Professional Bio

  • For 30 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 currently serves as immediate Past President of the prestigious American College of Employee Benefits Counsel after previous terms as its Treasurer, Vice-President, and President. Mark is Chambers-rated, and works regularly with the American Benefits Council (where he was an executive board member for many years).

    Mark's clients include public and private companies; he also has significant experience with not-for-profit organizations from both a governance and a 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 also teaches at Georgetown Law School. His courses have 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 and .

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

  • Notable Publications

    • An Ounce of Litigation Prevention for Executive Benefits...and Severance: Lessons from an Employer's Quagmire in New Jersey - The Wagner Law Group Law Alert, May 22, 2019
    • Too Much Employer Stock? Don't Ignore Diversification," Law 360 (July 12, 2018)
    • “Introduction to the Executive & Director Compensation Reference Guide,” Bloomberg (Summer 2018)
    • "Hitting Workplace Harassers Where It Hurts," National Law Journal (Jan. 2018).
    • "U.S. Executive Compensation Litigation: Cannons to the Right ... and to the Left" (International Pension Lawyer, April 2013)
    • "What Private Equity Managers Need to Know to Limit Their ERISA Obligations for Portfolio Company Pension Plans" (Bloomberg BNA, Nov. 2012)
    • "Candor for Compensation Committees" (Corporate Board Member, 11/2011)
    • "Crossing the Pond in Search of Better Executive Compensation Practices" (Corporate Governance Advisor, 3/10/2011)
    • "Executive Pay and Loyalty: From Velvet Fist to Iron Glove" (Corporate Governance Advisor, 1/2010)
    • "Say Hello to Smart Good-byes: ERISA and Severance Planning" (Legal Times, 6/2008)


    • Employee Benefits: Identifying ERISA liabilities; Integrating seller’s and buyer’s plans; Transferring plan assets; Utilizing surplus plan assets; ESOPs - Mark Poerio, speaker, Practising Law Institute's Acquiring or Selling the Privately Held Company 2019, June 18 - 19, 2019, New  York, NY - More details here
    • Being Smart About M&A-Related Benefit Plan and Employment Issues - Co-panelist with David Gabor, Izzy Goldowitz and Roberta Watson, The Wagner Law Group FREE webinar, June 11, 2019, 1:00 - 2:00 PM (ET) - Recording available here - PowerPoint slides available here
    • Navigating the Intersection Between ERISA and Trusts & Estates - Mark Poerio, co-speaker on American College of Employee Benefits Counsel member teleconference, January 23, 2019
    • Hot Topics in Director and Executive Compensation - Mark Poerio, speaker at the Society for Corporate Governance Middle Atlantic Chapter 2018 Fall Conference, November 14, 2018 - More Details Here
    • Hot Topics in Mergers and Acquisitions – Mark Poerio, speaker, at the American Bar Association Joint Committee On Employee Benefits 2018 Executive Compensation National Institute, November 8 – 9, 2018, Hogan Lovells, Washington, DC  - More details here
    • Nonprofits Grapple With Shifting 457(f) Landscape -  PLANSPONSOR, October 16, 2018
    • Tax Exempt Organizations: Governance, Design and Taxation of Executive Compensation - Dan Brandenburg and Mark Poerio, Free Webinar, October 16, 2018 - View Presentation Here
    • Tax Change Aside, Companies Stick With Executive
      Performance Pay - 
      Mark Poerio quoted, Bloomberg Law, October 9, 2018


    •  “Introduction to Employee Benefits:  Executive Compensation” - Georgetown University School of Law Graduate Tax Program (2016- present)
    • "Executive Compensation: Business, Securities and Tax Aspects” - Georgetown University School of Law Graduate Tax and Graduate Securities Law Programs (2008-2015)
    • "Executive Pay and Loyalty: From Restrictive Covenants to Clawbacks” - Georgetown University School of Law Graduate Tax Program (2009-2011)
    • "Employee Stock Ownership Plans: ESOP Fundamentals and Business Purposes” - Georgetown University School of Law Graduate Tax Program (2007)
  • Bar Admissions

    • District of Columbia
    • Maryland
    • New York
    • Massachusetts (retired)

    Professional and Community Involvement

    • American College of Employee Benefit Counsel – President and Board Member
    • American Benefits Council – Executive Board (2013 - 2018)
    • Georgetown Law School --Adjunct Professor, 2007-2016
    • Maryland Association of Social Service Boards -- Past Vice-Chair and Head of Legislative Committee; Pro bono Counsel for federal tax matters since 2004
    • MASSB Foundation -- Founder and Trustee (raising funds for social services involving child protection and family preservation)
    • Cornell Law School, J.D., 1984 (cum laude)
    • University of Virginia, B.A., 1980 (cum laude)
    • 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