Michelle is an accomplished employee benefits and executive compensation lawyer with more than 25 years of experience advising clients on ERISA, benefits, and executive compensation matters, including in connection with corporate transactions. She also brings this knowledge and experience to counsel clients that are digitally transforming their business on the use of automation and artificial intelligence in the workplace and the related implications for employee benefits and compensation for their changing workforce. Michelle is called to represent Fortune 500 companies, multinational corporations, nonprofit entities, medium-sized businesses, and individual executives across a variety of industries, including financial services, health care, life sciences, technology, artificial intelligence, media, telecommunications, hospitality, and retail.
Drawing on her law firm, corporate in-house, and business experience, Michelle partners with clients' in-house attorneys, human resources professionals, and benefit plan service providers to develop practical solutions to technical issues that advance clients’ business goals. Clients value Michelle’s clear advice and dedication to working with their project teams. She is often approached to provide guidance on the design, administration, compliance, and termination of qualified plans (such as 401(k), profit-sharing, and pension plans); nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements (including top hat plans and SERPs); employee welfare benefit plans (including group health plans, cafeteria plans, wellness programs, and COBRA requirements); equity/incentive compensation programs (such as stock option, restricted stock, phantom stock, and executive bonus programs); severance plans, and other benefits programs. For corporate transactions, Michelle’s practice includes counseling clients on such issues as the treatment of equity awards, change-in-control and golden parachute issues, plan spin-offs and terminations, post-transaction benefits integration issues, severance, COBRA, multi-employer plan withdrawal liability, and PBGC issues. She also regularly reviews and negotiates her clients’ severance, vendor, trust, investment management, and service provider agreements, and advises clients on the design of plan participant communications.
Michelle serves as a trusted advisor to clients on compliance with ERISA, the Affordable Care Act, the Internal Revenue Code, the SECURE Act, the CARES Act, CAA 2021, ARPA, and other laws affecting employee benefit plans. She regularly counsels clients on fiduciary responsibilities under ERISA, including providing advice on plan governance, fiduciary training, and cybersecurity risks for employee benefit plans, and assists plan sponsors, trustees, and Investment and Administrative Committees with the development of best practices. Michelle also represents clients in matters before the Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service, and other government agencies, including in connection with the DOL Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program and the IRS Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System.