Serving executives in higher education throughout the United States. Admitted New York and Connecticut bars.

(646) 861-2410 (primary) (203) 984-6265

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Offer Letters and Employment Agreements

The attorneys at George Birnbaum Law have negotiated deals involving executive and academic compensation ranging from hundreds of thousands to many millions of dollars in salary and incentives.

The devil is always in the details – whether those details are present or absent.  That’s where we come in.

Experience has taught our attorneys that no two executives are alike in their personal and professional goals, styles, or circumstances. In higher education, as in other sectors, we’ve seen term sheets and offer letters that romance prospective employees with huge salaries as well as bonuses and other enticing benefits and incentives. But these letters are not binding contracts, and the devil is always in the details – whether those details are present or absent.

That’s where we come in. Our executive compensation attorneys devise ways to further enhance those preliminary offers and convert them into binding employment agreements, while putting added protections firmly in place for our clients – protections experience has taught us even the most sophisticated professionals may not know they should have.

In view of the litigious atmosphere in which businesses and institutions of all kinds and sizes operate today, we also provide academic institutions with strategies to minimize the risk of litigation when management is hiring and firing academic professionals.  Our executive compensation consultants provide the HR function, advising on hirings, severance, employee handbooks and employee compliance policies.

Executive Compensation and Incentives

Academia follows its own idiosyncratic rules when it comes to the all-important issue of executive compensation.  The lawyers at George Birnbaum Law are equipped to respond by addressing a wide variety of issues unique to industry context, from specific compensation and benefit provisions to academia-related tax restrictions. 

When negotiating academic employment deals, we focus on designing creatively structured incentives aimed at maximizing our clients’ total compensation packages.  As you embark on your new academic position, we will work to secure you benefits including sign-on bonuses, substantial yearly bonus guarantees, and performance-based incentives based on a range of diverse metrics, all tailored to your unique situation and needs.

When a private college or university hires a President or senior administrator, there are potential tax penalties for both the President and the school’s Board of Trustees if base compensation is meaningfully disproportionate to other executives in the President’s peer group. We have assisted executives in properly drafting and handling compensation provisions so as to avoid unnecessary penalties and surcharges. By designing performance-based and other types of incentives for newly hired college and university Presidents and senior administrators, our employment attorneys have enhanced already generous compensation packages while avoiding negative tax consequences for executives, companies and institutions.