Michael J. Voves

Michael J. Voves




Michael is Chair in Dorsey's Benefits and Compensation Group and head of the firm’s Executive Compensation practice group.  Michael advises clients on tax, ERISA and related issues affecting equity compensation, deferred compensation, executive compensation, pension, ESOP and 401(k) arrangements.  Michael’s practice can be broken into two areas of focus – equity/incentive compensation and retirement benefits/investments.

Michael creates equity, phantom equity and cash incentive programs for entities of all sorts, including corporations, partnerships, LLCs and cooperatives.  Because Dorsey has a strong public company client base, Michael is particularly experienced in designing cash and stock incentive programs that adhere to ISS and Glass Lewis standards.  Michael also works with a stable of ESOP-owned clients and frequently presents on topics for the National Center for Employee Ownership.  Michael is an active member of the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals, and is on the board of the Twin Cities chapter organization.

Michael’s other practice area falls under ERISA fiduciary compliance, particularly with respect to retirement and pension investments.  Michael advises numerous plan sponsors and plan service providers with respect to ERISA fiduciary and prohibited transaction issues.  Michael frequently attends investment committee meetings for many clients and understands many investment vehicles and services that are offered under ERISA covered retirement plans – whether retail, institutional, custom or private equity investments.

Education & Admissions

University of Minnesota Law School (J.D., 1997), cum laude
Minnesota Law Review
Charles E. Nadler Award
Law Review Staff Member of the Year
Wagner Labor Law Moot Court Director and Competition Team Member

University of Wisconsin - Madison (B.S., Economics with a Mathematical Emphasis, Political Science, 1994), graduated with distinction


  • Minnesota


  • German

News & Resources


How ESG Factors Should Be Bundled Inside Your 401(k) Funds
DOL and IRS Relief on Deadlines
Under New IRS Section 162(m) Guidance, Many Common Arrangements will not Retain Grandfathered Status
"Into the Void: Potential Consequences of the DOL's Proposed Prohibited Transaction Exemptions," Benefit’s Law Journal
Supreme Court Rejection of Duty of Prudence Presumption—What Does it Mean for Retirement Plans?
IRS Begins 409A Audit Initiative
Supreme Court Holds Severance Payments are Taxable Wages under FICA
DOL Issues Guidance on 404(a)(5) Participant-Level Disclosures
George v. Kraft Foods
"Minnesota Changes Taxation of Nonresidents on Income earned in Minnesota," "Practical US/Domestic Tax Strategies"
The Clock is Ticking: Treasury and IRS Issue Final 409A Regulations – Employers Must Act to Amend Plans to Comply
Default Investment Alternatives After the Pension Protection Act: What should you be doing now?
SARBANES-OXLEY ACT: Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Aspects

News & Press Mentions

Voves Comments on DEL's New ESG Rule
Dorsey Advises Briefing Media in Strategic Investment and Global Partnership with Urner Barry
Dorsey Partner Michael Voves Comments on Starkey Embezzlement Case
Dorsey Wins 2016 Turnaround Atlas Award for Judicial Restructuring of the Year
Dorsey Wins 8th Annual International M&A Award
Dorsey Wins 10th Annual M&A Advisor Turnaround Awards
Dorsey Wins 14th Annual M&A Advisor Award for Real Estate Deal of the Year
Dorsey Represents Hillerich & Bradsby in Sale of Louisville Slugger Brand
William Mitchell College of Law and Hamline University School of Law will combine
Dorsey Represents Tekmira Pharmaceuticals on OnCore Biopharma Merger Agreement

Events & Speaking Engagements

Webinar Playback: Annual Forum on Retirement Plan Benefits
Seminar Playback: SECURE Act Overview

Select Presentations

  • MSBA: Executive Compensation Update (February 28, 2019)
  • DorseyU: Preparing for the 2019 SEC Reporting Season (December 6, 2018)
  • NASPP: Divorce, Death, Disability and Other Separations: How They Affect Your Equity Plan (July 12, 2018)
  • MSBA: Equity and Phantom Equity Incentives for Partnerships (May 7, 2018)
  • MSBA (Advanced Employee Benefits Workshop):  Equity Compensation Trends in the Public and Private Spheres (February 22, 2018)
  • DorseyU: 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act: What You Should Know - Business and International Tax Reform (February 21, 2018)
  • NCEO: ESOP Alternatives: Eligible Individual Account Plan and Other Alternatives (October 4, 2017)
  • NCEO: Equity Compensation for LLCs (June 6, 2017)
  • MSBA (Advanced Employee Benefits Workshop): DOL Audits of Retirement Plans (February 9, 2017)
  • NCEO: Alternative Approaches to Equity Compensation (for ESOP Companies) (September 20, 2016)
  • DorseyU: DOL’s Final Fiduciary Rule (May 10, 2016)
  • NCEO: Sustainability Beyond Repurchase (April 14, 2016)
  • MSBA: Compensating the Executive – Five Important Things You Should Know (October 27, 2015)
  • Midwest Pension Conference: Amendments to DOL’s Definition of Fiduciary (September 27, 2015)
  • NCEO: Alternative Approaches to Equity Compensation (for ESOP Companies) (September 1, 2015)
  • DorseyU: The DOL’s Changes to the Fiduciary Rules: How Do They Impact You? (June 9, 2015)
  • NCEO: Decision-Maker’s Guide to Equity Compensation (March 3, 2015)
  • 2015 Advanced Benefits Workshop: Self-Directed Brokerage Windows (February 19, 2015)
  • NCEO: Fiduciary and Legal Issues in Executive Compensation in ESOP Companies (October 2, 2014)
  • NCEO: The ESOP Symposium: Selling the Company (September 16, 2014)
  • DorseyU: Closely-Held Businesses: Ownership and Transition Strategies (April 17, 2014)

Industries & Practices

Securities & Financial Services Litigation & Enforcement
Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG)
  • Banking & Financial Institutions
  • Benefits & Compensation
  • Cooperative Law
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG)
  • Executive Compensation
  • Food, Beverage & Agribusiness
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Securities & Financial Services Litigation & Enforcement


  • Listed as a "Rising Star" by Minnesota Super Lawyers, 2008, 2011-2012.
Michael J. Voves