S. Tony Ling is a partner in Honigman's Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation practice group. For over 20 years, Tony has advised senior executives, boards of directors, compensation committees and human resources professionals on a wide range of matters, including mergers and acquisitions, ERISA, Internal Revenue Code Sections 162(m), 280G and 409A, third party administrative agreements, employment agreements and separation agreements. Tony has developed a reputation for being a valued and trusted advisor by building trust through thoughtful and timely advice.

Tony has managed multi-jurisdictional legal teams in several significant international acquisitions and divestitures. He has also represented a target company's 20 person executive management team in an acquisition by a public company focusing on executive compensation and employment aspects of the transition, including Code Sections 280G and 409A. In addition, Tony has managed a cross-disciplinary team (tax, IP and insurance) in negotiating multi-million dollar total benefits administrative services agreements and negotiated and reached a favorable client settlement in a DOL investigation at a fraction of the DOL's initial demand.



Representative Matters

  • Managed a cross-disciplinary team (tax, IP, insurance) and negotiated a $500 million total benefits administrative services agreement
  • Negotiated and reached a favorable settlement for client with a DOL investigation involving a breach of fiduciary claim for plan investments at a fraction of the DOL’s initial demand
  • Represented a target company’s executive management team (20 executives) in an acquisition by a public company focusing on executive compensation and employment aspects of the transition, including Code Sections 280G and 409A
  • Managed a multi-jurisdictional employee matters legal team in several significant international acquisitions and divestitures
  • Handled all the executive compensation and employee aspects of several recent public offerings, including drafting employment agreements, equity incentive plans and award agreements and employee stock purchase plans and advising with respect to Code Section 162(m) implications
  • Successfully advised client in a plaintiff’s action with respect to compliance with Code Section 162(m), resulting in a nominal settlement

Prior Experience

  • Jenner & Block, LLP, Chicago, IL, Partner, 2004-2018; Associate 1997-2003






  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2022-2024
    • Recognized in the area of Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law

  • Law Bulletin Media
    • Leading Lawyers, Employee Benefits, 2018, 2022-2023
  • Legal 500
    • Recognized in practice areas of:
      • Labor and Employment – Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, 2016
      • Employee Health and Retirement Plans, 2017
  • National Diversity Counsel
    • Leadership Excellence in Law Award, 2014
    • Multicultural Leadership Award, 2014

Professional & Community Involvement

Chicago Legal Clinic

  • Board Member, 2014-present

Chicago Dragons Athletic Association

  • Board Member, 2006-present 

News & Insights


  • Understanding Trends in Retirees’ Health Care Benefits
    Publication | Protecting Retirees’ Health Care Benefits |
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