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“Mike Taibleson is responsive, prompt, knowledgeable and works to accomplish the client's goals and objectives.”

Joan Ravanelli Miller, General Counsel/VP-HR, Acuity

Overview

Michael welcomes the challenge of solving complex employee compensation and benefits issues for clients.

He has significant experience advising employers, retirement plan fiduciaries, insurers and plan administrators on strategies for implementing, administering and remediating benefit plans for new hires, active employees and retirees. He also assists with litigation when the need arises.

Michael helps clients correctly structure programs to assure they get the results they want from day one, and he is a valuable resource for restructuring company programs that are not working properly. His work in both law firm and accounting firm environments gives Michael a unique perspective on the employee benefit design, drafting, negotiating, compliance and fiduciary concerns of clients in the for-profit, nonprofit and governmental sectors.

In particular, Michael has in-depth knowledge about compensation and benefits that meet the specific needs of tax-exempt higher education institutions. He advises those clients on 403(b) plans, intermediate sanctions, pensions, and general benefit and compensation matters.

“Mike Taibleson is responsive, prompt, knowledgeable and works to accomplish the client's goals and objectives.”

Joan Ravanelli Miller, General Counsel/VP-HR, Acuity


Industries

Services

Recognition

  • Wisconsin Super Lawyers, 2005-2009

Education

  • J.D., Chicago-Kent College of Law
    • with honors
    • Law Review, Notes & Comments Editor
  • B.S., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Admissions

  • Wisconsin
  • Illinois

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • State Bar of Wisconsin, Continuing Legal Education Committee, 2012-2018; Taxation Law Section, Board of Directors, Chair Emeritus; Annual Benefits Update, Chair, 2004-present
  • Wisconsin Bar Association

Languages

  • Japanese, conversant
Featured Case Study

Negotiations Minimize Liability Over Pension Plan Withdrawal

Michael and his team assisted the client in negotiating out of a multiemployer pension plan and moving the employees into a 401(k) plan for the benefit of the employees and the company. The plan assessed the company $4 million of withdrawal liability under Title IV of ERISA.

Michael employed an expert actuary to weigh options, and the company commenced limited 20-year payments as permitted by ERISA. At the time determined to be most favorable, Michael and his team commenced negotiations to settle the outstanding amount of $3.3 million.

Based on extensive experience in this area, Michael's team obtained a 15 percent discount from the plan on top of an extremely generous discount rate of almost 8 percent for determining the present value future withdrawal liability payments, creating a lump sum settlement of $1 million. Additionally, the team was able to negotiate an agreement that will severely restrict the fund’s ability to redetermine and reallocate liability to the client, should the plan suffer a mass withdrawal or termination.


Additional Experience
  • Negotiated numerous favorable settlements of multiemployer pension plan withdrawal liability on behalf of participating employers.
  • Successfully negotiated settlements of tax compliance and fiduciary concerns for public and closely held companies through Department of Labor and IRS administrative programs.
  • Advised large multinational corporations on issues related to benefits and compensation for expatriates and third-country nationals, including plan design and resolution of technical and tax issues.
  • Guided clients through complexities of managing employee benefit matters in mergers, acquisitions and bankruptcy, including due diligence process and resolving short- and long-term transition issues. Accomplishments in these projects included resolving significant compliance issues, as well as having substantial impact on purchase price.
Outside the Office

Michael enjoys singing, playing the trumpet and spending time with his three young grandchildren.

Michael has been a trumpet player with the Knightwind Ensemble for 18 years. He also performs with the Milwaukee Jewish Community Chorale, singing at nursing homes, synagogues and celebrations. The chorale has performed “Chichester Psalms,” a particularly challenging piece of music by Leonard Bernstein, with the Kol Zimrah choir of Chicago and several Wisconsin cantors.

Community Leadership
  • Congregation Emanu-El B'ne Jeshurun, Membership Committee, Chair, 2017-present; B’a’l T’Kiah
  • Milwaukee Jewish Family Services, Program Development & Advisory Committee
  • Jewish Museum Milwaukee, Committee for Vedem: The Underground Magazine of the Terezin Ghetto
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