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Michelle Capezza

Of Counsel

[email protected]

+1.212.692.6815

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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.

She has received national awards and recognition for her work in employee benefits and executive compensation, including from The Legal 500 United States, Who's Who in AmericaWho's Who in American Law, and Marquis Emerging Leaders. She has also been included on the New York Metro Super Lawyers, New York Metro Top Women, New York Metro Rising Stars, and New Jersey Rising Stars lists for her work in the area of employee benefits. In 2012, she received the Excellence in Achievement Award from Seton Hall University School of Law’s Peter W. Rodino, Jr. Society for her commitment to excellence and compassionate service in the field of law.

In addition to her practice, Michelle frequently speaks and writes articles on topics related to employee benefits and executive compensation, including health care and financial regulatory reform, fiduciary issues under ERISA, cybersecurity risks for employee benefit plans, and the outlook for employee benefits in the “future of work.” She has been a featured faculty speaker for continuing education programs offered by the New York City Bar Association, DC Bar Association, Strafford, Lawline, Clear Law Institute, and The Knowledge Congress. She has also published articles in and been interviewed for numerous publications such as The Employee Benefit Plan Review, The New York University Review of Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, Journal of Pension Benefits, Practical Law (Practice Notes), Lexis Nexis Practice Advisor, Law360, Benefits Law360, The BNA Health Insurance Report, The BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter, The BNA Health Law ReporterThe Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, Confero Magazine, TechNews, and Financier Worldwide. Michelle has also served as an adjunct faculty member of the Seton Hall University School of Law, where she taught a course in Corporate Transactional Skills.

Prior to joining Mintz, Michelle was a member of a national law firm in the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation and Health Care & Life Sciences practices. She has also practiced employee benefits law in the New York and New Jersey offices of several national and international law firms. In addition, Michelle has served in corporate in-house counsel roles with financial institutions, where she provided legal support to their retirement plan and equity award plan recordkeeping businesses. Michelle worked at a Wall Street brokerage company earlier in her career, assisting with retirement product development and obtaining her Series 7, Series 63, and other professional licenses required in the financial services industry. After law school, Michelle served as a judicial law clerk in the Civil Part of the Superior Court of New Jersey.

In law school, Michelle served as a member and assistant notes and comments editor of the Seton Hall Law Review and a co-captain of the Phillip C. Jessup International Moot Court Team. She also received several scholarships and interned with the civil court in Essex County, New Jersey and Seton Hall Law School’s Center for Social Justice.

Education

  • Seton Hall University (JD)
  • Rutgers University (BA, with high honors)

Recognition & Awards

  • Recognized by The Legal 500 United States (2013, 2014, 2016–2021)
  • Included on the New York Metro Super Lawyers list (2014–2020)
  • Selected for the New York Metro Top Women list (2014–2021)
  • Peter W. Rodino, Jr. Society, Seton Hall University School of Law, Excellence in Achievement Award (2012)
  • Included on the New York Metro Rising Stars list (2011)
  • Included on the New Jersey Rising Stars list (2009)
  • Phi Beta Kappa

Involvement

  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, American Health Lawyers Association
  • Vice President, Board of Trustees, The First American Inn of Transactional Counsel (American Inns of Court)
  • Member, The Global Leaders
  • Member, National Association of Professional Women
  • Member, National Association of Women Lawyers
  • Member and past Steering Committee Member, New Jersey Chapter of the Worldwide Employee Benefits Network
  • Member, past Advisory Board Member, and former NJTC Technology Ambassador, New Jersey Technology Council
  • Founding Member, The Womensphere Global Network
  • Member, Alumni Council, Seton Hall University School of Law

