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 (2021-2022)
- Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (2021)
- North Carolina Super Lawyers, Rising Stars (2020-2022)
- 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 life sciences company with employee benefits-related matters in its acquisition of a clinical manufacturing facility for an undisclosed amount.
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
- North Carolina Super Lawyers® Selects Largest Class of “Rising Stars” in Firm’s Recent History – 32 Lawyers Recognized in All!Super Lawyers, 01.13.2022
- Hitting a New Milestone - 100 Members of Smith Anderson’s Legal Team Recognized by Best Lawyers® and Best Lawyers: Ones to WatchBest Lawyers, 08.19.2021
- Smith Anderson Shines in 2021 Chambers USA with Most Band 1 Practice Rankings of Any NC-Based Law FirmChambers USA, 05.21.2021
- North Carolina Super Lawyers® Selects 23 Smith Anderson Lawyers as 2021 Super Lawyers and Nine Additional Lawyers as Rising StarsSuper Lawyers, 01.15.2021
- The Deal | American Banker | Law360, 10.16.2020
- 2021 Best Lawyers® and The Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch Recognize Largest Group of Smith Anderson Lawyers in Firm’s HistoryThe 2021 Best Lawyers®, 08.20.2020
- North Carolina Super Lawyers® Selects 24 Smith Anderson Lawyers as 2020 Super Lawyers and Nine Additional Lawyers as Rising StarsSuper Lawyers, 01.22.2020
- IRS Relief Available to Victims of Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida10.25.2016
- Co-Presenter, "Managing Retirement Plan Risk: Fiduciary Duties and Litigation Trends," Smith Anderson 29th Annual Employment Law Update, Virtual10.26.2021
- Co-Presenter, "COVID-19 Employee Benefits Issues," Triangle Benefits Forum, Raleigh, N.C.09.28.2021
- Co-Presenter, "The Ins and Outs of Fiduciary Duties – Limiting Your Exposure," First Citizens Bank Retirement Plan Education Series, Virtual08.17.2021
- Co-Presenter, "Employee Benefits Updates in CAA and ARPA," Triangle Benefits Forum, Raleigh, N.C.04.27.2021
- Co-Presenter, "Fix-It Guide: Identifying and Correcting Common Retirement Plan Errors," webinar in partnership with CAPTRUST12.09.2020
- Co-Presenter, "Supporting Employees and Reducing Costs: Employee Benefits in a Pandemic,” Smith Anderson 28th Annual Employment Law Update, Virtual10.13.2020
- 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