I have 35 years of employee benefits/ERISA planning experience on a broad range of questions and types of plans for a diverse client group. Clients include private companies, tax-exempt organizations, churches and governmental entities. 

I provide advice and guidance on:


  • corrections (self-correct and Voluntary Correction Program)
  • 401(k), 403(b), 457(b), 457(f), and SEPs document drafting, design and amendment
  • compensation limits
  • excess contributions
  • eligibility
  • nondiscrimination
  • controlled groups
  • anti-cutback
  • assignments
  • distributions
  • benefit claims
  • retiree medical
  • domestic relations orders
  • policies and contract review
  • mergers and acquisitions
  • defense of Affordable Care Act proposed penalties
  • I help clients build plans for:
  • nonqualified deferred compensation (top-hat elective deferral and SERPs)
  • nonstatutory stock options
  • bonuses
  • health, life, and dental insurance
  • cafeteria plans – employees choose their health and welfare benefits
  • wraps – combine several plans for single plan ERISA compliance and reporting
  • health reimbursement arrangements
  • paid time off
  • severance plans

I help clients build plans for:


  • nonqualified deferred compensation (top-hat elective deferral and SERPs)
  • nonstatutory stock options
  • bonuses
  • health, life, and dental insurance
  • cafeteria plans – employees choose their health and welfare benefits
  • wraps – combine several plans for single plan ERISA compliance and reporting
  • health reimbursement arrangements
  • paid time off
  • severance plans


  • Hurley, Toevs, Styles, Hamblin & Panter, P.A. (1997-Present), Founder, Director and Shareholder
  • Keleher & McLeod, P.A. (1994-1997), Director and Shareholder
  • Keleher & McLeod, P.A. (1992-1994), Associate
  • University of New Mexico School of Law (1994), Adjunct Professor, “Introduction to ERISA”
  • Proskauer Rose Goetz & Mendelsohn (1987-1991), Associate – New York, N.Y., now Proskauer Rose LLP
  • Finley, Kumble, Wagner, Heine, Underberg, Manley, Myerson & Casey (1985-1987), Associate – New York, N.Y., dissolved


  • Employee Benefits and ERISA


  • 1985, New York
  • 1992, New Mexico
  • United States District Court for the District of New Mexico
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

Law Schools Attended

  • Georgetown University Law Center, LL. M. Labor Law 1985
  • University of Richmond, T.C. Williams School of Law, J.D. 1984

University Attended

  • Cornell University, College of Arts and Sciences, B.A. 1981, American History

Associations & Memberships

  • Pacific Area Member, National TE/GE Council IRS/Employee Plans Practitioner Group, 2004-present

Recent Seminars

  • ERISA, ACA, WARN, COBRA and More, National Business Institute Employment Law Update, June 2019. An overview of ERISA, including the types of plans covered, exempt plans and payroll practices, the levels of ERISA Title I coverage for different types of plans, preemption of state laws, interference with protected ERISA rights, determining ACA large employer status, Danielle’s golden rules for employers sponsoring ERISA plans and SECURE Act proposed legislation (enacted December 20, 2019).
  • What Advisors Need to Know about Retirement Plans, Annual Estate Planning Update, May 2019. How a lawyer or financial advisor can help an employer choose the correct employee benefit plan type, differences between the employee
    benefit plan types, what requirements ERISA imposes, how some types of plans are excepted from all or parts of ERISA, and current designated beneficiary case law.
  • Community Property and Controlled Groups, National Meeting of the TE/GE IRS Employee Plans Practitioner Group, February 2019. When spouses both own businesses in a community property state, their businesses can be considered as
    a single employer under employee benefits and ERISA law (a controlled group). Why employers need to be aware of this pitfall and what to do about it.
  • ERISA Basics and Affordable Care Act Current Developments, June 2017. An overview of ERISA, including the types of plans covered, exempt plans and payroll practices, the levels of ERISA Title I coverage for different types of plans, preemption of state laws, interference with protected ERISA rights, determining ACA large employer status Danielle’s golden rules for employers sponsoring ERISA plans.


  • Best Lawyers, Employee Benefits (ERISA) 2009-Present
  • 2024 and 2020 Lawyer of the Year – Employee Benefits (ERISA)
  • Chambers USA Tier #1


  • D. Panter, “Assessing the Family Leave Act,” New Mexico Business Weekly, March 27, 1995. Also published in New Mexico Builder, New Mexico Labor Letter
  • D. Panter, “I Need to Do What in Two Business Days?” New Mexico Business Weekly, February 20, 1995. Also published in New Mexico Builder, New Mexico Labor Letter
  • D. Panter, “Pros & Cons of Single-Payer,” 4 Prime Time – No. 4, p. C, April 1999).
  • D. Panter, “Overhaul Would Change Firms’ Benefits Administration [description of how Clinton’s Proposed Health Security Act would effect employers’ employee benefit plans],”New Mexico Business News, March 9, 1994.
  • D. Panter and T. Toevs, “New Mexico Insurance Department Issues Regulation Designed to Expose MEWAs,” 31 N.M. Bar Bulletin 12 (1992).
  • W. Kandel and D. Panter, “Current Developments in EEO: Jury Trials Under State EEO Laws,” 12 Empl. Rel. L. J. 127-139, (Summer 1986).
  • D. Panter, “The Changes Accomplished By The Labor Racketeering Amendments of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984,” 36 Lab. L.J. 744-761, (October 1985).

  • Hurley, Toevs, Styles, Hamblin & Panter, P.A.


    4155 Montgomery Blvd NE,
    Albuquerque, New Mexico 87109