Executive Compensation Corporate Law, Labor & Employment Law, Tax Law

Gunster’s goal is to deliver innovative and tailored executive compensation plans and agreements that both attract and retain talent. Our attorneys are dedicated to consistently demonstrating the requisite know-how, perspective and technical understanding required to design and execute any type of executive compensation or consulting plan or agreement. Our attorneys strive to provide strategic planning and negotiation skills, as well as a diplomatic approach to problem-solving. Our determination is manifest in the creation of plans or contracts that often strengthen the overall employer/employee relationship.

Our attorneys seek to understand executive compensation from every position of the negotiating table. Our practice in this area is international in scope, and our clients include foreign and domestic senior executives, emerging companies, family-owned businesses, publicly-traded corporations, financial institutions and tax-exempt organizations, as well as the boards and committees of these types of organizations. Our team also serves as ERISA counsel to plan fiduciaries, including registered investment advisors. Regardless of the client or matter at hand, Gunster is committed to providing the experience and creativity necessary to advise employers and employees on compensation arrangements that are appropriate, comprehensive and practical.

Gunster’s objective is to cultivate an outstanding reputation for advising chairmen, presidents and CEOs of both publicly and privately held businesses on their contract negotiations, employment agreements, equity grants, bonus plans, change-in-control provisions and restrictive covenants. Our Executive Compensation attorneys seek to work productively with general counsel, compensation committees, boards of directors and private equity firms to craft mutually beneficial compensation plans and agreements. Our team also works in conjunction with outside compensation consultants and accounting experts, as well as interfaces with regulatory agencies such as the SEC, IRS and DOL as needed.

Gunster structures, negotiates and implements compensation plans that are designed to advance our clients’ interests and goals. Our mission is to create compensation plans that focus on providing appropriate tax benefits, minimizing the risk of potential disputes, as well as specifying all of the rights and obligations of the employer/employee relationship. In addition, where public companies are involved, our attorneys help clients to obtain the necessary shareholder approval of plans and increasingly important “say on pay” votes. Our experience includes:

  • Employment contracts of all types and related confidentiality, non-compete, non-solicitation, non-disparagement and privacy agreements, as well as change-of-control, termination and severance arrangements
  • Stock incentive, bonus and performance based compensation plans, including incentive and non-qualifying stock options, stock appreciation rights and restricted stock grants
  • Employee stock purchase plans and agreements, excess benefit plans, defined contribution and defined benefit plans, and supplemental executive retirement plans (SERPs)
  • SEC executive compensation disclosures, public company shareholder approval and “say on pay” disclosures

Gunster is also committed to resolving all types of compensation related challenges associated with mergers and acquisitions, private equity investments and exit strategies, recapitalizations, spinoffs, workouts and bankruptcies, initial public offerings, joint ventures and strategic alliances. Our attorneys strive to be at the forefront of changes in applicable statutes and regulations, accounting rules and SEC reporting responsibilities so that compensation arrangements remain current and viable. Our regular monitoring of the evolution of executive compensation related matters and changes in the law help our attorneys to remain focused on staying ahead of the curve when advising clients to ensure compliance with executive compensation disclosure requirements, Section 409A and Section 280G issues.

In the event a dispute should arise, Gunster litigators endeavor to serve as dedicated advocates to firm clients. Our dispute resolution experience ranges from breach of contract claims to informal and court litigated equity compensation disputes, as well as claims for breach of non-competition, non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements.

Gunster’s Executive Compensation attorneys aim to actively listen to clients in order to develop custom arrangements that meet their specific needs and requirements. Our attorneys strive to preserve flexibility and minimize risk. Executive compensation is not just a salary issue, but rather an important business decision. Our firm’s philosophy is to consistently deliver practical advice when and where it is needed, as well as to navigate clients beyond complicated tax, labor and securities related obstacles associated with reaching the right balance.


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