Considering an ESOP?
Or need proven, experienced counsel for an existing employee stock ownership plan?
You’ve cultivated your business, hired the right people and turned a profit. So what’s next? Successful business owners face a multitude of options when planning for the future. Selling to private equity strips business owners of involvement, legacy and control. Maintaining primary ownership with diminished involvement keeps owners’ liquid assets inaccessible and can actually harm legacy and operations.
An employee stock ownership plan, however, merges the benefits of selling with the benefits of ongoing involvement.
In scenarios where an ESOP is deemed a good fit, business owners retain equity and the level of participation they choose, enjoying increased liquidity and tax benefits while incentivizing their workforce as employee owners.
With over 30 years of ESOP experience, our professionals have the skills and expertise to assist owners in balancing their needs with those of the company and its employees to create successful and sustainable employee ownership outcomes. Through its affiliated law firm, Stevens & Lee, SES ESOP Strategies’ ESOP attorneys assist companies in the legal process of establishing and funding an ESOP, including preparing the transaction, financial and legal documents with an eye toward minimizing fiduciary risk. We also assist the selling shareholders in aligning their transaction objectives with their wealth preservation and estate planning needs.
Already an ESOP?
In addition to creating new ESOPs, SES ESOP Strategies provides ongoing ESOP guidance and counsel to established ESOPs of all sizes, and offers legal services to clients through its affiliated law firm, Stevens & Lee. Among the 200 largest law firms the U.S., Stevens & Lee provides a full range of transactional, tax and litigation services to established ESOPs.
Our ESOP attorneys work to ensure that our ESOP clients meet their ongoing compliance, governance and operational objectives and position themselves for strategic growth.
- Anticipate questions from the U.S. Department of Labor or Internal Revenue Service that arise from 5500 Annual Report filings, ensuring proper documentation and communication
- Advise clients on the most responsible and cost-effective corrective actions necessary to obtain a “no action” closing letter from the DOL or IRS and represent the client throughout the correction process
- Monitor changes to the law and provide ongoing updates as needed
- Work with clients to enhance value, predictability, trust, fairness, stability and quality of corporate life as a company faces routine governance issues
- Provide advice regarding the complex ERISA fiduciary duties of ESOP trustees
- Work with clients to design and implement plan terms tailored to meet company needs, objectives and legal guidelines
- As an ESOP grows and changes, provide advice and design amendments necessary to sustaining relevance, profitability and compliance
Mergers and Acquisitions
- Assist clients in optimizing built-in benefits to be positioned for sale or as preferred buyers
- Assist clients in choosing advisors, negotiating terms and conditions and documenting and implementing the transaction
- Structure and document the handling of unallocated shares
- Remediate document or operational issues
- Prepare and file a submission to the IRS
A Complete Range of Legal Services
- Corporate Assistance
- Mergers and Acquisitions
- Labor and Employment
- State and Local Tax
- Real Estate
- Intellectual Property
- Wealth Planning, Trusts and Estates