for his clients. He has a practical, strategic, communicative, persuasive and hard-working approach. Loren brings those same skills to all aspects of ERISA, including without limitation plan compliance and design, qualification of plans with the Internal Revenue Service, solving employee benefit objectives and problems of all kinds, COBRA, health care and executive compensation. He helps clients maintain their plans in compliance prospectively, and retroactively when mistakes are presented to us.

His ERISA experience includes working with various deferred compensation plans, employment agreements and other tax-deferral arrangements that violate ERISA (including its top-hat plan requirements), and/or violating Internal Revenue Code Section 409A. He helps create Section 409A solutions to avoid the very harsh consequences falling directly on executives and high-paid employees. His experiences also include terminations of defined benefit plans.

Loren brings a new dimension to the firm that allows us to represent clients, in full, in ERISA litigation and settlements.

Loren is originally from Eureka, California. He and his wife have a blended family of four boys and a girl. He enjoys family, friends, skiing, sports, the Idaho outdoors, and travel. He is also a college basketball referee who officiates at the Division II and NAIA level.

Education & Associations

Law School:

  • J. Reuben Clark Law School (BYU), J.D., 2003, magna cum laude


  • Brigham Young University, B.A. History & Economics, 2000, cum laude


  • Employee Benefit Publications and Seminars
  • The 401(k) Advisor, The Insider’s Guide to Plan Design, Administration Funding & Compliance
  • Idaho State Bar
  • Admitted Before all Idaho state courts, United States District Court and Bankruptcy Court in Idaho, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Idaho Trial Lawyers Association
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section of the Idaho State Bar
Josh Sears

Josh Sears -

Josh Sears of The Murray Group is the firm’s health care consultant. He and The ERISA Law Group have had an ongoing working relationship since about 2011. Josh’s vast experiences and relationships in the health care arena (including in his capacity when working for health benefit providers) adds a valued dimension to our practice.

Josh has practiced law for over 12 years. The last seven have been exclusively in the employee benefits and health care industries. He specializes in ERISA, COBRA, HIPAA, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He also has provided consultation on employment law, having represented a wide spectrum of clients in many areas of business and government. Josh has become a highly respected ERISA and employee benefits attorney in and outside of Idaho, including in private practice, as in-house counsel for a medical claims payer and now as a consultant.

With his unique blend of insight, expertise, and wit, Josh has been a highly sought-after speaker for the health insurance industry for several years. He has provided education and guidance in dozens of presentations and speaking engagements nationwide to brokers, TPAs, carriers, HR professionals, and governmental entities on regulatory compliance, audits, plan designs, operations, funding mechanisms, and general health benefit issues.

Josh engages in day-to-day compliance and regulatory operations, helping to keep employers and others in the health care industry on the forefront of the legal and regulatory landscape. Josh’s capacity as an attorney and also in the weeds of the health care industry provides him with unique experiences and approaches to assist our clients.

Josh earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Idaho in 2004. In 2010, the Idaho Department of Insurance Director William Deal appointed Josh to the Board of Directors of the Idaho Immunization Fund, where he served for 2 years. In 2011, Josh received the Community Service/Pro Bono Award from the Mountain West Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, and in 2015 Josh received the Alumni Service Award from his alma mater, The College of Idaho, for his dedication to public service. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Eagle/Garden City, where he has twice served as Club President.

208.342.5522 or 866.ERISA.LAW