Grace, Deborah L.
T: 248-433-7217
F: 248-433-7274


Kalamazoo College

B.A., 1979

Wayne State University School of Law

J.D., 1983

Deborah L. Grace


Prominent Assignments

Principal employee benefits counsel to public and private companies, advising them on all aspects of the design, implementation and administration of all types of retirement plans, including 401(k), profit sharing, defined benefit, ESOP, SEP, SIMPLE-IRAs, 403(b), and 457 plans.

Extensive experience advising companies on the design, implementation and administration of insured and self-insured medical plans, dental plans, life insurance, disability, and cafeteria plans, including pre-tax premium plans and flexible spending account plans.

Counsel private companies on the employee benefit issues arising from corporate mergers and acquisitions.

Extensive experience advising public and private companies on ERISA compliance, including advice regarding reporting and disclosure requirements, and fiduciary responsibility, prohibited transaction and plan investment issues.

Substantial experience advising companies on COBRA and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Negotiated favorable results with the IRS under its Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System.

Counsel private companies on executive compensation, including nonqualified deferred compensation plans, SERPs, excess benefit plans, stock option and other equity-based plans, and "rabbi" trusts.  

Counsel plan administrators as to the qualified status of domestic relations orders (QDROs).

Representative Clients

  • ACO, Inc.
  • InterMedia Outdoors, Inc.
  • Clarkston Community Schools
  • Coleman Cable, Inc.
  • Fanuc Robotics America, Inc.
  • Seco Tools Inc.

Professional Involvement

  • Past, Chairman of the Employee Benefits Committee of the Oakland County Bar Association
  • Michigan Bar Association, member of the Employee Benefits Committee of the Tax Section
  • American Bar Association Member, active on the Employee Benefits Committee of the Tax Section
  • Member, ASPPA Governmental Affairs Committee

Community Involvement

  • Legal Counsel to Angels' Place, a Michigan non-profit corporation


  • Presenter, "The Affordable Care Act - Preparing for 2014," Sunrise Seminar (2013)
  • Author, "Determining if the Affordable Care Act "Play or Pay" Rules Apply to a Business," Dickinson Wright Client Alert (January 2013)
  • Author, "Penalties and Measuring Periods for Large Employers," Dickinson Wright Client Alert (February 2013)
  • Co-Author, "The HIPAA "Omnibus" Final Rule," Dickinson Wright Client Alert (January 2013)
  • Co-Author, "Participant Fee Disclosure Deadline Approaching," Dickinson Wright Client Alert (April 2012)
  • Co-Author, "New Rules Aid Plan Fiduciaries," Dickinson Wright Client Alert (April 2012)
  • Presenter, "Know Your Role and Control Your Risk: What Every CEO, CFO or Human Resources Director Should Know About Their Responsibilities In Administering a Retirement Plan," Sunrise Seminar (2011)
  • Presenter, "Yes, You Can Navigate the Maze of the New Health Care Reform Act," Sunrise Seminar (2010)
  • Frequent lecturer for educational and commercial seminars and presentations on 401(k), 403(b), HIPAA and other employee benefits and estate planning topics.
  • Lecturer, Council on Education in Management Health Care Benefits Forum, "Complying with HIPAA and COBRA: Legislative Issues Impacting Your Health Care Plan," 2005
  • Author, "What Steps Must an Employer Take to Comply with the New HIPAA Medical Privacy Law?," Laches, 2003
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