Within the employment, labor and benefits group, our Firm carries on an extremely active employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) practice in addition to work on all other types of qualified plans (e.g., 401(k)). The Firm generally handles several different ESOP transactions with issues ranging from initial pre-feasibility studies to the myriad sophisticated issues arising under a leveraged ESOP transaction including: federal income tax issues, ERISA, federal and state securities law, state corporate law, Department of Labor considerations, fiduciary issues and the like. Currently we are working more often with companies that sponsor "mature" ESOPs. Management transition, dealing with repurchase obligations and corporate governance are just some of the issues facing mature ESOPs.
We represent a variety of ESOP companies, both publicly and privately held, that sponsor both leveraged and non-leveraged ESOPs as well as "KSOPs." Our ESOP practice includes companies representing different lines of business, including insurance agencies, banks, manufacturing companies, retail business, engineering companies, and the like. Over the past several years the firm has been involved in literally dozens of ESOP projects and transactions and currently has ESOP clients in several different states throughout the continental U.S.
Our Firm is a member of The National ESOP Association and the National Center for Employee Stock Ownership. Our Firm was instrumental in establishing the Michigan Chapter of the ESOP Association. Stephen Lowney, who heads up our ESOP practice has spoken and written on specific ESOP topics at both the state and national level since 1990.
Publications & Alerts
- Don’t Wait to Begin Business Succession Planning, MiBiz, September 15, 2020
- Succession Planning: Is an ESOP Right for You?, Greater Lansing Business Monthly, April 2014
- ESOP Companies Must Vigilantly Review ESOP Repurchase Obligation, Foster Swift Employment, Labor & Benefits Quarterly, Winter 2011
- Beneficiary Designations Under Qualified Plans, Foster Swift Employment, Labor & Benefits Quarterly, Spring 2011
- Important Developments for ESOP Fiduciaries, Foster Swift Employment, Labor & Benefits Quarterly, Spring 2010
- "S" Corporations + ESOP: A Powerful Tax Advantaged Exit Strategy, Foster Swift Employment, Labor & Benefits Quarterly, July 2009
- ESOPS: A Trending Business Succession Strategy, MICPA Learning Showcase, June 15, 2021
- Hiring, Investigating and Discipline/Discharge in the Law, Foster Swift: Developing Labor Law Update, February 7, 2018
- Second Stage ESOP Transactions, The National Center for Employee Ownership, May 26, 2015
- Working with Your Third Party Administrator to Avoid Common Administrative Errors, Michigan Chapter of the The ESOP Association, March 30, 2015
- An Introduction to ESOPs, WEBINAR: The National Center for Employee Ownership, December 2, 2014
- Second-Stage ESOP Transactions, National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), March 25, 2014
- ESOP Sustainability for CEOs and CFOs, ESOP Association - Michigan Chapter Meeting, October 22, 2013
- Johnson Presents on ESOPS as a Succession Strategy, September 22, 2020
- Johnson Selected to “Women in the Law” Class of 2018, Grand Rapids Business Journal, August 2, 2018
- 44 Foster Swift Attorneys Named to 2016 Best Lawyers in America® Roster, August 21, 2015