Photo of Gregory R. SchermerhornPhoto of Gregory R. Schermerhorn

Gregory R. Schermerhorn

Leader, Employee Benefits Practice Group


University of Detroit, J.D.
  • cum laude; Alpha Sigma Nu; Frank Murphy Honor Society
  • University of Detroit Law Review
University of Michigan, A.B.
  • with distinction

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions


  • Judge Patrick J. Duggan, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Judicial Law Clerk, 1990-1992

Professional Affiliations

State Bar of Michigan

  • Taxation Section
  • Employee Benefits Committee
News & Resources


Mr. Schermerhorn is a partner in and leader of the Employee Benefits Practice Group. He serves as lead benefits counsel to public companies, closely held companies, private equity funds, hospitality REITs and tax-exempt organizations. Mr. Schermerhorn has more than twenty years of experience in assisting clients with qualified retirement plans, welfare benefit plans, executive compensation, and nonqualified deferred compensation plans.

  • Designs, drafts and counsels on qualified retirement plans, such as 401(k), profit sharing, and defined benefit (both traditional pension and cash balance) plans
  • Designs, drafts and counsels on welfare benefit plans, including group health, life insurance, disability, flexible spending accounts and retiree health plans
  • Structures executive compensation, equity-based incentive and severance arrangements
  • Advises on statutory and regulatory compliance matters, contract negotiations and fiduciary governance of employee benefit plans
  • Counsels on multi-employer pension plan matters
  • Represents employers and tax exempt entities in audits, disputes and other matters before the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)
  • Represents private equity funds with regard to structuring and monitoring of funds and investments for compliance with the ERISA plan asset rules and related qualification as venture capital operating company and real estate operating company treatment
  • Represents public and private companies and private equity funds as to the employee benefit plan aspects of equity and asset purchase and sale transactions
  • Represents entities with large, active and frozen defined benefit plans, including clients with “legacy” union/manufacturing plans
  • Advises hospitality REITs on pension and employee benefit plans related to acquisitions and dispositions


  • Negotiated a significant, multi-million dollar reduction in a multinational manufacturer's plant shutdown pension funding liability under ERISA with the PBGC and later obtained complete relief from the negotiated liability via timely use of PBGC's later announced standards for such relief
  • Assisted a publicly traded company in the merger of multiple pension plans into a single pension plan, resulting in long-term cost savings in the administration of the consolidated plan
  • Assisted a publicly traded company in the modification of its 401(k) plan to accommodate a joint venture's request to use the company's 401(k) plan for the benefit of the joint venture's workforce
  • Assisted a publicly traded company in obtaining an exemption from certain multi-employer pension plan liability obligations in connection with the company's purchase of the assets of a unionized seller
  • Assisted in the termination of a 3,000+ participant pension plan on an expedited basis where a determination letter was obtained from the Internal Revenue Service on a fast-track basis, lump sums were offered to two types of participants, a group annuity bid and selection process was used, the PBGC audit was also expedited, and the plan’s termination cost came in under the client’s budget
  • Represented clients with “legacy” union/manufacturing plans; drafted pension plans and amendments to pension plans; drafted IRS determination letter filings and plan corrections with the IRS; handled IRS and Department of Labor audits; managed plan governance – including investment policy and investment committee matters – and plan administration matters
  • Conducted a merger of ten separate pension plans into a single pension plan
  • Settled a PBGC plant closure claim against a plan sponsor for additional pension plan funding from an initial $70+ million to a negotiated approximate $20 million to an eventual zero-dollar funding requirement

News & Resources




  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, 2010-2016
    • Recognized as one of America's leading business lawyers in the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation field in Michigan; Chambers adds:
      • 2016 – "Gregory Schermerhorn chairs the firm's employee benefits group and represents a range of publicly traded businesses, private equity funds and nonprofit organizations. He manages a busy caseload which often sees him advising on the structure of pension and retirement systems, and statutory and regulatory compliance matters."
      • 2015 – "Gregory Schermerhorn is described as an 'extremely personable' practitioner who is 'able to relay information well to various sources, so he can have the same conversation with someone whether they are at the analysis level or the CEO level.' He has a fine track record in retirement and welfare benefit plans, in addition to executive and deferred compensation."
      • 2014 – “is leader of the firm’s employee benefits practice group and is described as ‘a very good, sophisticated lawyer.’ He is noted for his work on retirement and welfare plans, and on matters of statutory and regulatory compliance.”
      • 2013 – "another of the group's notable attorneys. He focuses his practice on retirement benefit programs and executive compensation issues."
      • 2012 – "impresses clients with 'his patience, calm demeanor and openness to new ideas.' His practice concentrates on executive compensation and retirement programs."
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2013-2017
  • DBusiness, Top Lawyers, 2011-2016