Drawing on more than 15 years of experience in employee benefits, Vanessa works with some of the nation’s leading companies, including global insurers, airlines and financial services organizations. She provides counsel on a broad range of issues, from comprehensive, company-wide benefit plans to the individual compensation arrangements that attract and retain key personnel. She also has significant experience advising large employers and insurance companies on ACA compliance issues. Additionally, Vanessa currently serves as Eversheds Sutherland (US)’s Chief Diversity Officer.
Vanessa previously served as Legislative and Tax Counsel for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives where she specialized in financial services policy and legislation. Prior to joining Eversheds Sutherland (US), she was Legislative Counsel and Corporate Secretary for the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) in Washington, D.C., where she represented the benefits and compensation interests of Fortune 100 employers before Congress, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Labor.
Advised a private college on key aspects of a nonqualified retirement plan.
Counseled Fortune 500 companies on health reform compliance.
Advised several insurance clients on various compliance issues in the Affordable Care Act.
Awards and Rankings
Recognized by the National Bar Association with Tax Excellence Award (2018)
Recognized by Savoy Magazine as Most Influential Black Lawyer(2018)
Selected for inclusion in Washington, D.C., Super Lawyers (2013-2015)
Recognized by The Legal 500 United States in the area of tax: employee benefits and executive compensation, and employee health and retirement plans
Named to The Best Lawyers in America in the area of Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (2017-2019)
“Businesses look at their benefits plans as competitive tools, and I like to work with employers from the planning stages. If compliance issues arise, it’s easier to resolve them, not only because I’m familiar with the plans, but also because I understand how the company works and their business philosophy.”
Legal Alert: 2018 in review - ERISA guidance (March 7, 2019)
In broad scope, the guidance issued in 2018 by the Department of Labor (DOL) under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA), extended a trend established over the ...
Legal Alert: IRS cracks open the window for retiree lump sums (March 7, 2019)
On March 6, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2019-18 (Notice), announcing that it is retracting its previous position that prohibited pension plan sponsors from offering ...
Legal Alert: Treasury and IRS issue interim guidance on executive compensation excise tax under section 4960 (January 18, 2019)
Introduction On December 31, 2018, the Department of the Treasury (Treasury Department) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2019-09 (Notice) providing comprehensive interim guidance ...
Legal Alert: Texas v. United States decision could impact employer-sponsored health plans (January 4, 2019)
On December 14, 2018, a Texas District Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement that certain individuals maintain a minimum level of health coverage, often referred to as the ...
Legal Alert: IRS formalizes and provides relief for section 403(b) “once-in-always-in” part-time rule - immediate action required (December 17, 2018)
In Notice 2018-95, released on December 4, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) formally announced a “once-in-always-in” interpretation of the section 403(b) participation exclusion for part-time ...
Legal Alert: DOL considers important efficiencies for the retirement system (November 14, 2018)
In the last three weeks, the Department of Labor (DOL) undertook two initiatives that have the potential to improve the efficiency of the retirement system and the retirement security it provides to ...
Legal Alert: When your hardship comes in-Treasury proposes hardship withdrawal regulations (November 12, 2018)
On November 9, 2018, the US Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued proposed regulations addressing statutory changes to the section 401(k) hardship distribution ...
Legal Alert: DOL and Treasury update guidance agendas for employee benefits (fall 2018) (October 24, 2018)
The principal regulators of US employee benefits have recently published updates to their guidance plans for the coming months.On October 18, 2018, the US Department of Labor (DOL) published its ...
Legal Alert: IRS issues updated guidance on safe harbor notices for eligible rollover distributions (September 25, 2018)
On September 18, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Notice 2018-74, which updated the safe harbor guidance that employers may use to comply with the notice requirements under section ...
Legal Alert: Life insurance purchased in welfare benefit fund taxed under split-dollar rules (September 21, 2018)
In a recent memorandum opinion, the Tax Court ruled that the economic benefit provided to a business principal from life insurance purchased by the business through an Internal Revenue Code section ...
