Howard J. Levine

Partner Chicago
Phone: (312) 569-1304
Fax: (312) 569-3304


Howard J. Levine counsels clients on a wide range of employee benefits and executive compensation and tax matters. He currently serves as co-chair of the firm's ESOP Transactions Team and is a former chair (2007–2015) of the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice.

Howard concentrates his practice on pension; profit sharing and 401(k) plans; employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs); executive employment and severance agreements, nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements; equity compensation plans; the employee benefits aspects of corporate acquisitions, divestitures and reductions in force; and ERISA governance and fiduciary matters.

He also represents plan sponsors before the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor in connection with plan audits and correction programs, and provides advice to clients related to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) actions.


Howard has extensive experience representing plan sponsors, selling shareholders and independent trustees in the design, implementation, operation and termination of ESOPs. He also counsels clients in connection with the sale of ESOP companies and the use of ESOPs as an acquisition tool.

Howard advises clients on the implementation and operation of equity compensation arrangements, including stock options, restricted shares, restricted share units and phantom stock plans. He also advises clients with respect to all aspects of nonqualified deferred compensation plans, including Code Section 409A compliance, executive employment and separation agreements, Code Section 162(m) issues and golden parachutes.


Chambers USA, Illinois, Labor & Employment: Employee Benefits & Compensation (2005; 2008- 2009; 2012-2016)
Top Rated Lawyer, American Lawyer

Awards Methodology (

Leaders in Their Field, Employment and Labor (2005; 2008-2009; 2012-2015)

Chambers USA


Bar Admissions

  • Illinois


  • University of Miami, J.D., 1978, University of Miami Law Review – Editorial Board
  • University of Kansas, M.B.A., 1975
  • University of Kansas, B.A., 1973


  • Chicago Compensation Association
  • ESOP Association
  • National Association of Stock Plan Professionals
  • National Center for Employee Ownership
  • Profit Sharing 401(k) Council of America

Howard's Areas of Focus