Jonathan F. Lewis is the Chair of the firm’s Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group and co-leads the People Solutions Group in New York. For more information on the firm’s People Solutions initiative, please click here. His practice encompasses all aspects of executive compensation and the deployment of human capital. The scope of his practice includes:

  • Public and private mergers and acquisitions, with an emphasis on the special issues raised in the private equity, healthcare and insurance sectors.
  • The design and operation of compensation plans and programs for both public and private companies, including related tax, accounting, governance and disclosure concerns.
  • The investment of the assets of ERISA pension plans in funds and separately managed vehicles, with significant experience of these issues in the private equity, insurance and real estate sectors.
  • Counselling public and private companies on sensitive matters relating to senior executives and their compensation, including hirings, departures and compensatory arrangements. For a summary of the considerations raised by these matters, please click here.
  • Representation of individual executives and management teams.

Mr. Lewis is recognized by Chambers USA (2024) as a leader in Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation. Clients say that he brings “a pragmatic approach to negotiations,” he is “excellent” and “incredibly hands-on; he is always available and super-commercial.” He has also been described as “a fantastic lawyer” whose “judgment, critical thinking and bedside manner are differentiating.” He is said to be “very smart, thoughtful and commercial,” “an outstanding lawyer,” and “a superstar” with “incredible knowledge of a complex field, he is very practical and gives advice that is appreciated from a client’s perspective.” The Legal 500 US (2023) also recommends Mr. Lewis as a Leading Lawyer, where clients have praised his “creative and practical approach.”

Mr. Lewis is a frequent writer on legal developments regarding employee benefits and executive compensation. He is the author of “Private Equity and Hedge Fund Arrangements,” a chapter in Section 409A Handbook (BNA Books, 2d ed. 2016; 3rd ed. 2022); and author or co-author of “Debevoise Discusses Shareholder Climate Activism and 401(k) Plans,” CLS Blue Sky Blog (June, 2022); “Debevoise Discusses the Labor Department’s Proposal on ESG and ERISA,” CLS Blue Sky Blog (October, 2021); “DOL Fiduciary Rule Delayed: So What Should You Be Doing Now?,” Compliance Reporter (April, 2017); the Russian chapter of “Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits,” Getting The Deal Through, (July, 2015); and “Counting To 80,” Private Equity Manager (August, 2013). Mr. Lewis is also a frequent speaker at seminars and conferences, including Practicing Law Institute’s “Cool Compensation Considerations for the Private Company” (2017-2023).

Mr. Lewis received his B.A. from Harvard College in 1990 and his J.D. with high honors from The George Washington University Law School in 1994, where he was editor-in-chief of The George Washington Law Review. Mr. Lewis served as a law clerk to the Hon. Stewart Dalzell in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from 1994 to 1996.


  • George Washington University Law School, 1994, J.D.
  • Harvard University, 1990, A.B.

Bar Admissions

  • New York