Strategies for leveraging diversity and inclusion to develop meaningful law firm relationships (Spring 2019)
Most law firms are struggling with the best way to discuss their commitment to diversity and inclusion with clients. In her article for the Spring 2019 edition of Partnering Perspectives, Eversheds ...
Global In-House: Wise Ideas to Advance Diversity, Inclusion in Legal (July 27, 2018)
Legal professionals from 10 countries gathered in Atlanta this spring for Working Wiser, a workshop that takes a new approach to speeding diversity and inclusion in the legal industry. While many ...
The Final Rule: DOL’s Expanded Definition of Investment Advice Fiduciary Under ERISA and Revised Complex of Exemptions (April 12, 2016)
Just less than a year since its proposal, and just more than six months after receiving thousands of pages of commentary, petitions and hearing testimony, the Department of Labor finalized its ...
Trenchant Analysis or Jiggery-Pokery? U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act (September 2015)
In their article for TerraLex Connections, Sutherland attorneys Carol Weiser, Vanessa Scott and Cristopher Jones discuss the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in King v. Burwell, which held that tax credits ...
Private Health Insurance Exchanges: Tax and ERISA Issues (April 3, 2014)
Many companies are exploring private health insurance exchanges to maintain employer-provided health coverage in the wake of the Affordable Care Act. In this article, Vanessa Scott describes the ...
How To Buy Health Coverage In An Insurance Exchange (September 9, 2011)
Reprinted with permission Insurance Law360
Notice Offers Relief From Compensation Deduction Limit for Some Health Insurers (March 28, 2011)
Reproduced with permission BNA Tax Management
Nondiscrimination Rules under PPACA Delayed (January 2011)
Employee Benefits News
New Rules on Extension of Health Plan Coverage to Children Up to Age 26 (April/May 2010)
Employee Benefits News
Lessons Learned From Worker Classification Cases (November 14, 2008)
Reprinted with permission Employment Law 360
Partnering Perspectives: Insights from Inside and Outside the Corporate Law Department (Spring 2019)
We are pleased to present the Spring 2019 edition of Partnering Perspectives. In this issue, we bring you articles that we believe touch the day-to-day lives of many in-house counsel. Each of our ...
Eversheds Sutherland Global Tax Brief (December 2017)
The Eversheds Sutherland Global Tax Brief is a collection of tax developments from our attorneys across the globe. We hope you enjoy this issue of the Brief and look forward to sharing more updates ...
“Eversheds Sutherland (US) has some phenomenal people who have done amazing things in the area of tax, and they hold everyone to that standard in everything we do-from client service to the quality of our work product. The training here is extraordinary, and it results in very technically savvy lawyers, who are also creative. We’re encouraged to be fluid and innovative, to be flexible and ask questions, to collaborate with each other. When you hire one attorney here, you get the brain power of all six attorneys in my group.”
2018 TEI Region II Tax Forum (June 4-5, 2018)
Eversheds Sutherland is a proud co-sponsor of the 2018 TEI Region II Tax Forum taking place June 4-5, 2018, at the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Tax Forum will include four plenary ...
Current Health Care Tax Issues (September 14-16, 2017)
American Bar Association (ABA)
Eversheds Sutherland (US) Partner Vanessa Scott moderates the panel, “Current Health Care Tax Issues,” at the American Bar Association 2017 Joint Fall CLE Meeting on September 14-16, 2017, in Austin, ...
2017 TEI Region II Tax Forum (June 5 - 6, 2017)
Eversheds Sutherland is a proud co-sponsor of the 2017 TEI Region II Tax Forum taking place June 5-6, 2017, at the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Tax Forum will include five plenary ...
