The Wagner Law Group | Est. 1996

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Photo of Mark Poerio

Mark Poerio

Senior Counsel


Washington D.C.

Practice Areas


For nearly 40 years, Mark has been in private practice with a focus on executive compensation, employee benefits (especially ESOPs), and retirement plan fiduciary matters, not only from a tax and labor perspective, but also from a business, governance, tax, securities, and litigation perspective. He is not only a long-term fellow in  the prestigious American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, but served for years as its Treasurer, Vice-President, and then President. Mark is Chambers-rated, and has worked regularly with the American Benefits Council (where he was an executive board member for many years).

Mark’s clients include public and private companies, as well as individual executives and management teams; he also has significant experience with not-for-profit organizations from both a governance and an executive compensation perspective. His business oriented pay-for-performance approach has led to his role as special counsel to compensation committees, as well as to his spearheading of projects designed to link executive compensation to corporate goals and to the enforcement of post-employment covenants relating to trade secrets and restrictive covenants (such as non-competition agreements).

Mark taught for over a decade at Georgetown Law School. His courses focused on executive compensation and governance, the design of benefit plans and employment-related agreements, and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). Associated with those courses is his substantively rich website found at

Prior to joining The Wagner Law Group, Mark served for almost 20 years as co-chair of the employee benefits (ERISA) practice and was a partner at a prominent international Wall Street law firm of 1,000 attorneys.

Publications & Media

 Notable Publications




  • Cornell Law School, Ithaca, New York
    • J.D. - 1984
    • Honors: cum laude
    • Honors: With Honors
  • University of Virginia
    • B.A. - 1980
    • Honors: cum laude
    • Honors: With Honors

Bar Admissions

  • New York
  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland

Professional Associations

  • American College of Employee Benefit Counsel, President
  • American College of Employee Benefit Counsel, Board Member
  • American Benefits Council, Executive Board, 2013 to 2018
  • Maryland Association of Social Service Boards, Head of Legislative Committee
  • Georgetown Law School --Adjunct Professor, 2007-2016
  • Maryland Association of Social Service Boards, Vice-Chair, 2004
  • Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services, Director and Past Chair, 1998

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Maryland Association of Social Service Boards, Pro Bono Counsel for federal tax matters, 2004 to Present
  • MASSB Foundation - Founder, Treasurer and Trustee, 2007 to Present


  • Best Lawyers, 2013-Present
  • Chambers USA America's Leading Lawyers for Business, 2016-Present
  • Washington, D.C. Super lawyers List - Top Rated Employee Benefits Attorney in Washington, DC, 2013-2018

Past Positions

  • Georgetown University Law School, Adjunct Professor

Law Alerts

New Fire for Enforcing Forfeiture-for-Competition Provisions

By Mark Poerio and Jordan Mamorsky The enforceability of non-compete provisions continues to be in the national spotlight. In a very recent Delaware Supreme Court decision, Cantor Fitzgerald, L.P. v. Ainslie, involving a partnership dispute at the investment firm,...

409A Checklist for Employment Agreements

It has been over 15 years since Congress enacted Internal Revenue Code §409A, and compliance has become generally routine for traditional deferred compensation and other non-qualified plans. Most mistakes tend to arise when no one thinks to involve 409A experts for...

Rabbi Trusts – When to ask. What to get.

By Mark Poerio A recent Law360 headline brought rabbi trusts immediately to mind. It reads "Ex-Manufacturing Co. CEO Says He's Owed $4.4M in Benefits" (4/10/2019).* Litigation sprung because the retired CEO expected to receive monthly supplemental retirement benefits...