On various occasions on this blog I have tried to turn away from its understandable focus on legal issues and onto the real world consequences of the legal rulings that govern ERISA plans. In particular, I have a particular interest, because of the manner in which it impacts my clients, on what practices companies should follow to best protect themselves from potential exposure in the current – and in the ERISA world these days, ever changing – legal environment.

As a result, I took particular interest in this piece out of Legal Times today by an experienced accountant and employee benefit plan auditor on the practical auditing steps that should be taken to ensure proper operation of a 401(k) plan and to limit potential liability in the operation of such a plan. The author’s hook into this topic? The Supreme Court’s decision in LaRue, and the manner in which the opening of liability, at least in theory, by the case is best met by that hoary chestnut, best practices. More than that, though, the author details exactly what, on an operations level, should be part of those best practices.