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Joel C. Farrar

313 South Washington Square
Lansing, MI 48933-2114
T 517.371.8305
F 517.371.8200


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, former Secretary and Co-Vice President of the firm's Executive Committee, and former leader for 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

Legal 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
Community Involvement:
  • Mid-Michigan Travel Coalition (2018-present)
  • The Arts Council of Greater Lansing, Board of Directors (2010-2012)


Representative Matters

  • 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.



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News & Events

Speaking Engagements




Foster Swift Deal Team Intro
Foster Swift Deal Team Intro
Key Considerations When Selling a Business
Key Considerations When Selling a Business
Key Considerations When Buying a Business
Key Considerations When Buying a Business

Small Business Resources

Forming a Business Entity
Forming a Business Entity