Benjamin Panter
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Benjamin D. Panter

Member; Chair, Executive Compensation and Governance

EMAIL bpanter@mcdonaldhopkins.com

PHONE 312.642.4087

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"As one of the country’s top executive compensation attorneys, I have designed and implemented dozens of executive compensation programs for companies across the private equity, venture capital and publicly traded sectors. I also have an active practice representing individual executives and management teams in connection with their employment and compensation arrangements, having negotiated hundreds of executive compensation employment, separation and sale transactions. I am a business-minded, practical attorney who understands the importance of balancing legal protections with closing a deal."

Ben is the Chair of the Executive Compensation and Governance Practice Group and advises clients across a broad spectrum of industries on executive compensation and employment law issues that arise from public and private M&A and private equity transactions, restructurings, debt and equity financings, and IPOs. He has an active practice representing compensation committees, companies, and senior executives in the negotiation and structuring of executive employment and severance agreements. He frequently represents management teams in private equity deals and other M&A transactions.

Ben also provides ongoing counsel to public and private companies, compensation committees, and executives with respect to day-to-day executive compensation and employment law matters, including corporate governance and best practices, executive compensation plan design, employment, severance and change in control agreements, restrictive covenant enforcement, and equity incentive compensation arrangements, as well as advising on related regulatory, securities, tax, and public disclosures, including IRC Sections 409A, 280G, and 162(m), Item 402, and Dodd-Frank.

Ben is an adjunct professor teaching executive compensation law at a Chicago area law school, and was formerly a partner in the Executive Compensation Practice Group at Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

In 2019, Ben and fellow McDonald Hopkins attorney Jordan Koss authored the sixth chapter of the 2019 Employment Law Update edited by Henry H. Perritt Jr., "Founders: Employees or Owners."


Admissions - State

  • Illinois
  • New York


  • New York University School of Law
  • Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • Miami University

Honors and Awards

  • Selected for inclusion in Illinois Rising Stars (2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016) and New York Rising Stars (2011-2013)
  • Law Bulletin Publishing Company's Emerging Lawyer: Employee Benefits Law
  • Chicago-Kent Law Review
  • Bar and Gavel Society

Speaking Engagements

  • "Structuring Management Incentive Equity Arrangements in Private Equity Acquisitions," Strafford Webinars, 2018 
  • "Founder Considerations for Start-ups," workshop, December 16, 2015
  • "Executive Employment Agreements and Change in Control Arrangements," Strafford Webinars, October 13, 2015
  • "Employee Severance Agreements and Section 409A Deferred Compensation: Withstanding Heightened IRS Scrutiny," Strafford webinar, July 23, 2015