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Deborah Groban Olson

Name: Deborah Groban Olson
Title: Attorney

p: 313-331-7821 (o); 313-300-6517 (c)
f: 313-331-2567
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Deborah Groban Olson is an attorney with over 32 years' experience specializing in creating and advising employee-owned companies, ESOPs and cooperatives, representing companies, trusts, selling owners, employees and unions ( She is Executive Director of the Center for Community Based Enterprise, Inc. (C2BE), an education and technical assistance center for employee owned businesses and cooperative development. She is former chair of the National Center for Employee Ownership. She has written and spoken extensively about ESOPs throughout the US and Europe. Admitted to the bar in MI. WI and IL. She graduated Order of the Coif, University of Wisconsin Law School 1976.


1973-76    University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, Wisconsin, J.D. 1976, Order of the Coif
1967-71    University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, B.A. with honors 1971, psychology and history


1989- Present    Private practice specialized in employee ownership
1997-2006    Founding executive director of the Capital Ownership Group (COG),, a global on-line network and think tank on using broad ownership to address globalization challenges, operating from Kent State University, and director of COG’s Alfred P. Sloan Foundation funded Fair Exchange Project at    
1982–1989     Founding executive director of the Michigan Employee Ownership Center                             
1980 –1981     Practiced civil rights and labor law at Youngdahl, Larrison & Agee in Little Rock, Arkansas
1977 – 1979     Solo labor law practice
1976 – 1977     Attorney for the National Labor Relations Board and then practiced with labor law firms: Schneidman & Meyers, and Perry First in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Professional Associations
AV rating from Martindale Hubbell since 1997; Participant, Corporation 2020 (policy working group); Member, AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee; Leadership Detroit XVII, Detroit Chamber of Commerce; Michigan Bar Tax, Labor & Corporation Sections Member. Bar Admissions: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Arkansas. Past Affiliations: Board Chair, National Center for Employee Ownership; Board of Directors, European Federation of Employed Shareholders; Board of Trustees, Michigan Housing Trust Fund; Vice-Chair, Michigan Chapter of the ESOP Association; Founding Chair, JointCities Development Corporation; Wisconsin Committee on Occupational Safety and Health.         

Her publications, available at, include: “Union Experiences with Worker Ownership” 1982 Wis. LR 729; “Keeping Jobs and Capital at Home” 1984 Nova Law Journal 583; “Employee Ownership and Economic Development” 1987 NYU Review of Law & Social Change; “Unions and Employee Ownership”, ESOP Handbook (Probus, 1989); “Unions and Fair Market Value: An Argument for a Safe Harbor for Negotiated ESOPs”, 1992 Journal of Employee Ownership Law & Finance 135; “ESOPs for People, Not for Wall Street,” 1993 Journal of Employee Ownership Law and Finance 5; “Development, Growth & Experience of ESOPs and Democratic Employee Buyouts” speech at Int’l. Conference on Democratic Employee Ownership, Dublin, Ireland 1993; “Giving Employee Owners a Real Voice as Stockholders: Legislative Proposals to the Dunlop Commission”, 1994 Journal of Employee Ownership Law & Finance; “The Employee Buyout Feasibility Study”, Leveraged ESOPs and Employee Buyouts, NCEO 1997 (updated 2005), “The Feasibility Study for an Employee Led Buyout” Winter 1998, Journal of Employee Ownership Law & Finance. Summary of “Capital Ownership Group Industrial Homestead Policy Proposals” Business Ethics September 2000 and Accountability, December 2000; Chap. 17 “Labor Unions”, ESOP Answer Book, Panel Publishers, July 2000; “Fair Exchange: Providing citizens with equity managed by a community trust in return for government subsidies or tax breaks to businesses”, Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy (2006) – for policy conference at George Washington Univ. Law School ; Scan of Community Based Enterprise Innovations and their Application to Detroit, C2BE 2009.

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