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Joseph P. Yonadi, Jr.


200 Public Square
Suite 2300
Cleveland, OH 44114-2378

Joe Yonadi is a partner in the Executive Compensation and Benefits Practice Group. His practice includes counseling for-profit and non-profit clients on a variety of employee benefit matters including designing and drafting qualified retirement plans; providing counsel on executive compensation and employee benefit issues in mergers and acquisitions; working with his clients to utilize the IRS and DOL corrections programs for plan document and fiduciary corrections; and providing counsel with respect to the Affordable Care Act.

Joe also counsels clients with respect to their employee stock ownership plan issues. He advises trustees, lenders and sellers with respect to their ongoing ESOP compliance and fiduciary governance matters. In addition, he assists business owners with assessing the benefits of utilizing an ESOP as a succession planning tool.

In addition, Joe maintains a robust executive compensation practice that includes assisting employers with their design and implementation of various nonqualified deferred compensation plans, short-term and long term incentive plans, and equity programs. He works to provide practical advice in order to help his clients navigate around Internal Revenue Code Sections 409A, 280G and 162(m).

Prior to joining Benesch, Joe served as Senior Employment Counsel and Human Resources Legal Team Leader at a Fortune 300 global retail and manufacturing company headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. Joe provided day-to-day legal counseling on the Company’s global retirement, health and welfare, and executive compensation plans, as well as, serving as ERISA counsel to the company’s plan administration and fiduciary investment committees.

The following are examples of Joe's representative Executive Compensation & Benefits experience:

ERISA Fiduciary Responsibility & Liability | Benefit Plan Funding for Retirement

  • Assisted a Fortune 500 public company client with re-designing its ERISA governance structure.
  • Conducted ERISA fiduciary training to Fortune 500 public company client.

  • Negotiated various administrative services agreements on behalf of clients that included successfully negotiating appropriate data security provisions.
  • Provided counsel to a Fortune 500 public company client with respect to its defined benefit investment policy statement.
  • Provided counsel to clients with respect to their defined benefit plan de-risking issues.
  • Provided litigation support to a Fortune 500 public company client defending a stock-drop litigation claim.

Health & Welfare Plans – Strategies & Funding

  • Assisted Fortune 500 public company client with revising its company-wide Business Associate Agreement and implementing a Business Associate Agreement Policy.
  • Assisted Fortune 500 public company client with revising its health and welfare wrap plan.
  • Assisted public company client on Affordable Care Act requirements relating to its specialty drug coverage.

Mergers & Acquisitions of Employee Benefit Plans

  • Advised an international technology company on all employee benefit and compensation related issues relating to its stock acquisition of a U.S. based specialty tire company.
  • Drafted change in control, equity award, and employment agreements for various privately held and public company clients.
  • Represented Continental Automotive, Inc. in the acquisition of a major stake in Zonar Systems.
  • Represented Continental Tire the Americas in the acquisition of 100% of the stock of Hoosier Racing Tire Corporation.

Joe also has a significant practice in the Data Security and Privacy area as a result of his in-house counsel experience that led to him leading the domestic and global legal support for the company’s newly created Global Privacy and Data Security Department. Building on his in-house counsel Data Security and Privacy experience, Joe currently assists clients with their employee, consumer and HIPAA privacy policies and procedures. Joe provides counsel to clients with respect to creating standard privacy and data security contract terms for third party vendor management programs, negotiating commercial contracts containing sensitive personally identifiable information, and providing counsel and training relating to data security and privacy matters, including incident response training. Joe also provides proactive legal counseling by assisting clients with understanding their true risks by performing data security and privacy risk assessments.

The following are examples of Joe's representative Intellectual Property and Data Security & Privacy experience.

Intellectual Property | Data Security & Privacy

  • Conducted a company-wide Data Security and Privacy assessment for a transportation and logistics client.
  • Drafted and reviewed various client Website Privacy Policies and Terms of Use.
  • Negotiated on behalf of clients various privacy and data security contractual provisions into technology agreements.
  • Provided counsel to clients with respect to the E.U.-U.S. Privacy Shield framework.


  • The John Marshall Law School, 2003, LL.M.
    • with honors
  • The John Marshall Law School, 2002, J.D.
    • National Champion, 2002 Albert R. Mugel National Tax Moot Court Competition;
      Recipient, Best Oral Advocate Award
  • B.S. Accounting, The Ohio State University, 1997

Bar Admissions

Ohio State Bar Association, Supreme Court of Ohio, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association , International Association of Privacy Professional – IAPP/U.S. Certified, National Association of Stock Plan Professionals, Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) Association