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ERISA Hotties: Your Male Nominees

erisa lawyers.jpegThis was absolutely agonizing; but after hours of deliberation, we managed to do it. We reviewed the male side of the field in our ERISA Lawyer Hotties Contest, then painstakingly winnowed it down to twelve deserving finalists. (Yes, we previously said we’d have ten finalists. But picking even a dozen, from so many worthy competitors, was nearly impossible.)

Our decisions were based on (1) photographs of the nominees, and (2) reader testimonials about them. In order to make the final cut, a nominee needed an appealing picture and a strong testimonial. We also gave priority to attorneys who work primarily on pension and employee benefit law, as opposed to ones whose practice involves the field only tangentially.

The female finalists will follow tomorrow. For now, check out the pictures and testimonials for the male finalists — and cast your vote for America’s Hottest Male ERISA Lawyer — after the jump (click on the “continue reading” link).

Here you go: the twelve most handsome, studly, mouthwatering practitioners of pension-and-employee-benefit law in the United States. You can thank us later!

jordan backman 2.JPGjordan backman 3.jpg1. Jordan S. Backman

Title: Director, Benefits Counsel, Sony Corporation of America, New York, NY
“We want to nominate Jordan Backman as a hottie because he is a great ERISA attorney. His extensive knowledge in ERISA law is impressive. He finds creative ways of resolving issues, often with humor and aplomb. He gets along with everyone and is well-liked in return. Most of all, he always has chocolate in his office.”
“There hasn’t been a Jordan this dreamy since New Kids on the Block… A smile from Jordan Backman is definitely a ‘qualified fringe benefit’ of working here!”

hugh davis 2.jpg2. Hugh W. Davis II

Title: Partner, Poyner & Spruill, Raleigh, NC
“Hugh Davis practices in North Carolina with Poyner & Spruill, a 115 attorney firm with offices in Raleigh, Charlotte, Rocky Mount, and Southern Pines. While it’s a little hard for me to sing his praises (I can’t sing and laugh at the same time), I can say his clients like him, his partners enjoy his twisted sense of humor, and his wife and dog think he’s hot.”
“Hugh is a big sport fisherman, and when he’s not giving speeches on 409A issues (if you don’t know, don’t ask), he is off to Alaska or the Caribbean to fish some huge fish. I’ve attached a ‘fish porn’ photo for your use.”

hugh davis.JPG

Michael Maricco Mike Maricco Michael A Maricco Above the Law.JPG3. Michael A. Maricco

Title: Attorney, Office of the Chief Counsel, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Washington, DC
“Michael Maricco deserves to be crowned America’s hottest ERISA lawyer. In the kingdom of pension lawyers, he who drinks and smokes is king!”
“I can’t think of a more worthy candidate for ‘ERISA Hottie’ than Mike Maricco. He’s like a more handsome version of Ben Affleck, with a rakish charm that is absolutely irresistible. Vote for Mike!!!”
“Michael Maricco is the kind of guy that you could enjoy going out for beers with. How many pension lawyers can you say that about?”

Tony Provenzano Anthony Provenzano Anthony G Provenzano Above the Law.jpg4. Anthony G. Provenzano

Title: Counsel, Miller & Chevalier, Washington, DC
“I would like to nominate Tony Provenzano, Of Counsel, at Miller & Chevalier in Washington, DC. Tony brings a hard core New York deal lawyer personality to ERISA — and the Italian mafia mannerisms are an added perk! His humor is perfectly timed and good… really good. He’s got that edge that just screams ERISA is sexy. And he always wears the trendiest shoes.”
“Most ERISA lawyers are fashion disasters — perhaps because they’re still dressed by their mothers. But Anthony Provenzano is a definite exception to the rule. He brings a much-needed dose of big-city style to the sartorially-challenged streets of the nation’s capital.”

howard radzely howie radzely.jpg5. Howard M. Radzely

Title: Solicitor, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, DC
Testimonials: “Howard Radzely is movie-star handsome. He’s like a young Jerry Orbach. Be still my heart!”
“If you like ’em thin, you’ll love Howard Radzely. I recall an ode to his slim hips from a female debater back in college. The guy’s like 98 pounds soaking wet — and wouldn’t we all like to see that!”
“Howard’s incredible good looks are matched only by his overpowering résumé: Wharton summa, Harvard Law magna, Luttigator, Scalia clerk. At HLS, the ‘Radzely outline’ was famous for its comprehensiveness and length. Who says size doesn’t matter?”

alan sandals.jpg6. Alan M. Sandals

Title: Founding partner, Sandals & Associates, P.C., Philadelphia, PA
Testimonials: “Alan Sandals runs his own self-named firm — that’s HOTT!!! And he ran for U.S. Senate — incredibly awesome. He’s also argued two cases before then-Judge Alito on the Third Circuit, one of which was an ERISA case: Holmes v. Pension Plan of Bethlehem Steel Corp., 213 F.3d 124 (3d Cir. 2000). So he has been just steps away from SCOTUS greatness!”
“If you’re an ERISA groupie, Alan is the man. He has lectured federal judges on the ins and outs of ERISA, at Federal Judicial Center panels, and he has also taught lawyers at countless CLE sessions. The man is a god of the ERISA bar. Alan’s one bear that I’d love to cuddle with!”

