Linda A. Wilkins

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Employee Benefits Attorney in Dallas, TX

Wilkins Finston Friedman Law Group LLP
 | 13155 Noel Rd, Suite 900
Dallas, TX 75240
Phone: 972-638-8390
Fax: 214-453-0999
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2003 - 2020
Licensed Since: 1977
Practice Areas:
  • Employee Benefits
    Attorney Profile

    Linda A. Wilkins is a co-founder and partner in Wilkins Finston Friedman Law Group LLP. From the firm's main office in Dallas, she represents companies and individuals throughout the greater metropolitan area and other parts of the state in matters related to employee benefit and executive compensation plans. Ms. Wilkins has earned the high regard of her colleagues for the overall quality of her work and her ethical approach to her practice. The holder of an AV Preeminent* peer review rating through Martindale-Hubbell, she has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America every year since 2006, and she has been named to D Magazine's annual Best Lawyers in Dallas list.

    Possessing extensive experience in matters governed by ERISA, Ms. Wilkins helps companies design a variety of employee benefit plans and ensures that they remain in compliance with that federal law. She also designs and drafts incentive compensation plans, including ”top hat” plans, and she has counseled executives in the negotiation of severance and employment agreements. In addition, Ms. Wilkins advises companies regarding the effect that ERISA and other employee benefit laws have on mergers and acquisitions.

    Ms. Wilkins has been certified in Tax Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for nearly three decades. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University, where she majored in English and received a Bachelor of Arts in 1974. Her legal education came at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, where she was editor-in-chief of the Oklahoma Law Review before being awarded her Juris Doctor (with Honors) in 1977. Ms. Wilkins also holds an LL.M. in Taxation from the SMU Dedman School of Law, where she has taught employee benefits as an adjunct professor.


    *AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

    Practice Areas
    • 100%Employee Benefits


    Selected to Super Lawyers for 18 yearsbottom-image

    Super Lawyers: 2003 - 2020

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    About Linda Wilkins

    Admitted: 1977, Texas

    Professional Webpage:


    • Texas Super Lawyer in Employee Benefits/ERISA Law, 2003-2015 (a service of Thomson Reuters, Inc.)
    • Linda was listed in the Best Lawyers’ 2016 Women in the Law in Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (a service of Woodward White, Inc.)
    • D Magazine named Linda one of the "Best Lawyers in Dallas" in ERISA for 2015-2016
    • Best Lawyers in America since 2006 (a service of Woodward White, Inc.)
    • Named one of the Best Women Lawyers in Dallas by D Magazine., 2018

    Special Licenses/Certifications:

    • Board Certified in Taxation, Texas Board of Legal Specialization

    Bar/Professional Activity:

    • Former President, Southwest Benefits Association
    • American Bar Association
    • Dallas Bar Association
    • Member, Executive Compensation Subcommittee of the Tax Section of the American Bar Association;  Former President, Southwest Benefits Association; Member, National Association of Stock Plan Professionals
    • State Bar of Texas

    Pro bono/Community Service:

    • Former Board Member, The Senior Source, Dallas, Texas
    • Former Board Member, Dallas Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation
    •  Former member, Board of Directors of the Dallas Women's Foundation
    • Member, Compensation Committee of Susan G. Komen for the Cure; Former Board Member, Susan G. Komen for the Cure; Former Vice President of the Board of Directors, Dallas Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure; Former Board Member, Dallas Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation; Former Board Member, The Senior Source, Dallas, Texas

    Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

    • "Fundamentals of Executive Compensation," Lorman Education Services (2017); "Responding to IRS and DOL Inquiries," Plan Administration 101 Seminar (IPS Advisors, Inc.) (2017).  "Coping with the New Deferred Compensation Rules," Dallas Chapter of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (2008). "What Every Labor and Employment Attorney Should Know about the New Deferred Compensation Rules," Dallas Bar Association Labor and Employment Section (2007). "Best Practices in Coping with the New Deferred Compensation Rules," Southwest Benefits Association Annual Meeting (2007). "IRS Audits of Executive Compensation and Section 409A," WEB Dallas Chapter (February 2005). "Section 83(b) Elections: The What, the When and the Why (or Why Not)," National Association of Stock Plan Professionals (May 2002). "Designing a Customized Stock Incentive Plan," National Association of Stock Plan Professionals Annual Conference (October 2001). "Negotiating Your Employment Agreement/Stock Options in the New Economy," Southwest Technology Conference, Women in Technology International (March 2000). "Executive Employment Agreements/Change of Control Provisions," Dallas Bar Association Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Section (April 2000)., Panelist, Fundamentals of Executive Compensation, 2017


    • Provide independent counsel to compensation committees and boards of directors of public and private companies and non-profit organizations, designing executive compensation plans.  Represent executive management team in securing their change of control compensation incident to an acquisition of their public company employer, and advising them regarding golden parachute excise tax liabilities. Design and draft business succession plans for Entrepreneur-founded businesses, creating equity participation by key employees and liquidity for the founders. Negotiate participation by management in the reorganization of a publicly traded telecommunications company under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. Obtain creditor and board approval of management's employment agreements and incentive compensation plans, including awards of restricted stock. Represent a subsidiary company in a spin-off transaction, including design of executive compensation and benefit programs and obtaining stockholder approval of equity compensation programs as a newly public NYSE company. Design, develop and prepare an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) for a mechanical contracting firm and its employee/owners. Transition the company's ownership from over 500 employee/owners to a 100% ESOP-owned firm, and oversee the complex tax and corporate planning necessary to elect S corporation tax treatment. Negotiate employee benefit plan matters in mergers and acquisitions involving publicly traded and private companies, including handling of outstanding equity compensation programs, SERPs, COBRA liabilities and "golden parachute" provisions applicable to executive compensation upon a change of control. Design, develop and prepare all types of executive agreements, such as change of control employment agreements, split-dollar life insurance programs, and non-qualified deferred compensation plans for the executives of publicly traded and privately held companies.


    • This Client Alert describes a recent IRS ruling (reversing its previous rulings) restricting the deductibility of executive performance-based compensation under Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code., IRS Ruling on Deductibility of Executive Compensation
    • This Client Alert lists "best practices" for Compensation Committees in establishing executive compensation programs., Executive Compensation -Best Practices
    • Client Alert: Stimulus Law Adds New COBRA Requirements for Employers, February 24, 2009. Client Alert: Year-End Deadline For Section 403(b) Plans Approaches, June 5, 2008. Client Alert: IRS Ruling Puts Deductibility Of Performance-Based Compensation in Qu
    • This Client Alert describes the impact of the increased FICA taxes (imposed beginning in 2013) upon retirement plan savings and distributions., Increased FICA Taxes Under the Health Reform Law

    Educational Background:

    • B.A., English, Oklahoma State University, 1974
    • J.D. (with Honors), University of Oklahoma, 1977., 1977
    • LL.M. in Taxation, Southern Methodist University (1985)
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    Office Location for Linda A. Wilkins

    13155 Noel Rd
    Suite 900
    Dallas, TX 75240

    Phone: 972-638-8390

    Fax: 214-453-0999

    Linda A. Wilkins:

    Last Updated: 3/13/2020

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