Since 1984, Stephen Smith has dedicated his private law practice primarily to employee stock ownership plans ("ESOPs") and structuring ESOP transactions. Mr. Smith has been responsible for structuring over 200 ESOP transactions for public and private companies, and he designs and implements equity- and non-equity-based incentive compensation programs for public and private companies. Mr. Smith represents ESOP sponsors, ESOP fiduciaries, including employer-appointed "committees" and independent ESOP trustees, in ESOP transactions throughout the United States, including the sale of ESOP companies and the termination of ESOPs.
Mr. Smith is a partner with the Indianapolis law firm of Krieg DeVault LLP. He holds AB and JD degrees from Indiana University and an LLM in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center. He is a member of the American and Indiana State Bar Associations, The ESOP Association and its Indiana Chapter, The National Center for Employee Ownership, Employee-Owned S Corporations of America ("ESCA"), its Advisory Board, and the Indiana Benefits Conference.
Mr. Smith was actively involved in drafting the S corporation ESOP enabling legislation contained in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. He was a co-author of the S corporation ESOP "anti-abuse" legislation known as the "Breaux/Ramstad Bill." He structured the first ESOP to be sponsored by an S corporation for Liberty Check Printers of Minneapolis. Mr. Smith also structured the first ESOP to become a registered bank holding company, the Horizon Bancorp ESOP of Michigan City, as well as the purchase by an ESOP of a major public accounting firm from H&R Block.
From 1975 through 1980, Mr. Smith served on active duty with the U.S. Air Force as a Judge Advocate; from 1980 through 2001, he continued his service as a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve and retired in January, 2001 with the rank of Colonel. For the last several years of his Reserve duty, Mr. Smith acted as a legal advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Under Secretary of Defense in connection with employee benefit plan matters affecting the Department of Defense. He designed and drafted the first "401(k)" plan for members of the Armed Services and authored the related Report to Congress.