Biography

Accomplished employee benefits attorney Sharon Lippett helps companies design and administer employee benefit plans that contribute to the retention and motivation of their employees. A patient and keen listener, Sharon creates compliant, unambiguous employee benefit plans that address her clients’ needs. Her clients (which include large companies across multiple industries and locations with individually designed employee benefit plans) also value Sharon’s practical, commercial advice regarding plan administration and communication.

Sharon helps her clients comply with the myriad legal requirements applicable to employee benefit plans. With an MBA and prior work experience as an employee benefits manager at a global telecommunications company, Sharon combines business acumen with legal knowledge to solve the benefits-related problems her clients face.

Fiduciaries (including investment fiduciaries of plans sponsored by employers in the financial services industry) seek Sharon’s advice on plan governance and best practices for plan fiduciaries, the administration of retirement plans and welfare plans, and on the formulation and implementation of policies for the investment of retirement plan assets.

Sharon counsels employers on the design, administration, and regulatory compliance of tax-qualified defined benefit and defined contribution plans, non-qualified deferred compensation plans, and other arrangements. She drafts plan documents, summary plan descriptions, and agreements between plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries, and plan service providers, such as trustees, record keepers, asset managers, third-party administrators, insurers, and auditors. Clients also rely on Sharon for advice on compensation and benefit matters and legal compliance (related to ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, and HIPAA) in connection with corporate transactions and plan terminations.

Before joining Epstein Becker Green, Sharon was an attorney in the Compensation, Governance & ERISA Group of a large global law firm.

Experience

  • Interpreted newly promulgated IRS regulations to amend and restate cash balance pension plans. Sharon responded to IRS queries regarding the plan, and the clients received determination letters from the IRS for the plans.
  • Drafted a legal memorandum required by the client’s CFO as a condition of approving the termination of the client’s pension plan. The memo addressed all of the issues raised by the CFO, who then approved the pension plan termination in the required timeframe.
  • Counseled a tax-exempt entity on the application of Section 457(f) of the Internal Revenue Code covering ineligible deferred compensation plans of tax-exempt entities. 
  • Obtained IRS approval of a client’s application regarding the correction of pension plan calculations for several hundred participants over a 20-year period. Sharon provided the IRS with a clearly drafted summary of the correction methodology, with examples. The IRS issued a compliance statement approving the correction methodology, which protects the client from audits and sanctions related to these corrections.
  • Provided advice and counsel relating to correction of operational failures under Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code affecting the client’s senior executive.
  • Served as benefits counsel to sponsors of tax-qualified and non-qualified retirement plans.
  • Advised various asset managers on the requirements applicable to an ERISA plan asset fund.
Education
  • Rutgers University School of Law – Newark (J.D.)
  • New York University, Stern School of Business (M.B.A., with distinction)
  • Washington University (B.A.)
    • Phi Beta Kappa
Bar Admissions
  • New York
Recognition
  • The Legal 500 United States, recommended attorney, Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation, and Retirement Plans: Design (2017 to 2019, 2021)