Languages

- French

Recent Insights

News & Press

Events

News & Press

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Mintz Of Counsel Michelle Capezza authored a Thomson Reuters Practical Law Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Practice Note discussing cybersecurity best practices for retirement plans to address fiduciaries responsibilities imposed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
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Mintz Of Counsel Michelle Capezza authored a Lexis Nexis Practical Guidance® Practice Note outlining common employee benefits and compensation issues that may arise in a corporate transaction. The article is designed to assist attorneys specializing in employee benefits and executive compensation, as well as other areas, in identifying risks and liabilities associated with the plans, programs, and arrangements in a transaction.
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Mintz Of Counsel Michelle Capezza authored an article published by Confero titled "Mitigating Cybersecurity Risks for Retirement Plans". 
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Mintz Of Counsel Michelle Capezza authored an article published by the Journal of Pension Benefits titled "To Escheat or Not to Escheat, Considerations When No One Responds".
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Mintz Of Counsel Michelle Capezza co-authored an article published by Pratt's Privacy & Cybersecurity Law Report titled "Data Breaches and HIPAA Enforcement Remain Widespread Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic". 
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Mintz Of Counsel Michelle Capezza authored an article published by the Journal of Pension Benefits titled "Cybersecurity Considerations for Plan Distribution Administration". 
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Mintz Of Counsel Michelle Capezza authored an article published by Confero titled "Designing Employee Benefits to Address Educational Debt". 
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Mintz Of Counsel Michelle Capezza authored an article published by the Journal of Pension Benefits titled "Administering Retirement Plans Through a Disaster". 
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Mintz Of Counsel Michelle Capezza authored an article published by the NYU Review of Employee Benefits titled "Recovering Retirements and Making Sense of Employer-Provided Retirement Benefits in a Changing World". 
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Mintz Of Counsel Michelle Capezza authored a Lexis Practice Advisor® Practice Note titled "Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Attorney’s Role in Corporate Transactions". 
Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail
Mintz Of Counsel Michelle Capezza co-authored a Thomson Reuters Practical Law Practice Note titled "Cybersecurity and ERISA Fiduciary Responsibilities for Retirement Plans".
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Mintz Of Counsel Michelle Capezza co-authored a Lexis Practice Advisor® article titled "Return-to-Work: Benefits Guidance in the Time of COVID-19". 
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Mintz Of Counsel Michelle Capezza authored an article published by Confero titled "Revisiting Retirement Plans after the Global Pandemic". 
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Mintz Of Counsel Michelle Capezza authored an article published by Confero titled "Conduct a Self-Audit to Avert ERISA Plan Fiduciary Liability". 
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Mintz Of Counsel Michelle Capezza authored an article published by Confero titled "Designing Employee Benefits to Address Educational Debt". 
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Mintz Of Counsel Michelle Capezza authored an article published by Law360 titled "Is Your Mental Health Parity Compliance Up To Par?". 
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Mintz Of Counsel Michelle Capezza authored an article published by Confero titled "Compensating Executives in the Digital Age". 
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Mintz Of Counsel Michelle Capezza authored an article published by Confero titled "Managing Employee Benefits in The Face of Technological Change". 
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Mintz Of Counsel Michelle Capezza was quoted in an article published by Confero titled "Improving Productivity and Reducing Employee Stress With Financial Wellness Programs". 

Events

Speaker
Jun
17
2021

Cybersecurity Risks and Best Practices for Retirement Plans: Employee Benefits Tax Series

Employee Benefits Committee of the D.C. Bar Taxation Community

Webinar

Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail
Speaker
Mar
4
2021

Challenges to the Future of Remote Work: Cybersecurity & Cloud Infrastructure

Banking and Financial Services Committee of the French American Chamber of Commerce New York

Webinar

Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail
Feb
20
2020

Is Your Plan Data Secure? Best Practices for 2020

Worldwide Employee Benefits Network (WEB)

New York, NY

Nov
14
2019
Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail
Speaker
Aug
14
2018

Gig Workers and ERISA: What You Need to Know Now

Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH)

Webinar

Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail
Speaker
Feb
27
2018

Workplace Benefits Renaissance 2018: Legislative Updates – Tax Reform, Health Reform, More

Employee Benefit Adviser's Workplace Benefits Renaissance

Atlantic City, NJ

Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail
Speaker
Feb
13
2018

2018 CompTIA DC Fly-In

The New Jersey Technology Council (NJTC) delegation

Washington, D.C.

Panelist
Jan
30
2018

NJTC: 2018 Technology Economic & Financial Outlook

New Jersey Tech Council (NJTC)

New York, NY

Speaker
Panelist
Mar
3
2016

Workplace Benefits Renaissance: Driving the Future of Workplace Benefits – Keynote Roundtable

Employee Benefit Adviser and Employee Benefit News

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa

Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail
Speaker
Speaker
Jul
15
2015

New Jersey Technology Council 2015 Annual Meeting

New Jersey Technology Council

Forsgate Country Club

Speaker
Feb
10
2015

TechAmerica DC Fly-In

New Jersey Tech Council

Washington, D.C.

Jan
29
2015
Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail
Speaker
Jul
17
2014

Attracting/Retaining Employees and Managing Workforce Risk in the 21st Century

New Jersey Technology Council 2014 Annual Meeting

Forsgate Country Club

Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail
Speaker
Jun
19
2014

Defined Benefit Legislative Concerns in Today’s Market

2014 Defined Benefit Summit

Goldman Sachs

Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail
Speaker
Feb
11
2014

NJTC Tech Trek to Washington, DC

New Jersey Tech Council

Washington, D.C.

Speaker
Feb
6
2014

UK-US Future Cities Knowledge Exchange Project: Remaking Cities

UK-US Future Cities Knowledge Exchange Project

New York, NY

Speaker
Nov
19
2013
Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail
Speaker
Speaker
Jul
18
2013

The Affordable Care Act and Its Impact on Employers and Their Group Health Plans

New Jersey Technology Council 2013 Annual Meeting

New Jersey

Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail
Speaker
Apr
15
0015

Employee Benefits and Compensation Law Basics for the Non-ERISA Attorney

The New York City Bar's Committee on Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation

New York, NY

Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail