Jeffrey T. Gray represents public and private employers in employee benefits and executive compensation matters.  He is a Member at Miller Johnson.

Mr. Gray supports employers with respect to designing and administering qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, creating deferred compensation and bonus plans, negotiating executive employment and severance agreements, defending agency audits (IRS and DOL), developing and implementing strategies for employee benefit plans in mergers and acquisitions, including ESOP transactions, and resolving disputes between benefit plans and their participants.

As a former in-house counsel for one of the world’s largest direct selling companies, Mr. Gray sees legal issues from the client’s perspective.  To be effective, he firmly believes attorneys must be good business partners.

Qualified Plans

Mr. Gray works closely with employers of all sizes – from small nonprofits to large multi-national and publicly-traded companies – regarding daily administration of tax-qualified defined contribution and defined benefit plans.  Answering compliance questions, drafting plan amendments, assisting employers in correcting administration errors, and preparing participant communications are a large portion of his practice.

Mr. Gray’s practice also includes pension risk transfers (PRTs).  His clients have looked to him for expertise with respect to plan terminations, retiree lift-outs, and buy-in/buy-out arrangements involving large pension plans sponsored by hospital systems and multi-state employers in both union and non-union contexts.  He enjoys anticipating and solving the more difficult issues that can arise in these transactions, including illiquid pension plan assets, missing participants, and the strategic transfer of excess assets to the employer’s other retirement plans.

Nonqualified Plans

Mr. Gray’s practice also includes nonqualified plans and executive compensation generally, including designing, drafting, and providing advice with respect to long-term incentive plans, phantom stock plans, deferred compensation plans, and supplemental executive retirement plans for public, private, and nonprofit employers.  He works with employers in developing these plans to incentivize executive performance while meeting applicable IRS and DOL requirements (including Section 409A of the Code and the “top hat” rules under ERISA).

Corporate Transactions

Mr. Gray also routinely assists his corporate colleagues at Miller Johnson regarding retirement plan and executive compensation aspects of mergers and acquisitions.  He has expertise in due diligence and transaction strategy for sellers and buyers, including addressing golden parachute, 409A compliance, 401(k) plan compliance, and plan termination issues in connection with the transaction.

Professional Affiliations and Activities

Mr. Gray is admitted to practice in Michigan.  He is a former chair of the Labor and Employment Section of the Grand Rapids Bar Association and is a member of the American Bar Association.

From 2003-2005 Mr. Gray served as law clerk to the Honorable Lawrence P. Zatkoff, Chief Judge, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.


Mr. Gray is a 2003 graduate of the Michigan State University College of Law, where he earned his J.D. summa cum laude. He graduated top of his class and was the recipient of the Amy D. Bloomer Award and the Charles H. King Award. He served as Senior Editor of the Law Review. Mr. Gray received his B.A. in 1999 from Calvin College.