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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
  • U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska
  • 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