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At Calfee, our attorneys recognize that every client, opportunity and problem is unique. That’s why our attorneys utilize their extensive experience to counsel clients on ESOP.

An employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) can be an attractive strategy for business owners that benefits the corporation, shareholders and employees. At Calfee, we use an interdisciplinary approach to provide our clients with seamless representation across all aspects of an ESOP transaction, i.e., ERISA, mergers and acquisitions, tax, commercial financing, estate planning and board counseling.

We know that understanding your business, and its competitive environment, is as important to a successful transaction as knowing the law, and our team keeps you, your business, and your objectives at the forefront when counseling clients on creating an ESOP and its ongoing operation. Through our experience and commitment to your business, we are also able to help you determine if an ESOP is best for you.

In addition to extensive experience with tax-qualified retirement and employee welfare benefit plans, we work with ESOP trustees, fiduciaries, sponsors and lenders on ESOPs and the use of ESOPs as tools of business planning and succession.


Chambers USA 

  • For more than a decade, Calfee has been ranked for Corporate/M&A - Ohio: North by Chambers USA; most recently, Calfee was ranked in Band 2 in 2021.
  • Calfee's Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation group is consistently recognized by Chambers USA. Most recently, Calfee was ranked in 2021 in Band 2 for Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation.

U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” Rankings

Calfee was selected for inclusion in the 2021 "Best Law Firms" rankings by U.S. News – Best Lawyers in the following areas:

  • Commercial Finance Law (Metropolitan Tier 3 Columbus)
  • Corporate Compliance Law (Metropolitan Tier 2 Cleveland)
  • Corporate Governance Law (Metropolitan Tier 2 Cleveland)
  • Corporate Law (National Tier 2, Metropolitan Tier 1 Cleveland, Metropolitan Tier 1 Columbus, Metropolitan Tier 2 Cincinnati)
  • Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (National Tier 3, Metropolitan Tier 1 Cleveland)
  • Litigation - ERISA (National Tier 2, Metropolitan Tier 1 Cleveland) and Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (National Tier 3, Metropolitan Tier 1 Cleveland).
  • Tax Law (Metropolitan Tier 1 Cleveland)




  • A team consisting of attorneys from Calfee's Corporate and Finance, Employee Benefits, Tax, Labor and Employment, and Capital Markets and Public Reporting practice groups represented a client in the financial industry in forming a 100% S corporation ESOP, in a complex transaction involving the redemption of 100% of the outstanding equity, the sale of shares to the ESOP and the subsequent issuance of purchase warrants.
  • Using a team of Corporate and Finance, Employee Benefits, and Tax lawyers, Calfee represented a client in the software industry in converting an LLC into a corporation and forming a 100% S corporation ESOP in a transaction utilizing interest rate replacement warrants.
  • Calfee’s Corporate and Finance lawyers represented a commercial lender funding a first priority secured loan used to fund the creation of an ESOP.



Calfee's provides the following ESOP services to clients:

  • Alternative equity transfer techniques
  • Analysis of stock redemption issues
  • Assistance in obtaining appraisals and financing
  • Corporate governance and equity issues
  • S corporation ESOPs
  • Entity and transaction structuring
  • ESOP feasibility studies
  • Executive benefits structuring and modeling
  • M&A due diligence
  • Succession planning and executive compensation studies
  • Tax structuring and planning/preparation
  • Counseling lenders in ESOP transactions

News & Events


Calfee's Corporate and Finance practice "draws from an impressive statewide team with a strong track record across a broad range of corporate and transactional matters. Areas of excellence include M&A, securities offerings and private equity and venture capital fund formation. They also offer notable capital markets expertise, with particular strengths in acting for underwriters."

Researcher comments from the Chambers USA 2021 Guide

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