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Joan M. Cannon

Joan M. Cannon


Joan is passionate about helping clients solve their business succession and employee benefits problems. She’ll say she loves ERISA and ESOPs—and she means it.

Her employee benefits practice includes representation of employers and fiduciaries in both the private and public sectors in the design, drafting, implementation, maintenance and compliance of qualified retirement plans, executive compensation, non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements, stock plans and health and welfare plans. Joan provides both technical advice and practical administrative counsel for sponsoring employers, plan administrators and service providers.

Joan has a special focus in bank-owned ESOPs.  Joan works with bank holding companies and their subsidiary banks to design and implement new ESOPs and ESOP stock transactions and works with existing bank-owned ESOPs for on-going maintenance, updating, secondary transactions, strategic acquisitions, repurchase liability, corporate financing, and other matters. Joan’s expertise has helped in obtaining regulatory approval for an ESOP as a bank holding company. Joan and her team work to provide banks with regulatory guidance, financing and lending, shareholder agreements, mergers and acquisitions, general corporate law, and related legal matters.

When it comes to ESOP stock transactions, business succession, and executive compensation, Joan has the strategy and know-how to achieve the client’s goals. Her years of experience with large and small ESOP companies provide the foundation of her success.  Joan has worked on many sales and acquisitions of company stock from and to ESOPs.  She works to hand-tailor business succession with ESOPs to meet the client’s needs.  Her expertise includes advising S corporation ESOP trustees in complex executive compensation matters, structuring exempt loans, and leading the charge in a 1042 exchange.  She also guides ESOP boards and trustees through on-going corporate governance and fiduciary training.  Joan has the experience, sophistication, and technical background to provide big-picture guidance and ensure the details are covered.  Joan says that each ESOP is unique and helps guide the Company management to effective employee communication and to develop the ownership culture that works hand-in-hand with the ESOP to achieve remarkable performance.

If her experience and expertise aren’t enough, Joan also brings a team mindset to the table. She works closely with other employee benefits experts in-house along with the client’s accountant, financial advisors, appraisers and third-party administrators to provide the best possible solutions for her clients.

  • University of Nebraska (J.D., 1980)
  • University of Nebraska – Lincoln (B.A., 1975)
  • Nebraska (Sustaining Member)
  • U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska

McGrath North's Team Receives Broad Recognition from The Best Lawyers in America® 2023

In its newly released 2023 edition, The Best Lawyers in America® has recognized 44 McGrath North attorneys in the full range of specialty practice areas key to supporting businesses of all sizes across a broad range of industries, and 28 attorneys have been recognized for 10 years or more.  Of these attorneys recognized based on peer-review surveys, seven were named “Lawyer of the Year.” This honor is awarded to only one attorney with the highest overall peer-feedback for a specific practice area and geographic location.  


McGrath North Attorneys Awarded The Most Top Chambers Rankings

McGrath North continues its tradition in 2022 of being highly recognized for excellence by Chambers USA – America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, with 25 McGrath North attorneys receiving special recognition in their legal practice areas, and 7 core practice areas being ranked for excellence. These recognitions include:  

November 07, 2019

14th Annual Seminar For Accounting Professionals

McGrath North is sponsoring and conducting our 14th Annual Seminar for Accounting Professionals in Omaha, Nebraska.  

November 01, 2018

13th Annual Seminar For Accounting Professionals

McGrath North is sponsoring and conducting our Thirteenth Annual Seminar for Accounting Professionals in Omaha, Nebraska.  The seminar will focus on a variety of topics such as: You’re Collecting Sensitive Personal And Financial Data From Your U.S. Clients: Are You Doing What Is Required To Protect It?; Help Your Consumer Products Clients Save Time and Money; Structuring and Implementing Buy-Sell Agreements; New Section 199A: All the Highlights; My Meme is Better than Yours: Internet IP Considerations; Labor and Employment Law Under Trump: Where are We and Where are We Headed?; The State Tax Anatomy Series—Wayfair Meets the Tax Defense Team; and Employee Benefits Annual Review.  



More Publications


Making several changes, the IRS has released the 2022 cost-of-living adjustments applicable to the dollar limits and thresholds for retirement plans and health and welfare benefit plans. Plan sponsors should update their systems and formulas to include the limits that have been adjusted.  


New IRS Retirement Plan Corrections For Overpayments And Other Errors

The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) recently released Revenue Procedure 2021-30 (the “Updated Procedure”), providing some new guidance regarding recoupment of overpaid benefit payments and other plan failures. The IRS Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (“EPCRS”) allows retirement plan sponsors to correct plan failures, and the EPCRS, through the Updated Procedure, offers new correction methods. With the release of the Updated Procedure, the IRS is encouraging employers to voluntarily and promptly make corrections to benefit overpayments, without seeking participant repayment or additional employer contributions in some cases. In addition, other correction methods are expanded. These new procedures generally took effect on July 16, 2021, and the following is a list of the key takeaways for sponsors of retirement plans:  

  • Nebraska Bar Association
  • Omaha Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Women’s Law Caucus
  • Pension Council of the Midlands, Member
  • ESOP Association, Member
  • AGRIP, Member
  • American Red Cross Heartland Chapter, Board Member, Philanthropy Committee Member
  • American Red Cross Midwest Region Blood Services, Board Chair
  • Lifetime Fellow, Nebraska State Bar Foundation
  • Listed: “Best Lawyers in America”, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
  • “Best Lawyers in America”, Omaha Lawyer of the Year – Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2019
  • Listed: Martindale-Hubbell, Distinguished
  • Listed: Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (Nebraska, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation – Band 1)