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ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Plans)

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.

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ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Plans): As a Succession Planning Tool