Tripp VanderWal is a Member in Miller Johnson’s Business Section.  He is a member of the firm’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, Family Owned Business and Closely Held Companies, and Privacy and Cybersecurity groups, and Health Care Reform Team.  He was also a member of the firm’s COVID-19 Response Team and assisted clients comply with rapid requirements imposed on group health plans in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Tripp advises private, public and non-profit employers of all sizes in all areas of employee benefits.  His representation includes counseling employers with benefit plan design; drafting plan documents, summary plan descriptions, and other employee communications; assisting employers with regulatory compliance, including audits by the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor and Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Civil Rights.  Tripp also assists employers comply with federal and state laws in responding to breaches of personal information.

Tripp is also a Certified Public Accountant.  Before joining Miller Johnson, he practiced as a tax accountant for a large regional accounting firm assisting both corporate entities and individuals comply with various tax filing requirements.  He is a past recipient of the State Bar of Michigan, Tax Student Achievement Award.  In 2018, Tripp was listed as an Associate to Watch in Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation by Chambers USA.  In 2021, he was listed in the Ones to Watch list in Employee Benefits (ERISA) law by Best Lawyers in America®.

Tripp is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and Grand Rapids Bar Association.

Mr. VanderWal has experience in most types of employee benefit plans, including: group health plans; Section 125 cafeteria plans; disability plans; 401(k) plans; ESOPs; 403(b) plans; 457 deferred compensation plans; and nonqualified deferred compensation plans.  Specifically, Tripp has assisted clients with the following:

Group Health Plans

Tripp has represented clients with respect to all aspects of federal and state law compliance applicable to employer-sponsored group health plans, such as ERISA, the Affordable Care Act, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, COBRA, HIPAA, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, No Surprises Act, etc.  He also assists employers with claim disputes and coordination of benefit issues.

He has represented clients in audits of their group health plans by the Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of Health and Human Services – Office for Civil Rights.

Tripp works with a number of association health plans with respect to annual and periodic federal filing requirements and has requested an Advisory Opinion from the Department of Labor with respect to the plan’s bona fide association health plan status.

He has significant experience in drafting, reviewing, and revising all types of group health plan required documents, such as plan documents, summary plan descriptions, summary of material modifications and other participant communications.

Plan Design

Tripp works closely with clients to design health and welfare plans to achieve objectives such as talent acquisition and talent retention.  He takes a creative approach so the clients understand all of their plan design options, including their benefits, risks, and administrative complexities.


Tripp works closely with the firm’s Mergers and Acquisitions group on buy-side and sell-side transactions with respect to group health and welfare benefit compliance.  He has successfully identified numerous compliance issues protecting buyers from future liabilities and mitigating seller exposure for past failures.

Tripp participated in the following transactions:

  • Miller Johnson Represents Uniband in Sale to Beltservice Corporation
  • Miller Johnson Represents IKON EFS in Sale to SitelogIQ, Inc.
  • Miller Johnson Represents Continuum Ventures in Acquisition of Action Water Sports
  • Miller Johnson Represents Shareholders of MGC Diagnostics Corporation in Sale to CAIRE, Inc.
  • Miller Johnson Represents Altus Capital Partners in Acquisition of Winsert, LLC
  • Miller Johnson Represents Andronaco Industries in Sale to EagleTree Capital
  • Miller Johnson Represents Zeeland Lumber & Supply in its Sale to US LBM
  • Miller Johnson Represents SpendMend in Acquisition of Turnkey Pharmacy Solutions and Elevate340B

Labor and Employment

Tripp also works closely with the firm’s Labor and & Employment Group.  Specifically, he has participated and assisted the firm’s labor lawyers with respect to union negotiations over health and welfare compliance issues as well as plan designs.  He also works with employment lawyers on non-compete, employment, and severance agreements.

External Relationships

Tripp maintains great relationships with employee benefit agents, consultants, and brokers on the local, state, and national levels.  In fact, he represents a number of these agencies and individuals to ensure that they are providing their clients with top-notch service.  Tripp appreciates a holistic approach to employee benefits and works well with clients’ agents, brokers, and consultants to ensure clients are able to provide employees with the best health and welfare benefits in a cost-efficient and tax-advantaged manner.

Continuing Education

Tripp is passionate about being up-to-date on the most recent developments, laws, and regulations related to all aspects of employee benefits.  He frequently attends benefit related webinars, seminars, conferences and is an avid reader of all benefit issues.  He is a quintessential “employee benefits nerd.”  He also enjoys sharing these updates with clients through webinars, in-person trainings and client alerts.


  • Post-Election — What Does This Mean for Employers’ Health Care Strategies? Webinar January 12, 2017