Overview

Mr. Sholk concentrates in the areas of campaign finance, employee benefits, executive compensation, employment and severance agreements, and tax-exempt organizations. He regularly counsels corporations on the formation and operation of political action committees and compliance with federal and state pay-to-play laws. He is actively involved in negotiating and drafting employment and severance agreements for executives and structuring nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements and equity compensation plans.

FOCUS AREAS

Mr. Sholk regularly counsels clients on the employee benefit issues in mergers and acquisitions, such as the negotiation and drafting of the employee benefit provisions of merger and acquisition agreements. He also addresses whether the transaction triggers the golden parachute provisions of Sections 280G and 4999 of the Internal Revenue Code and withdrawal liability under the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act. In addition, Mr. Sholk drafts and negotiates executive employment agreements, focusing on the issues of restrictive covenants, severance benefits, change-in-control provisions, and compliance with Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code. He addresses the treatment of golden parachutes through full or partial gross-ups, valleys, and safe-harbor cutbacks. Finally, he drafts and counsels on equity compensation plans.

In the qualified plan area, Mr. Sholk conducts compliance audits and represents plan sponsors in EPCRS submissions and negotiations with the IRS. Furthermore, he regularly counsels fiduciaries of qualified plans on the investment of plan assets, especially with respect to prohibited transaction and unrelated business taxable income issues. He also drafts and negotiates recordkeeping agreements, directed trustee agreements, and investment management agreements.

Mr. Sholk regularly counsels clients on compliance with New Jersey state, county, and municipal pay-to-play rules, as well as the pay-to-play rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission and Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. He advises corporations and their executives on the permissible activities in campaigns for public office and issue advocacy. He counsels corporations on making independent expenditures without coordination with candidates and political parties, as well as the disclosure obligations with respect to independent expenditures.

Mr. Sholk also represents political action committees and advocacy organizations with respect to compliance with the Federal Election Campaign Act, the Internal Revenue Code, and state election and lobbying laws.

Mr. Sholk has been active with the Employee Benefits Committee of the Section of Taxation of the American Bar Association and has participated in the comment letters on golden parachutes, Section 409A, split dollar life insurance arrangements, incentive stock options, the prohibited transaction exemption for investment advice, and the Worker Economic Opportunity Act.

Education

  • New York University School of Law (LL.M.)
  • University of North Carolina School of Law (J.D., with honors)
    • Research Editor, North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation, 1980-1981
  • Rutgers University (B.A., with highest honors)
    • Phi Beta Kappa

Professional Activities

Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
Board of Directors

New Jersey Business and Industry Association
Government Affairs Committee

Republican Jewish Coalition

American Bar Association
Section of Taxation
Employee Benefits Committee
Executive Compensation Subcommittee
Exempt Organizations Committee
Religious Organizations Subcommittee
Political and Lobbying Activities and Organizations Subcommittee

National Association of Bond Lawyers

Scribes: The American Society of Writers on Legal Subjects

Civic / Charitable Activities

Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
Board of Directors, 2008-Present

Professional Admissions

  • State of New Jersey
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • United States Tax Court
  • United States Claims Court

Judicial Clerkship(s)

Law clerk to the Honorable John W. Fritz, Presiding Judge, Appellate Division, Superior Court of New Jersey, 1981-1982

Publications & Features

  • Commentary to Modern Equity Compensation Plan Exempt From Section 409A
    Bloomberg BNA's Pension & Benefits Daily
    September 04, 2014
  • A Guide to the Pay-to-Play Rules Governing Businesses in New Jersey, Parts I, II, III, and IV
    2014 New Jersey Local Government Deskbook, New Jersey Institute For Continuing Legal Education
    Steven H. Sholk, Contributing Author
    2014
  • A Guide to Election Year Activities of Section 501(c)(3) Organizations
    Practising Law Institute Course Handbook for Tax Strategies for Corporate Acquisitions, Dispositions, Spin-Offs, Joint Ventures, Financings, Reorganizations, and Restructurings
    October 2013
  • A Guide to Election Year Activities of Section 501(c)(3) Organizations
    New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education
    May 02, 2013
  • A Guide to the Pay-to-Play Rules Governing Businesses in New Jersey, Parts I, II, III, and IV
    New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education
    May 02, 2013
  • Commentary to Equity Compensation Plan Exempt From Section 409A
    Bloomberg BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter
    March 05, 2013
  • Commentary to Equity Compensation Plan Exempt From Section 409A
    Bloomberg BNA Pension & Benefits Daily
    February 26, 2013
  • A Guide to the Pay-to-Play Rules Governing Businesses in New Jersey, Parts I, II, III, and IV
    2013 New Jersey Local Government Deskbook, New Jersey Law Journal Books
    Steven H. Sholk, Contributing Author
    2013
  • Foreign Investment in the U.S.: Beware of Pension Liability Risk
    Financier Worldwide
    December 2012
  • A Guide to Election Year Activities of Section 501(c)(3) Organizations
    Practising Law Institute Course Handbook for Tax Strategies for Corporate Acquisitions, Dispositions, Spin-Offs, Joint Ventures, Financings, Reorganizations & Restructurings
    November 2012

HONORS & AWARDS

AV® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell

Elected to the International Who's Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers, 1996