Jump to Navigation

Recent Wall Street reforms have scrutinized and exacted changes in the compensation plans companies provide for their executives.  Littler understands how these complex contracts for individuals or small groups can affect a business’s finances and operations – as well as its public image.

Our lawyers have many years of experience developing and reviewing executive compensation plans and programs. The keys to a successful plan are that it complies with applicable regulations while meeting a company’s business goals.  Executive compensation is a business decision, not just a salary issue.

Executive compensation is a complex area of law because it encompasses tax issues, non-qualified deferred compensation, stock option backdating and shareholder issues, among other contingencies. Littler’s focus on labor and employment issues gives clients added perspective because executive compensation includes much more than salary and benefits.  It is an executive recruiting and retention tool, which often contains retirement and golden parachute provisions that can impact an organization’s bottom line.  With our experience and extensive resources, we can provide employers with comprehensive, sophisticated and efficient services, minimizing time and costs while enhancing the relationship between executive and corporate performance.

As more executive compensation plans are designed to include pay for performance, our lawyers work closely with employers to ensure that performance goals are well-defined and attainable, both for the executive and to meet the organization’s objectives.

Our lawyers have experience in developing annual and long-term incentive plans and providing investor relations services to advise boards about SEC disclosure rules. Our experience in executive compensation has allowed us to develop best practices and a database of requisite forms and model plans.

  • Moving Targets
  • Timely Response


The Necessary Skills

Our lawyers have the combination of talents necessary to excel in this dynamic area.  We know how to deal with the many complex tax issues that are often critical in executive compensation matters, whether for public, private, non-profit or government entities.  We have the business savvy to review with corporate lawyers how executive compensation may directly affect the company overall.  We understand the economics of a contract so that we can help employers avoid unexpected costs or business risks.  Our practice is supported by veteran litigators in areas that affect executive compensation plans, reflecting Littler’s integrated form of practice.  With our nationwide geographic coverage, we can assist employers with executive compensation issues quickly and efficiently, regardless of where they arise.

Other services we provide include the following:

  • Preparing, reviewing and counseling on non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements, including advising on Section 409A
  • Auditing executive plans, including non-qualified deferred compensation, change in control, incentive bonus and supplemental retirement plans
  • Analyzing and reviewing shareholder disclosure documents
  • Counseling on alternatives for dealing with change of control issues and “golden parachutes”
  • Advising on public company compensation deduction limits and performance-based compensation
  • Establishing ways to attract and retain key management
  • Advising on equity based compensation
  • Working with government, tax-exempt and church employers in dealing with the particular statutory and regulatory provisions and tax rules that apply
  • Assisting employers with sensitive considerations surrounding departure of executives, including  critical issues of separation, severance and restrictive covenants

To complement our executive compensation lawyers, Littler has a robust employee benefits practice group as well as a team of benefits litigators, who represent employers in defending claims over benefits, fiduciary duty violations and other related issues.