eugene scalia.jpg7. Eugene Scalia

Title: Partner, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Washington, DC; former Solicitor of the U.S. Department of Labor
Testimonials: “Gene Scalia, former Solicitor of the DoL, is a giant of the labor and employment bar. His résumé is long and distinguished, brimming over with prestigious posts and publication credits. But his greatest achievement is that he was Editor-in-Chief of the University of Chicago Law Review. That’s the ultimate aphrodisiac!”
“Yes, Eugene Scalia is the son of that Scalia. If you worship Antonin Scalia, as I do, that’s one reason to vote for Eugene as an ERISA hottie. But even if you loathe Justice Scalia, take Eugene on his own terms: he’s tall, handsome, and always impeccably dressed. Plus, he’s very well-groomed — not a nose or ear hair in sight. A veritable ERISA Adonis!”

malcolm slee 2.JPGmalcolm slee 4.JPG8. Malcolm Slee

Title: Associate, Slevin & Hart, LLP, Washington, DC
“Malcolm Slee is an associate at Slevin & Hart, LLP. He is a graduate of Georgetown Law. He has been practicing ERISA law for over eight years now and he loves it. In fact, he frequently refers to ERISA as his mistress!”
“Malcolm is quite the athlete. He bikes everywhere, regularly plays basketball, is a member of a softball team, runs 10Ks, and loves both fantasy football and baseball. He is truly an ERISA hottie.”
“I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that many of your nominees are going to be ‘joke’ nominees. Not so with Malcolm Slee. This man is seriously hot — a sizzling patty of ERISA beefcake. Handsome face, great body. Voters should ask themselves: Do any of the other ERISA ‘hotties’ look this good in a sleeveless t-shirt?”

Bill Sweetnam William Sweetnam William F Sweetnam Jr.JPGbill sweetnam 3.jpg9. William F. Sweetnam, Jr.

Title: Partner, Groom Law Group,
Washington, DC
Testimonials: “Bill Sweetnam’s ‘accrued benefits’ include very broad shoulders, developed after years of bench pressing all 6 volumes of the Income Tax Regulations and using the two volumes of the Internal Revenue Code for bicep curls while on conference calls… plus, awesome glutes from hiking up and down Capitol Hill and trawling at the hippest DC and NYC bars.”
“From the topknot of his imported silk ties (with matching pocket squares), to the edges of his designer wingtips, Bill Sweetnam dresses impeccably — and expects nothing less than perfection from himself and from those who **work** under him… Undoubtedly, Bill should be crowned America’s hottest ERISA lawyer!”
“William Sweetnam isn’t just a leading tax and ERISA lawyer; he’s also a very handsome man. He’s dashing in that ‘I-could-be-a-U.S.-Senator’ sort of way. By Washington standards, that makes him smoking hot!”

Gary Tell Gary Tell Gary Tell Gary Tell OMelveny Myers.jpg10. Gary Tell

Title: Partner, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, Washington, DC
Testimonials: “Whether in tennis whites or bespoke charcoal grays, Gary smoulders like the foundries of his native Pittsburgh — and his gaze is every bit as steely. Seriously, Gary’s a great candidate for this sort of thing: ERISA litigator, hardworking nice guy, single. No question, he’s a catch!”
“Inner and outer beauty — Gary has it all. He is as sought after by women as he is by his clients. Gary stays in shape by biking through the Swiss Alps and working out at his gym. There can’t be a more worthy candidate for most good-looking ERISA lawyer.”
“Gary is tall and ERISA-hot. His picture doesn’t do him justice.”

bruce wolk 2.gif11. Bruce A. Wolk

Title: Professor of Law, UC-Davis, Davis, CA
“No doubt your inbox is filling up with many ERISA hotties, attorneys who are as practiced in the phrase “relate to an employee benefit plan” as they are in facial scrubs.”
“But it is important in such contests to remember what should be obvious: ERISA hotties don’t simply grow on trees. They must be nurtured and molded by law school professors, folks who spend tireless hours in the classroom imbuing these impressionable students with the skills that they are now bringing to this competition. And perhaps the most well-known of all professors of pension law in the United States is Bruce Wolk, a professor at the University of California at Davis’s King Hall School of Law and a co-author of the leading textbook on the subject, Pension and Employee Benefit Law.”
bruce wolk 3.JPG
“However, Wolk deserves the ERISA Hottie designation for more than simply being an ERISA expert and teacher. Whether it is designating his license plate ‘ERISA 74′ (see photo above) or attempting to convince one of his sons to name his newborn “Erisa,” his dedication to all things ERISA is nonpareil. And his “hottiness” goes well beyond his good looks — his deep knowledge of all things hottie is evidenced by his textbook Pension and Employee Benefit Law, which rivals any romance novel. The fact that sex sells is not lost on Wolk.”

john wood 8.GIF12. John D. Wood

Title: Shareholder, Branham & Day, Brentwood, TN (Nashville area)
“John Wood helps maintain the firm’s blog, ERISA on the Web, devoted specifically to ERISA and disability issues. He’s nominated for his boyish good looks and his porn star name!”
“John Wood is a dreamboat sailing through the ERISA ‘safe harbor.’ The soulful brown eyes, the strong chin, the amazingly full head of hair… **SWOON!!!**”


Still with us? Great. We hope that you have done your civic duty and, like a good voter, have carefully reviewed all of the candidates. We reserve the right to hold a runoff if circumstances so warrant.

Without further ado, here’s the poll:

Who is America’s hottest male ERISA lawyer?
Jordan Backman
Hugh Davis
Michael Maricco
Anthony Provenzano
Howard Radzely
Alan Sandals
Eugene Scalia
Malcolm Slee
William Sweetnam
Gary Tell
Bruce Wolk
John Wood
Free polls from


UPDATE: And be sure to check out and vote on the female nominees, which you can do here.

FURTHER UPDATE: The contest is over. Your winners are here.

Earlier: Above the Law Hotties: ERISA Lawyers

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