As Co-chair of Shumaker’s Hospitality, Leisure and Sports Business Sector, Bennett has built a legal practice counseling elite level college and professional coaches, athletic directors, and conference commissioners, as well as executives in the sports and entertainment industry. Working collaboratively with their agents, financial advisors, and accountants, Bennett emphasizes structuring their contracts in a manner to achieve future financial security by utilizing tax efficient compensation, including appropriately designed deferred compensation arrangements, and ensuring their contracts provide well-considered protections given the risks and uncertainties endemic to this industry. These clients also rely upon Bennett for advice developing and implementing their estate plans and philanthropic objectives, and participation in outside business ventures.
In addition, Bennett focuses his practice on employee benefits law (ERISA) and executive compensation. He is regularly involved in advising plan sponsors, as well as fiduciaries, regarding the legal and tax issues involved with the design and administration of various types of benefit plans, including qualified retirement plans, non-qualified plans, and other executive compensation arrangements; employee stock ownership plans (ESOPS), cafeteria plans, health and other welfare benefit plans, including the drafting of these plans. Bennett advises a wide variety of plan sponsors, including corporate/institutional employers, entrepreneurial businesses, professional service firms, closely held and family business owners, and joint boards of trustees (Taft Hartley plans), as well as tax exempt organizations and governmental employers, such as colleges and universities. Bennett is also routinely involved with the representation of plan sponsors and fiduciaries before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and U.S. Department of Labor, which regulate the administration of employee benefit plans.
Prior to his legal career, Bennett was a tax consultant in the Tax Department of Ernst & Whinney (n/k/a Ernst & Young LLP) in its Cleveland, Ohio office, where his responsibilities included tax planning and compliance for executives, business owners, tax exempt organizations, and a professional sports franchise. He is a graduate of Miami University and the University of Toledo College of Law. While in law school, Bennett was a member of the Moot Court Board and the Federal Tax Moot Court Team and was a recipient of the Brief Writing Award in Albert R. Mugel National Tax Moot Court Competition (1985).
Bennett frequently speaks to professional and industry groups regarding employee benefits and related tax planning.