Joel Farrar is a business lawyer with specialties in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), start-up law, and executive compensation planning. He is a shareholder with Foster Swift, current Secretary and Lansing office Co-Vice President of the firm's Executive Committee and former co-leader the firm’s Business and Tax Practice Group. In every engagement, Joel seeks to understand his client's business objectives so that he can design solutions to legal challenges that stand in the way of growth.
Joel particularly enjoys helping entrepreneurs with start-up businesses and fundraising. He assists start-ups with raising capital through private placements of securities; attracting talent using stock options, restricted stock and other incentive plans; developing relationships with vendors, customers, and partners; and addressing the many other challenges before them.
Joel also works with established businesses of all sizes on the issues they face every day. He regularly assists businesses with corporate governance, contract negotiation, dispute resolution, regulatory compliance, and tax and succession planning. Joel has also helped numerous clients buy and sell their businesses, and is skilled at preparing businesses for sale, negotiating letters of intent, performing due diligence, preparing purchase documents, and closing the deal.
Through his work with executive teams, Joel has developed particular expertise in the area of executive compensation and nonqualified deferred compensation plans. Joel helps clients design compensation programs that align executives’ incentives with the company’s goals, including stock option plans, restricted stock plans, phantom stock plans, stock appreciation rights (SAR) plans, elective deferral and excess benefit plans, split dollar insurance, retiree medical plans, and bonus programs.
Joel received his juris doctorate from Michigan State University College of Law summa cum laude and is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the Ingham County Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.
Memberships & Affiliations
- State Bar of Michigan
- Ingham County Bar Association
Industry & Professional Associations:
- Entrepreneur Institute of Mid-Michigan, Board of Directors
- Volunteer of the Year, 2015
- Mid-Michigan Travel Coalition (2018-present)
- The Arts Council of Greater Lansing, Board of Directors (2010-2012)
- Business Planning and Operation: Business entity selection and formation, closely-held and family businesses, corporate governance, executive compensation, employment law, regulatory compliance, E-commerce, commercial transactions, information technology, international business transactions, joint ventures, business succession planning, dissolution and winding up.
- Securities, Corporate Governance, Private and Public Finance: Private equity and venture capital transactions, securities reporting and compliance, investment adviser and broker-dealer regulation, tax credit financing, government and nonprofit governmental purpose and private activity bond financing, public-private partnerships.
- Mergers & Acquisitions: Private and public mergers, stock transactions, asset purchases, joint ventures, tender offers, proxy contests and divisional transactions, employee benefits in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.
- Employee Benefits: Executive compensation planning and agreements, for-profit and non-profit executive deferred compensation arrangements and plan funding, qualified benefit plan and trust design and administration, welfare benefit arrangements, fiduciary and regulatory compliance and reporting, IRS and DOL audits and appeals, plan mergers, spin-offs and transfers, plan termination.
- Tax and Estate Planning: Domestic and international corporate tax, partnership/LLC tax, tax exempt and charitable organizations, state and local tax, tax credit financing and transactions, tax examinations and litigation, estate and gift tax and planning, lifetime gifting, wills, trusts and family LLCs.
Recent Blog Posts
BizTech Law Blog
Tax Law Blog
- Tax Consequences of Divorce: Major Changes Effective in 2019
- Time to Review Your Deferred Compensation Agreements – IRS Issues Proposed Regulations on Section 409A
- New Michigan Legislation Repeals the Flow-Through Entity Withholding Requirement
- Motivating Your Employees
- Notice of New Sales and Use Tax Requirements for Out-Of-State Sellers
- Michigan Passes New “Amazon Tax” Law Requiring Internet Sales Tax Collection
- Michigan Treasury Highlights Individual Income Tax Developments for 2014
- IRS Auditing Deferred Compensation Plans for Section 409A Compliance
- Avoid Potential Tax Penalties on Foreign Bank Accounts and Investments
- In Crisis Lies Opportunity: Growth Through M&A During COVID-19, MiBiz, October 26, 2020
- Don’t Wait to Begin Business Succession Planning, MiBiz, September 15, 2020
- Protect Yourself from the Risks of a Sole Proprietorship, Foster Swift Business & Corporate Law News, February 29, 2016
- Scam Alert for Michigan Businesses!, Foster Swift Business & Corporate Law Report, August 5, 2013
- UCC Article 9 Revised Effective as of July 1, Foster Swift Business & Corporate Law Report, July 23, 2013
- Protect your Business from Check Fraud, Foster Swift Business & Corporate Law Report, May 2013
News & Events
- Equity Agreements ‐ Dividing the Pie: It’s the Size of the Pie not the Slice, Conquer Accelerator East Lansing Virtual Seminar, June 24, 2021
- Business Life Cycle from Legal Perspective, NALA, July 27-29, 2011
- Foster Swift Elects Officers for 2023, Ingham County Legal News, February 15, 2023
- Foster Swift Elects EC Members for 2022, February 21, 2022
- Firm Elects EC Members and Practice Leaders in 2021, February 17, 2021
- Joel Farrar Named Co-Leader of the Foster Swift Business & Corporate Practice Group, February 24, 2016
- Entrepreneur Institute of Mid-Michigan names Attorney Joel C. Farrar "Volunteer of the Year", June 11, 2015
- Foster Swift Elects Behler, Farrar and Richardson as Shareholders, January 21, 2014
- Business & Tax
- Business Contracts
- Business Law
- Cannabis Law
- Cybersecurity and Data Privacy
- Deal Team - Mergers & Acquisitions
- Employee Benefits
- Estate Planning
- Executive Compensation
- Federal Taxation
- General Counsel
- International Taxation
- Michigan Tax
- Non-Profit Corporate Law
- Property Tax
- Securities Law
- Small Business
- Startup Entrepreneurial Emerging Development (S.E.E.D)
- State and Federal Audits and Tax Disputes
- Tax Exempt Organizations
- Tax Law
Michigan State University College of Law, J.D., 2007, summa cum laude
Ohio University, B.S., 2003
Bar and Court Admissions