McDonald Hopkins’ Executive Compensation Group: How a midsized firm became a leading force in a rapidly expanding niche


In the legal landscape, where niche service can define the success of a firm and its clients, McDonald Hopkins has positioned its Executive Compensation and Governance Practice Group at the forefront of a rapidly expanding field. With the recent hiring of attorney Megan Juel marking the sixth addition to the team in just two years, McDonald Hopkins has solidified its reputation as a destination firm for both talented executive compensation attorneys looking to expand their skills, and clients in need of legal guidance.

Benjamin Panter, who is renowned in his field of law and the Chair of the Executive Compensation and Governance Practice Group, said the growing need of executive compensation attorneys is a reflection of today’s volatile economic and social climate.

“Businesses across the board are recognizing the critical need to attract, retain, and motivate top-tier leadership talent to navigate these challenges successfully,” he said. “Accordingly, executive compensation is increasingly a primary concern for any business that has any hope to grow and succeed in the marketplace.  Skilled attorneys with deep experience in what has worked and does not work in a variety of circumstances, and that can provide a thoughtful, comprehensive and practical approach to executive compensation and governance structure, can be the difference in attracting, retaining and motivating the talented leaders necessary to help a business thrive in this ever-changing landscape.”

With top legal talent, Midwest rates, and metrics that outperform many in the Am Law 100, McDonald Hopkins is a midsized firm that has the capability to represent clients in high-stakes, complex matters and has the track-record to prove it. The executive compensation group is a case in point, having earned a reputation for effective representation of executives across a wide range industries in transactions involving several billions of dollars, and for helping companies of all sizes attract and retain the executive talent they need to succeed.  

“Our team stands out because it is built on a foundation of deep experience, personalized attention, and a track record of delivering exceptional counsel.  Many of the attorneys on my team come from a background in big law and have big law value. With that said, we value diverse perspectives. For example, we have an attorney on our team who ran his own law firm and another who comes from an in-house background. In each case, they have sought to utilize their skillset to pursue a practice with the agility and dedication of a boutique firm, ensuring that every client receives the attention and personalized solutions they need at a price point that makes sense,” said Panter. “It is the strength of our commitment to excellence that sets us apart and makes us the destination firm for even the biggest clients.”

Under Panter’s leadership, the team has grown from four to ten attorneys over the past three years, the newest addition being Juel, who was hired at the beginning of 2024 for her success in negotiation, design and implementation of employment. She, too, came to McDonald Hopkins from an Am Law 100 firm.

“Beyond capability, we look for attorneys who are excellent communicators, with a focus on client service and who are capable of building strong relationships with clients and colleagues alike. Our team thrives on collaboration, and we seek out individuals who are team players, willing to share their knowledge for the collective success and growth of the group. Overall, we are seeking attorneys who are passionate about their work, dedicated to delivering outstanding results, and eager to grow their own careers and to contribute to the continued growth and success of our executive compensation team,” noted Panter.

Looking forward, the future of executive compensation is poised to evolve with increased scrutiny, regulation, and a growing emphasis on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, performance-based pay, and Environmental, Social, and Governance metrics.

 “We are at the cutting edge, ready to navigate and lead through these changes, ensuring our clients not only adapt, but thrive,” said Panter.

Jump to Page

McDonald Hopkins uses cookies on our website to enhance user experience and analyze website traffic. Third parties may also use cookies in connection with our website for social media, advertising and analytics and other purposes. By continuing to browse our website, you agree to our use of cookies as detailed in our updated Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.