Lawrence Cagney is a retired partner and currently is of counsel to the firm. He is a former member and Chair of the firm’s Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits Group. His practice was dedicated to the design of compensation plans and programs for public and private companies and assisting them with related SEC reporting requirements and tax issues. Mr. Cagney also represented companies and individuals in structuring employment terms for senior executives as well as the unwind of such arrangements. In addition, Mr. Cagney advised financial services clients and investment funds on the fiduciary responsibility provisions of ERISA with respect to the investment of pension plan assets, including VCOC, REOC and other plan assets issues.

Chambers USA (2024) ranked Mr. Cagney in the top tier for employee benefits and executive compensation law, where he was described as “super innovative and creative.” In previous editions of the guide, clients have noted that he is “one of the most sophisticated attorneys in this area of law,” “the best ERISA lawyer” who is “in a league of his own” and “a deep thinker with a deep knowledge of the practice area and a strong, analytical mind.” According to one source, he is “one of the best attorneys I’ve ever worked with,” adding, “he is smart, thoughtful, creative and patient.” He is also described as “a world-class executive compensation expert,” and clients have said that he is “an amazing listener and is incredibly thoughtful”; others have also noted that “if he doesn’t have an answer to a problem, then there is no answer.” Mr. Cagney is also recognized as a leading lawyer by The Legal 500 US (2023) and is a member of its “Hall of Fame.” The guide has stated that he is “held in high regard on all matters relating to executive compensation” and he is “incredibly knowledgeable and expert.” According to clients, he is “incredible… he is thoughtful and insightful and has so much experience. He is a real gem!”

Mr. Cagney was a frequent speaker and the author of numerous articles on executive compensation and issues pertaining to the investment under ERISA of plan assets by qualified employee benefit plans.

Mr. Cagney joined Debevoise in 1986. He received his A.B. from Fordham University in 1978 and his J.D. from Georgetown Law School in 1981.


  • Georgetown University Law Center, 1981, J.D.
  • Fordham University, 1978, A.B.

Bar Admissions

  • New York