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Meet the Member: Michelle Capezza
Member news | November 21, 2019
In our latest Meet the Member Feature, we were pleased to hear from Michelle Capezza, Member of the Firm at Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. A Francophile, she is pleased to be around international professionals and contribute her knowledge on employee benefits and compensation.
Keep reading to learn more about the challenges faced by today's employers and what they will need to consider to attract and retain workers in the future.
FACC: Epstein Becker Green works across the fields of health care and life sciences, employment, labor, employee benefits and workforce management, litigation and business disputes and transactions in 13 offices across the US. There are currently 101 attorneys in the NY office of the firm. With such a broad scope of practice, is there anything that defines the culture of the practice, or sets apart your mission?
MC: In my view, what sets us apart from many law firms is the fact that since the time the firm was founded in 1973, it has been committed to creating a work environment that promotes diversity of race, gender, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation and accommodates employees with disabilities. We welcome the unique perspectives that a diverse workforce brings to the firm, our clients, and our profession. Our ability to draw on talent from a broad range of cultures, backgrounds, and viewpoints is a key advantage. Further, the Firm instills in each attorney, no matter where they are located, its overall mission which is defined through its Values Commitment statement. We commit to our clients that we will provide them with a diverse team of attorneys to resolve their issues in a responsive, timely and efficient manner while providing thoughtful and creative solutions for business challenges. We also each commit to each other and our staff to work in a collaborative and inclusive environment, to develop each other’s skills and empower each other to work in a respectful and ethical manner. FACC Members can learn more about our Values Commitment here: https://www.ebglaw.com/values-commitment/.
FACC: Can you tell us more about your specific practice specialty? Why are you passionate about this field?
MC: I always wanted to be a lawyer and to be able to provide counsel in an area that would have great social impact. As an employee benefits and executive compensation attorney for organizations of all sizes, I am able to advise employers regarding the numerous compliance requirements for their retirement and health and welfare programs, assist them in designing communication programs for their employees in an understandable manner, advise them regarding the establishment of governance processes and their responsibilities as fiduciaries, assist teams as they navigate through benefits and compensation issues that arise in mergers and transactions, and design programs that will attract, motivate and retain talent. These efforts have a real impact on employees and their families. Now we find ourselves at a time in history when there are massive changes in the workplace-including the rise in independent workers and automation through artificial intelligence. Organizations are thinking through what combinations of people and machines will comprise their workforce now and for years to come. The worker of tomorrow will be different, and the types of benefits and compensation programs employers need to meet the changing demands of their workplaces and their workforce will evolve. I am excited to be able to bring the knowledge that I have gained over the last 23 years to this conversation and hope to be able to shape the programs of the future so that individuals continue to have important access to retirement and health and welfare programs.
FACC: Earlier this year, Epstein Becker Green and Deloitte Legal launched a strategic alliance to address global workforce management issues. In a nutshell, can you resume 3 major challenges companies are facing today? Any predictions for emerging topics that will be of even greater importance in the future?
FACC: The alliance between Epstein Becker Green and Deloitte Legal will enable us, when and where needed, to provide a multidisciplinary team of business and legal professionals who can formulate comprehensive solutions to major workforce issues. There are so many challenges for employers in the current environment, but if I had to highlight three, I would note AI in the workplace, data privacy and security, and the global war on talent. Artificial Intelligence is already being used in human resources departments and there are many legal risks associated with its use—for example, using AI in the hiring process may create potential disparate impact discrimination challenges that employers must address. Also, as AI evolves, we may see displaced workers and a multitude of consequential issues that must be considered, including comprehensive severance and/or transition programs. Cybersecurity risks are continuing to evolve and employers must develop processes and procedures to be vigilant and to comply with a myriad of laws on all levels. Employee benefit plan fiduciaries must also be diligent to ensure there are processes and procedures in place to protect plan participant data and assets. Lastly, I would highlight that as the workplace changes, the war on talent will increase. Employers will need to strategically design their workplace policies, compensation and benefits programs to be an employer of choice for the workers of tomorrow.
FACC: Since joining, you’ve already been an active member and attended three FACC events. What did you most appreciate about these networking opportunities?
MC: The FACC is a wonderful organization to connect with like-minded professionals who are interested in making a difference in their businesses and community. As a former student of French language and literature, I also enjoy the opportunity to socialize with FACC members and experience French culture at events here in NYC. I look forward to connecting with more FACC members and spending time together at more FACC events!
Interested in connecting with Michelle? Log into the FACC Member Directory to send her a message.