M'Alyssa Mecenas is a senior associate in the Tax practice of Paul Hastings and is based in the firm's Los Angeles office.
As an attorney in the firm's Global Compensation, Benefits, and ERISA practice, Ms. Mecenas advises clients in the design, implementation, amendment, operation, and termination of various retirement, health, incentive, and welfare plans. In addition, she guides clients in designing voluntary and involuntary separation programs, restructuring workforces, and planning reductions in force in compliance with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the WARN Act, and similar state laws.
She litigates both single-plaintiff and class action cases under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and has prepared successful dispositive motions before federal courts. In her transactional benefits practice, she counsels buyers and sellers in the employee benefits, executive compensation, labor, and employment aspects of international and domestic transactions, which have been valued from about $60 million to $8 billion. Each year from 2013-2020, Ms. Mecenas has been named a Super Lawyers Rising Star in Employee Benefits and has been listed in Los Angeles Magazine as a top young attorney in Southern California. The Daily Journal recognized her as a top dealmaker in 2016 as a member of multiple Paul Hastings deal teams. She was selected as an Academy Fellow of the National Employment Law Council in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Ms. Mecenas is a member of the State Bar of California. She is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Central District Court of California, the Northern District Court of California, and the Southern District Court of California.
Ms. Mecenas graduated from Berkeley Law School (U.C. Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law) in 2010, where she served as Articles Editor for the California Law Review, Executive Editor for the Berkeley Business Law Journal, and Treasurer for the Filipino American Law Society. She received the Advocacy Award and competed in the McBaine Honors Moot Court Competition.
She received her B.A. in English in 2007 from the University of Southern California, cum laude, with department honors. She was a National Merit Scholar and USC Presidential Scholar, and received the Virginia C. Middleton Creative Writing Prize for best short fiction.
From HIV/AIDS to COVID-19: Lessons Forged in a Pandemic, Paul Hastings Pride Month Panel (2020)
Mock ERISA Mediation Session: Getting Results for Your Client, American Bar Association, 11th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference (2017)
Beyond the War on Restrooms: The Workplace in Transition, Out & Equal Workplace Summit (2016)
Careers in Employee Benefits Law, American Bar Association (2015, 2016, 2017)
Attracting and Retaining LGBT Talent, Groupon, Inc. and Equality Illinois (2015)
Contributing Author, Employee Benefits Law (Fourth Edition and Cumulative Supplements to the Third Edition) (annual updates to the leading treatise on employee benefits law from 2013-2018)
Co-Author, "9th Circuit Says It's Too Late to Quibble in Tibble ERISA Case," Daily Journal (2016)
Co-Author, "Health Care Reform Reporting Is Coming: Is Your Company Prepared?" Employee Benefit Plan Review (2016)
Contributing Author, "Employee Benefits Issues," Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation in the Workplace: A Practical Guide (BNA 2014)
Co-Author, "Supreme Court Declares That Plan Terms Trump Equity," Employee Benefit Plan Review (2013)
Co-Author, "Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification ("WARN"): Mass Layoffs, Plant Closings, Relocations, and Terminations," California Business Law Deskbook (2012 and 2013 Eds.)
Board of Directors, APLA Health, 2020-present
Board of Governors, University of Southern California (2016-2017 Planning Committee Member, 2016 USC Alumni Leadership Conference; Host Committee Member, 2016 USC Women's Conference)
Board of Directors, USC Lambda LGBT Alumni Association, 2014-2017 (President, 2016-2017; Director, 2014-2016); awarded the University of Southern California Widney Alumni House Volunteer Award for her leadership of the USC Lambda LGBT Alumni Association.
Employee Benefits Committee, American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law, 2011-present
California Minority Counsel Program, 2012-present
National Employment Law Council, 2014-present (NELC Academy Committee, 2019-2020)
Samsung Electronics in its $8.0 billion all-cash acquisition of Harman International Industries, Inc., Samsung's largest-ever acquisition and the largest Korean outbound M&A transaction on record
Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. in its $7.1 billion acquisition of Smithfield Foods, Inc.
Brocade Communications Systems in its $1.5 billion exchange offer for Ruckus Wireless
Ardea Biosciences in its acquisition by Astra Zeneca plc in a cash merger valued at $1.3 billion
Colony Capital in its $1.2 billion investment in Vantage Data Centers, a leading global provider of hyperscale data center campuses
General Electric in its $1.05 billion all-cash sale of the company's revenue-cycle, ambulatory care and workforce management software unit to private equity firm Veritas Capital
Viacom in its $340 million acquisition of Pluto TV
Walmart in its sale of Vudu, an on-demand streaming service, to Fandango
Vector Capital Management, the private equity backer of Saba Software, in connection with Saba Software's $223 million acquisition of Halogen Software
Confluence Solar, Inc. in its $60 million cash acquisition by GT Advanced Technologies, Inc.
Workforce restructuring and reductions in force advice for clients in the medical, entertainment, hospitality, automobile, aerospace, energy, and financial industries
ERISA litigation victories in:
Dwyer v. AT&T Pension Benefit Plan-Nonbargained Program (N.D. Cal. 2011) (successful motion to dismiss participant's claim for additional benefits)
Barnes v. AT&T Pension Benefit Plan-Nonbargained Program (N.D. Cal. 2012) (summary judgment granted in plan's favor with respect to participant's substantive claims for additional benefits), affirmedbyBarnes v. AT&T Pension Benefit Plan-Nonbargained Program (9th Cir. 2015)
Koblentz v. UPS Flexible Employee Benefit Plan (S.D. Cal. 2013) (won motion to dismiss plan participant's claim for benefits)
As counsel for a multiemployer plan, obtained dismissal of a provider's claim for plan benefits in 2014 and won summary judgment in the plan's favor in 2016 on another provider's claim for over $3.3 million in alleged plan benefits