Kara’s practice is focused in the areas of Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation. She represents public, private, governmental and non-profit employers in designing and documenting retirement plans, welfare benefit plans, fringe benefit plans and executive compensation plans.
Prior to joining Smith Anderson, Kara was an associate in the Raleigh office of a regional law firm. Previously, Kara was an intern for Justice Timmons-Goodson at the North Carolina Supreme Court. During law school, she was a merit scholarship recipient and a recipient of the 2010 Gressman-Pollitt Award for Oral Advocacy.
Professional & Community Affiliations
- Board Member, Food Runners Collaborative, 2017-Present, Secretary, 2019
- Board Member, Raleigh Kiwanis Foundation, 2016-2018
- President, Triangle Benefits Forum, 2016-2019
- Board Member, Domestic Violence Action Project, 2010-11
- Member, Civil Legal Assistance Clinic, 2011-12
- North Carolina Bar Association
- Membership Committee, 2017-Present
- YLD Community Relations Committee, 2016-2017
- Wake County Bar Association
Honors & Awards
- Best Lawyers®, "Ones to Watch," Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (2021)
- North Carolina Super Lawyers, Rising Stars (2020)
- Staff Member and Contributing Editor, North Carolina Law Review, 2010-2012
- Represented a North Carolina bank and its parent with respect to the employee benefits aspects of an approximately $220 million merger with another bank.
- Advised a private equity fund and its contract research solutions portfolio company in employee benefits matters related to their acquisition of a statistical programming, consulting, and data management company.
- Advised a company specializing in video game and software development on employee benefits matters related to the definitive agreement to acquire a company that developed a presence-based social networking platform connecting users online through live video on mobile and desktop apps.
Advised a provider of services to people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities on employee benefits matters related to the acquisition of another provider of support and services to help individuals with developmental and physical disabilities.
- Amending and restating qualified retirement plans to comply with the Pension Protection Act and other changes in the law.
- Advising employers regarding designing and administering benefits plans in compliance with the Internal Revenue Code and ERISA.
- Drafting and revising health and welfare plan documents and summary plan descriptions.
- Assisting employers with identifying and correcting plan errors through DOL and IRS compliance programs.
- Reviewing and amending executive compensation arrangements.
Advised a leading CRO in Asia on the employee benefits aspects of its acquisition of CRO assets in the United States.
Advised a publicly-traded health information technologies and clinical research company on the employee benefits aspects of its sale of a consulting line of business.
- Advised a private equity fund on the employee benefits aspects of its acquisition of a specialty pharmaceutical company.
- Advised a leading contract research organization in a definitive agreement to acquire a provider of contract research, clinical and regulatory and other consulting services. Advised specifically on benefits reps, warranties and covenants, conducted due diligence and helped the company navigate integration issues.
News & Publications
- Presenter, "Identifying and Correcting Common Retirement Plan Errors," VACO CPE Series, Durham, N.C.11.12.2019
- Co-Panelist, "Panel Discussion - Hot Topics in Employment Law," Smith Anderson 27th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.11.2019
- Presenter, "Identifying and Correcting Common Retirement Plan Errors," Triangle Benefits Forum, Raleigh, N.C.05.28.2019
- Co-Presenter, "Benefits in Mergers & Acquisitions for the HR Generalist: The Real Deal,” Smith Anderson 26th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.11.14.2018
- Presenter, "Employee Benefit Plan Issues in M&A," Triangle Benefits Forum, Raleigh, N.C.09.25.2018
- Presenter, "DOL and IRS Audits - What to Expect and How to Prepare," Triangle Benefits Forum, Raleigh, N.C.01.23.2018
- Presenter, "DOL and IRS Audits - What to Expect and How to Prepare," 2017 Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.10.24.2017
- Presenter, "DOL and IRS Audits - What to Expect and How to Prepare," 2017 Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.10.10.2017
Bar & Court Admissions
- North Carolina
University of North Carolina School of Law, high honors, J.D., 2012
- Order of the Coif
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with distinction, B.A. in Political Science, 2009
- Phi Beta Kappa