Thomas L. Shaevsky

Thomas L. Shaevsky is a shareholder based in Butzel Long's Bloomfield Hills office. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School (J.D., 1992, magna cum laude, The Order of the Coif; Michigan Law Review: Contributing Editor), and the University of Michigan (B.A., with high distinction, Angell Scholar, 1989). Immediately following law school graduation, Mr. Shaevsky served as a law clerk to the Honorable John Feikens of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Mr. Shaevsky practices in the area of employee benefits. He has been named The Best Lawyers in America ERISA "Lawyer of the Year" in 2014, selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America (Employee Benefits Law), a Leading Lawyer, and named an Employee Benefits Law Top Lawyer by DBusiness Magazine. He advises large multinational corporations, physicians and other professional practices, hospitals, and other nonprofit employers, as well as individuals, on compliance and planning issues pertaining to a wide range of retirement, pension, and welfare plan issues. His experience includes counseling on fiduciary duty compliance, prohibited transaction avoidance and correction, reporting and disclosure issues, mergers and acquisitions due diligence, QDROs, as well as COBRA, HIPAA, and other benefits issues. Mr. Shaevsky represents clients undergoing IRS and U.S. Department of Labor audits.

Mr. Shaevsky is a past Chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the Taxation Section of the State Bar of Michigan and a past Chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the Oakland County Bar Association. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Michigan Employee Benefits Conference. Mr. Shaevsky is also a member of the American Bar Association (taxation section). He has served as an appointed member of the West Bloomfield Township Wetland Review Board, and he previously served as an assistant cub scout den leader (Pack 1039).

Mr. Shaevsky is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, where he teaches employee benefits law.

Prior to joining Butzel Long, Mr. Shaevsky was engaged as in-house counsel to Comerica Bank's Institutional Trust Department, counseling and advising business owners and managers with regard to retirement plan issues and general compliance issues. He has assisted with the formulation of a multitude of business decisions and policies.

Mr. Shaevsky has counseled charter schools on a variety of educational and governmental compliance issues. He also has experience counseling public entities on the Open Meetings Act, Freedom of Information Act, and conflict of interest issues.

Speaking Engagements

"Fiduciary Workshop", Schoolcraft College, October 2019

"The Beginning to End: Mergers & Terminations", Audits of Employee Benefit Plans Forum, Laurel Manor, Livonia, May 2019

"Fiduciary Workshop", Schoolcraft College, October 2018

“Audits of Employee Benefit Plans Forum”, Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, May 2018

“Fiduciary Workshop”, Schoolcraft College, October 2017

“Fiduciary Workshop”, Schoolcraft College, October 2016

Employee Benefits: Traps for the Unwary, Butzel Long Labor, Employment, Benefits, and Immigration Law Forum (October 2016)

"Fiduciary Workshop", Walsh College, October 2015

"Understanding Self-Funded Health Insurance", Management Education Center, Sponsored by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan, July 2014

"Employee Benefits Update", Butzel Long, April 2014

"Be Prepared: Next Steps Under Health Care Reform, and Self-Audit Steps to Avoid Common Employee Benefit Errors", 26th Annual Labor, Employment, and Immigration Law Forum, Butzel Long, November 2013

"Healthcare Reform: What You Need to Know", Management Education Center, Sponsored by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan, May 2013

"HIPAA 'Mega Rule' Breakfast Briefing", Automation Alley, March 2013

"Is Your Health Plan Compliant and Are You Prepared for 2013 and Beyond?", Butzel Long, March 2013

"Health Care Reform: Is Your Business Prepared?", Oakland County Bar Association, February 2013


  • University of Michigan 1989, B.A., with high distinction, Angell Scholar
  • University of Michigan Law School 1992, J.D., magna cum laude, The Order of the Coif; Michigan Law Review: Contributing Editor


Best Lawyers' 2014 Detroit Litigation - ERISA "Lawyer of the Year"

The Best Lawyers in America, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law; Litigation - ERISA, 2011-2021

DBusiness Top Lawyers in Metro Detroit, Employee Benefits Law, 2013-2021

Leading Lawyer - Michigan, 2016


  • Michigan


Western Michigan University Cooley Law School - Adjunct Professor

State Bar of Michigan - Past Chair, Employee Benefits Committee, Taxation Section (2009-2011)

Oakland County Bar Association - Past Chair of the Employee Benefits Committee (2009-2010)

Michigan Employee Benefits Conference - Board of Directors (2008-2009)

West Bloomfield Township Wetland Review Board (2007-2009)

American Bar Association - Taxation Section


  • Terminated multiple defined benefit pension plans
  • Section 401(k) Plans (drafting plan documents and answering legal/compliance issues)
  • Section 403(b) Plans (drafting plan documents and answering legal/compliance issues)
  • Defined Benefit Pension Plans (drafting plan documents and answering legal/compliance issues)
  • Analysis of affiliated service group rules under Internal Revenue Code
  • Analysis of controlled group rules under Internal Revenue Code
  • Plan operational errors and plan document errors - identified and corrected (through IRS EPCRS program and DOL VFCP program)
  • Welfare Plans (drafting plan documents and answering legal/compliance issues)
  • Advised clients on COBRA compliance
  • On behalf of employer, successfully negotiated with IRS the ability to correct section 401(k) plan administration errors which had been repeatedly occurring for 18 consecutive years
  • Represented health plans in coordination-of-benefits lawsuits involving automobile no-fault insurance carriers
  • Advised client on ERISA prohibited transaction implications of welfare plan consultant's receipt of commissions from insurance company
  • Advised foreign corporation with U.S. division regarding correction of significant and multiyear section 401(k) plan administration errors and analyzed controlled group and qualified separate lines of business (QSLOB) issues for foreign corporation
  • Assisted employer which sponsors union defined benefit pension plan with negotiations with Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) regarding PBGC desire to terminate plan
  • Assisted tier one automotive supplier in analyzing defined benefit plan funding restrictions and correction of misapplication of benefit distribution and benefit accrual limitations
  • Amended and restated 14 defined benefit pension plans of major tier one automotive supplier and filed them with the IRS.
  • Assisted large manufacturing company in responding to Pension Protection Act funding limitations on plan distributions and benefit accruals, including union implications
  • Advised tier 1 automotive supplier regarding correction of novel and significant multiyear FICA reporting and withholding errors pertaining to contributions to executive deferred compensation plan
  • Advised manufacturing client on fiduciary duty implications and best practices of allocating expenses among multiple qualified retirement plans
  • Negotiated with the IRS to allow retroactive amendment to pension plan eligibility language for large manufacturing company to exclude large group of employees not intended to benefit, preventing multi-million dollar liability
  • Retiree Medical Plans (drafting plan documents and answering legal/compliance issues)
  • Advised large tier one automotive supplier plan on obligation to provide internal plan and fiduciary committee documents to participants upon request
  • Advised manufacturing clients on ability to modify or terminate retiree health care benefits for union and non-union employees
  • Represented employer (employing more than 10,000 individuals) in negotiations with long term disability carrier and life insurance carrier regarding terms and conditions of new insurance contracts
  • Assisted client in response to PBGC's potential unilateral ability to terminate a defined benefit plan when PBGC believed plan posed reasonable risk


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