W. Mark Smith: Lawyer with Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP

W. Mark Smith

Mark W. Smith
Washington,  DC  U.S.A.

Peer Rating
AV® Preeminent

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Practice Areas

  • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
  • Retirement Products & Services
  • Financial Services
  • Insurance
  • Banking & Financial Institutions
  • Broker-Dealer
  • Investment Adviser
  • Private Investment Funds
  • Mutual Funds
  • Capital Markets & Investments
  • Insurance Taxation
  • Insurance Products
  • Tax
Contact InfoTelephone: 202.383.0221
Fax: 202-637-3593
University University of Kansas, B.A. Phi Beta Kappa
Law SchoolCornell University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude Editor-in-Chief, Cornell Law Review, Order of the Coif
Admitted1981, District of Columbia

Professional Activities
Co-Chair, IRI Retirement Summit (2012-present)
Past Presidents Council (2011-present), Former President (2009-2011) and Director (2008-2011), District of Columbia Bar Foundation
Former Director, D.C. Access to Justice Foundation (2009-2012)
Former Chair, Employee Benefits Committee, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, American Bar Association (1991-1992)
Former Delegate, Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, American Bar Association
Former Member, Advisory Board, Georgetown Corporate Counsel Institute

BornKansas City, Missouri, May 7, 1955

Mark Smith helps financial service providers and Fortune 50 companies successfully design and administer retirement, employee benefit, insurance and executive compensation arrangements. He provides a pragmatic perspective on the tax, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and other legal considerations applicable to these arrangements.

Banks, broker-dealers, insurance companies, investment advisers and managers, mutual funds, retirement platforms, other product and service providers, and plan sponsors seek Mark's counsel on a broad range of consulting, transactional and regulatory matters. Clients say he has “extensive experience and provides solutions that are concise, easy-to-understand and invaluable; he is very adept at assisting clients with navigating the regulatory waters.

Mark has also managed more than 50 tax and ERISA cases in federal court, including Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. v. Darden (Supreme Court 1992) and, for the amici, in Albertson's, Inc. v. Commissioner (9th Cir. 1993, 1994). Mark also advises on the taxation of corporate and nonqualified insurance products, including corporate- and bank-owned life insurance (COLI/BOLI) policies.

From 1999 to 2007, Mark served as partner-in-charge of Sutherland's Washington, DC, office and firmwide Executive Partner.

Selected Experience

Sutherland negotiates the acquisition of financial products for benefit plans.

Sutherland represents retirement product and service providers before government regulators.

Sutherland assists in the design, regulatory approval and operation of several hundred insurance, investment and stable value products.

Awards and Rankings

Named to The Best Lawyers in America in the area of employee benefits (ERISA) law (2001-2016)

fellow, American College of Employee Benefits Counsel

Recognized in Legal 500 U.S.A. (2012-2015)

Client Tools
2006 Pension Protection Act
409A Law
Coalition of Collective Investment Trusts


Honorable Clement F. Haynsworth, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit


Documents by this lawyer on Martindale.com

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Labor Department Provides Guidance on ERISA Coverage of State-Run Retirement Programs for Private Sector Employers
Brenna M. Clark,Adam B. Cohen,Carol T. McClarnon,W. Mark Smith,Allison E. Wielobob, November 24, 2015
In recent years, a number of states have explored the idea of establishing state-run retirement plans for private sector employees who do not have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. The preemption concerns under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA),...

DOL and Treasury Update 2015-2016 Regulatory Agendas for Employee Benefits
Brenna M. Clark,Adam B. Cohen,Brittany Edwards-Franklin,Andrea M. Gehman,W. Mark Smith, September 9, 2015
The principal regulators of U.S. employee benefits have recently published updates to their guidance plans for the coming months.

2014 in Review: ERISA Civil and Criminal Enforcement Activity by DOL Is Trending Upward
Brenna M. Clark,Adam B. Cohen,Brittany Edwards-Franklin,Andrea M. Gehman,W. Mark Smith, March 24, 2015
The Fact Sheet recently published by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) documenting Fiscal Year 2014 civil and criminal enforcement activity under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA) showed a continuing increase in the number of investigations conducted by DOL.

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Office Information

W. Mark Smith

700 Sixth Street NW, Suite 700
WashingtonDC 20001-3980


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