Casey D. Knapp partners with clients to provide business-focused strategic advice related to the design and implementation of competitive executive compensation and employee benefit programs. Casey’s expertise includes advising on stock options, restricted stock, and other equity incentive plans, navigating Code Section 409A issues, negotiating executive employment agreements, structuring stay and retention bonuses, and advising companies on complex tax and ERISA issues in the context of change in control transactions.
Casey’s clients regularly remark about how much they appreciate her practical, creative, and business-focused approach to her practice.
Casey’s work in the executive compensation area includes assisting clients with the design and implementation of equity incentive plans, phantom stock plans, non-qualified deferred compensation plans, and executive employment agreements. She also regularly advises clients on the application of applicable tax rules, including Internal Revenue Code section 409A.
Representative Experience: Last year, Casey counseled more than 75 privately-held companies with respect to the strategic design and implementation of their equity incentive arrangements, sophisticated bonus plans, and executive employment agreements. Most of this work focused on supporting private equity portfolio companies in various industries and representing early-stage companies and tech/bio-tech companies at various stages.
Casey’s work with qualified retirement plans includes assisting clients with the design and implementation of 401(k) plans, profit sharing plans, and pension plans. She frequently advises clients about compliance with Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) rules, Internal Revenue Code rules, the Internal Revenue Service’s and Department of Labor’s formal and informal correction programs, and tax consequences of contributions to and distributions from employer-sponsored retirement plans.
Representative Experience: Casey provides continuing, year-after-year employee benefits support to a Fortune 25 company. As part of this work, she partners with the client’s compliance and strategy teams to support one of the largest 401(k) plans in the United States and the client’s related nonqualified retirement plans. Casey partners with other members of her team to support the client’s nine defined benefit pension plans and defined benefit SERP.
In addition to her traditional executive compensation and employee benefits work, Casey frequently works with members of the firm’s Transactions Practice to advise clients on the executive compensation and employee benefits issues arising in mergers and acquisitions. Casey also provides transactional support directly to clients – for example, Casey will partner directly with the client’s internal and/or external deal team(s) to provide additional support in the executive compensation and employee benefits space.
Casey is the Chairwoman of the board of directors of Centro Legal, a non-profit legal services organization which provides important resources for families and survivors of domestic abuse in the Milwaukee Community.
Casey also contributes significant pro bono hours each year to the Milwaukee and Wisconsin communities through her participation in the Wills for Heroes program and other pro bono opportunities.
Casey was honored in 2016 as one of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award recipients. Selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the field of Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (2023)
Casey earned her law degree, magna cum laude, from Washington and Lee University School of Law. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sweet Briar College where she graduated as the Valedictorian of her class.
Casey also completed leadership training at Harvard Law School in 2017.
Casey is admitted to practice in Wisconsin and is a member of the American Bar Association, Wisconsin Bar Association, and Milwaukee Bar Association.