John Kirk is, in all probability, the only Graydon attorney who can even now occasionally do a kickflip. That’s where you’re riding on on your skateboard, you jump up a foot or so (that’s called an “ollie”) and, through an amazingly complex sleight-of-foot maneuver, you cause the board to spin on a horizontal axis. Then you land and keep skating along as if nothing remarkable has happened. But it has.
John took up skateboarding around the age of 10 growing up in Walton, Kentucky. He says it took forever to learn to do a kickflip. “I fell a lot and probably knocked myself out a couple times,” he says, “but it was worth it.”
Now in his early 40s, John still gets on a skateboard a couple times a week, only now he wears a helmet. He helped build portions of the skateboard park under the I-471 bridge across from Newport High’s football stadium. “The thing I like about skateboarding is that there aren’t any rules and no referees. You just go out and have fun.”
John’s dad was a Vietnam veteran who owned his own distribution business selling machine tools. His mom, now retired, was a teacher for nearly 30 years. While John’s dad died when John was a junior in college, he taught John a lot. Both his parents always taught him empathy for others and to always consider the other person’s perspective before speaking or acting.
John met his wife, Casey, their first week as freshman at Georgetown College. She didn’t know John, but she had waited for years at the old Po’ Folks restaurant in Erlanger on John’s Grandma Helen, who happened to be an old friend of her own grandmother. John and Casey married after his first year of law school at the University of Kentucky. They now live in Union, KY and have a son, Jack, and a daughter, Nancy, and three cats.
John was never much into Boy Scouts as a kid, but Jack is. That’s why a good chunk of John’s time these days is given to being the Scoutmaster of Troop 805, based at the Union Presbyterian Church in Union, Kentucky. As a Scoutmaster, John has hiked a 100 miles through New Mexico, canoed all over the Midwest, and helped many young people grow their self-confidence and leadership skills.
His taste in music leans toward punk rock and heavy metal, the Ramones and the Misfits. The first concert he took Jack to was Iron Maiden; Nancy’s first was the Aquabats. Even with those punk rock leanings, the only thing he ever wanted to be when he grew up was a lawyer. “I don’t remember this but my parents said I wanted to be a lawyer ever since I was a little kid. I really don’t know why I said that but it seemed like a good idea then and seems to have worked out okay.”
He works with Graydon’s employee benefits group. “Benefits isn’t just one thing. You can go to court, draft plan documents, and help employers solve an employee issue all in the same day. I enjoy the variety the area offers. I also enjoy the fact that benefits still has a lot of gray areas within the law. That allows you to be creative within the rules and it is where you find opportunities for your clients.”
John practices exclusively in the employee benefits/executive compensation field. He works with clients to design, implement, and administer all types of retirement, pension, health and welfare employee benefit plans. In addition, he works with clients on all issues related to the offering of benefits to employees, including the following:
- Health Care Reform
- CARES Act
- SECURE Act
- Reporting and disclosure requirements
- COBRA and HIPAA
- Cafeteria plans (including health and dependent care flexible spending accounts), and;
- HSAs, FSAs, and HRAs
Immediately prior to joining Graydon, John was in-house counsel and Director of Compliance for USI, the largest insurance brokerage firm in Ohio and Kentucky, and one of the largest benefits brokers in the nation. Prior to USI, John was in private practice in Nashville, TN and Northern KY. He began his career at the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration where he was involved in employee benefits compliance investigation matters.
A significant part of John’s practice is to represent clients on employee benefit matters involving the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, in disputes, plan audits, and IRS and DOL plan correction programs. He also counsel clients on employee benefits issues which arise in connection with mergers, acquisitions and other business transactions. John lives in Union, KY with his wife, Casey, son, Jack, and daughter, Nancy.