Bob Blum is one of the country’s leading experts in employee benefits. Many know “the law”; Bob knows how things really work, and the conflicting pressures and interests that drive decisions. With his many years of experience, he has brought people together to resolve employee benefits, employment and general business disputes.
Bob’s experience brings an understanding that enables him to resolve disputes. In his law practice, he has facilitated resolution of conflicts as a partner with major law firms, a senior HR consultant, part of the team that wrote ERISA, and currently as in-house counsel for a 40,000 employee corporation. Bob has co-led major benefits litigation. He has worked closely with publicly traded and other companies, public agencies including the State of California and many cities and counties, universities, the country’s largest Taft Hartley trust, and public agency joint board trusts. He has mediated litigation involving employment, real estate, trust, and disability issues. He trained as a mediator with Pepperdine University’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. In all of this, practical resolution of issues has been his hallmark.
The real world is not just “the law”. It is people with personal, financial, medical, disability, and retirement needs. In a business environment, resolving disputes requires the acquiescence of CFOs who keep their enterprise financially healthy; unions who protect their members; governing boards with overall entity responsibility; money managers with fiduciary responsibility; administrators who make programs work, and of course auditors, and regulators. Plaintiffs – both individuals and organizations – often have a very strongly held belief of “what is right”. Bob’s work has focused on enabling these multiple stakeholders to come together to resolve their issues.
Bob believes that people can resolve disputes with a mediator who understands the real world that people must deal with, hears what is not said as well as what is said, and with that knowledge helps the parties develop practical solutions. This is what he has done for decades in his different practice experiences.
MEDIATION PRACTICE AND PRIOR SERVICE
Bob has established an independent mediation practice, focusing on all aspects of employee benefits, employment and business issues and building on his decades of experience enabling multiple stakeholders resolve their conflicts. His experience includes litigation involving employment, disability, trust, and real estate issues.
He also assists the courts as a member of pro bono mediation panels. He is on the panels for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, the Sixth District Court of Appeal, the Marin County Superior Court and the Sacramento Superior Court. He retains his position as Deputy General Counsel, Benefits for one of the country’s premier health care organizations. In that capacity he works on a day to day basis with multiple stakeholders resolving their different interests.
GOVERNMENT EXPERIENCE AND CAREER ACHIEVEMENTS
Bob was Legislation Attorney/Counsel to the Congressional Joint Tax Committee and was part of the team that wrote ERISA, and that audited the Internal Revenue Service. Bob has been recognized as a Northern California “Super Lawyer” and is a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel. He is a nationally recognized author and speaker on tax and employee benefits issues and has provided over 60 hours of CLE training for ALI-ABA.
California, District of Columbia, U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, U.S. Tax Court
University of California, Berkeley (BA, MA, JD)