Gladys Zolna
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EMAIL gzolna@mcdonaldhopkins.com

PHONE 312.642.6733

WATCH: Meet Gladys Zolna

"My practical approach to employee benefits issues is to always ask myself:  If this were my company what legal and practical knowledge would I want to know to make a decision?"

Gladys is a member of McDonald Hopkins' Employee Benefits Practice Group. Based in Chicago, she has 14 years of extensive experience with qualified retirement plans, health and welfare benefits, and executive compensation. Gladys advises small and mid-sized businesses, as well as Fortune 500 companies in the design, implementation and administration of plans and individual arrangements, as well as drafting of plan documents and forms. Her considerable knowledge encompasses a wide range of issues, such as retirement plan qualification rules; IRS and Department of Labor plan correction procedures; ERISA rules; prohibited transactions; multi-employer plans; cafeteria plan rules; and the Affordable Care Act.

Gladys is part of McDonald Hopkins' national employee benefits team, which focuses on the design, implementation and operation of sophisticated benefit programs, retirement programs, and health and welfare plans.

Gladys earned a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 2003 and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Illinois in 1992.

Representative Cases/Matters

  • Guide client through IRS plan correction process for mistakes involving plan administration, as well as plan documentation. 
  • Prepare required filing and communicate with IRS to receive a favorable result.

Admissions - State

  • Illinois


  • University of Chicago Law School
  • University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign

Honors and Awards

  • 2017 Leading Lawyer

Public Service and Volunteerism

  • Board, Women's Bar Foundation 
  • Member, Board, Connections for Abused Women and Their Children
  • Mentor, University of Chicago Law School Women’s Mentoring Program (Fall 2003 – May 2012)

External Publications

  • Author, “Benefits Considerations for Part-Time, Temporary and Seasonal Employees.” Benefits Magazine (November 2015).
  • Author, “New ACA Reporting Requirements Self-Insured Employers Should Know.” Employee Benefits News (July 2015).
  • Author, “Who is an ERISA Fiduciary?” Employee Benefits News (June 2015).
  • Contributing Author, “Michigan High Court Says No Health, Pension Benefits for Public Employees’ Domestic Partners.” Employers’ Handbook: Complying with IRS Employee Benefit Rules. 
  • Contributing Author, “Effect of Michigan’s Constitutional Amendment Banning Same-Sex Marriages on Domestic Partner Benefits Offered By State and Local Government.” Employers’ Handbook: Complying with IRS Employee Benefit Rules.
  • Contributing Author, “Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation Arrangements and Qualified Deferred Compensation Arrangements” (Spring 2004 to Fall 2006).
  • Author of various client communications, including communications regarding health care reform, COBRA premium reimbursements, retroactive annuity starting dates, and automatic rollovers of mandatory distributions.

External Speaking Engagements

  • Presenter, "The DOL Regulatory Package: How the Fiduciary Rules will Affect Your Plan and Employees." Seminar (December 2016)
  • Presenter, “Retirement Health & Retirement Wealth.” The Plan Sponsor University (March 2015).
  • Presenter, “Trends in Healthcare: How Reps Agencies Navigate Obama Care.” Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Conference (November 2014).
  • Co-Presenter, “Health Care Reform: Strategies for the Road Ahead” Seminar (October and November 2013).
  • Presenter, “Incorporating the Latest IRS/Treasury, DOL and PBGC Developments into your Plan Design, Implementation and Administration.” ACI Employee Benefits Conference (May 2013).
  • Presenter, “Getting the Apple – Managing Taxes and Planning for Retirement.” CEO Roundtable.
  • Presenter, “CLE: Corporate and Partnership Tax Update.” Illinois State Bar Association Federal Tax Conference (Fall 2010).
  • Presenter, “Deferred Compensation Arrangements: Compensating Employees and Executives with Equity Awards.” Continuing Legal Education Seminar (2009).