Lauren and her family are all members of Ohio River Valley Lodge 231, located in Martins Ferry, Ohio, which was founded by her great-grandfather. However, its most distinguished member is her father, James Nichelson, Past Grand Exalted Ruler (2009-210). A fact unknown to many, the Elks organization is one of the largest service organizations in the country.
Lauren Gresh is a distinguished employee benefits attorney who brings nearly two decades of experience in benefits management and administration. Having previously served as in-house counsel to a million-member Ohio public pension fund, Lauren has successfully created new health care trusts and plans for over 140,000 participants, modernized health care trusts and plans for ease of operation, Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance and tax reporting, and advised transactional staff in consultant and vendor procurement processes and contract negotiations.
Lauren’s practice also focuses on legislative strategy, lobbying and education to legislators and stakeholders. She has drafted legislation for Ohio’s public pension funds and has participated in the budget bill process.
Committed to education and making sure that her clients are aware of current regulations, Lauren frequently conducts training and gives presentations on policies, procedures and legal issues, most recently on the topics of post-marital property division, criminal restitution and innovative health care solutions for plan sponsors.
COVID-19 management counseling
Helped clients understand their legal obligations under new labor and employment laws passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Drafted work-from-home, leave, and reopening policies; advised on mass layoff obligations, terminations, furloughs, unemployment issues, and alternative work arrangements; and recommended best practices for essential workers, safe reopening, employee testing and health assessments, employee travel, and face covering requirements.
Sexual harassment and retaliation claims against a physician
Advised a hospital board of trustees regarding an investigation into the CEO’s handling of an employee’s sexual harassment and retaliation claims against a supervising physician. Negotiated transition package for the CEO and the removal of the accused physician from the hospital.
Financing and conversion of public hospital to nonprofit business
Assisted Adams County Regional Medical Center in its conversion from a county-owned hospital to a private health care provider. The transaction required obtaining bond financing for the acquisition and conversion of the hospital facilities, real property and assets, and resulted in the continuation of local care for Adams County residents.
Conversion of public hospital and affiliation with large health care system
Advised a government-owned hospital and worked with elected officials to convert a public hospital into a nonprofit business and large health care system affiliate. The transaction involved unique and negotiated features necessary to satisfy elected officials’ priorities, the community’s needs for local health care access, and the opportunities and efficiencies available through affiliation with a sophisticated tertiary care system.
Professional & Community Activities
- Volunteer, Modcon Living
- Member, Ohio Women in Government
- Volunteer, Pro Bono Tenant Advocacy Program, Legal Aid Society of Columbus
- Volunteer, St. Peter’s Open Shelter Ministry
- Secretary, Potter’s Creek Neighborhood Association
- 20-year member, Elks, B.P.O.E Lodge 231
Presentations & Published Works
- Speaker, “Providing Health Benefits to Reemployed Retired Teachers,” 2019 National Conference on Teachers Retirements, October 2019
- Speaker, “ERISA Welfare Plans and Wellness Programs – How Employers Identify and Avoid Common Mistakes,” Bricker & Eckler 2019 Hot Topics in Employment Law Seminar, October 2019
- Speaker, "ERISA Welfare Plans 101," Columbus Bar Association Health Care Law Committee Meeting, September 2019
- Speaker, “Non-Profit Executive Compensation and 4960,” Ohio Hospital Association Annual Conference, June 2019
- Panel, “Bargaining Trends in Ohio – 2018,” Ohio School Boards Association Capital Conference, November 2018
- Speaker, “Employment Tax and Benefit Considerations in M&A,” Bricker & Eckler's Hot Topics in Employment Law Seminar, November 2018
Bar Admissions & Activities
- Admitted, State of Ohio, 2000
- Admitted, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio
Awards & Recognition
- Recipient, OPERS Neil V. Toth Leadership Award
- Capital University (J.D., order of the curia), 2000
- The Ohio State University (B.A. in Political Science, cum laude), 1997
Over the past 18 years, Lauren's donated 8 gallons (64 units) of blood, which, according to the Red Cross, has impacted 192 lives. Lauren loves to donate, because it often helps people in their worst time of need. It also reminds her to be thankful for her own health and helps her appreciate and honor the great example of blood donation set by her mother.