Sutherland's Year-End Tax Seminar (December 6, 2016)
Sutherland hosts and leads a Year-End Tax Seminar on December 6, 2016, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Topics include:Federal Tax Partnership Developments Speaker: Karl ...
Health and Welfare Benefit Plans National Institute (October 6-7, 2016)
American Bar Association Joint Committee on Employee Benefits
Sutherland Partner Vanessa Scotts presents Health and Welfare Benefit Plans National Institute on October 6-7, 2016, in Washington, DC. Topics include:The Nuts and Bolts: An Introduction to ...
PLI's Fundamentals of Investment Adviser Regulation 2016 (July 13, 2016)
Practising Law Institute
Sutherland Partners Clifford Kirsch and Vanessa Scott present during PLI’s “Fundamentals of Investment Adviser Regulation 2016” live and webcast event on July 13, 2016, in New York, NY. Clifford is ...
The DOL Fiduciary Rule-Present and Future (May 16, 2016)
Association of Life Insurance Counsel (ALIC) Annual Meeting
Sutherland Partner Vanessa Scott presents The DOL Fiduciary Rule-Present and Future at the Association of Life Insurance Counsel (ALIC) Annual Meeting on May 16, 2016, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Roundtable Discussion: Final DOL ERISA Fiduciary Definition and Related Exemptions (May 3, 2016)
Sutherland hosts a roundtable on the “Final DOL ERISA Fiduciary Definition and Related Exemptions” on May 3, 2016, in St. Louis, Missouri. The program is an in-depth discussion regarding the U.S. ...
Financial Services Conflicts of Interest & Fiduciary Duties 2016: Navigating the Emerging Regulatory Maze (April 20, 2016)
Sutherland Partners Clifford Kirsch and Vanessa Scott present during PLI’s “Financial Services Conflicts of Interest & Fiduciary Duties 2016: Navigating the Emerging Regulatory Maze” live and webcast ...
Corporate Counsel Women of Color 11th Annual Conference (September 23, 2015 - September 25, 2015)
Sutherland sponsors the Corporate Counsel Women of Color 11th Annual Conference on Wednesday, September 23 - Friday, September 25, 2015 in Atlanta, GA. This year's Corporate Counsel Women of Color ...
Webcast: Till Death Do Us Part: Same-Sex Marriage, the Supreme Court and Implications for the Insurance Industry (April 14, 2015)
The issue of same-sex marriage is being litigated all over the country, with varying results. While the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act had a major ...
Videocast: Financial and Technology Issues for U.S. Broker-Dealers (January 14, 2015)
Sutherland Partners Holly Smith and Vanessa Scott discuss financial and technology issues currently affecting SEC-registered broker-dealers, including compliance with SEC amendments to the ...
Podcast: In The Wake of Windsor: New Post-DOMA IRS Guidance on Retirement Plans, Amendments, and Retroactivity (April 10, 2014)
On April 4, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2014-19, which applies the U.S. Supreme Court's US v. Windsor decision and related post-DOMA IRS guidance to qualified retirement plans. ...
Podcast: Compliance: What the Supreme Court Ruling on Health Reform Means for Health Plans (July 9, 2012)
Earlier today the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the federal requirement to purchase health insurance (the individual mandate ) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ...
In the News
Government to Provide Safe Harbors on HRAs (November 26, 2018)
Eversheds Sutherland Partner Vanessa Scott is quoted in this Tax Notes article discussing the recent Government request for clarification on behalf of employers who want to offer integrated health ...
HRA Regs Could Signal Decline of Employer Health Plans (November 1, 2018)
Eversheds Sutherland Partner Vanessa Scott is quoted in this Tax Notes article discussing the proposed regulations on health reimbursement arrangements and the serious questions being raised about ...
The Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives (June 1, 2018)
Eversheds Sutherland Chief Diversity Officer and Partner Vanessa Scott is quoted in this Risk Management article discussing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. “Someone from a non-dominant ...
BICE on Ice? Status of the DOL Fiduciary Rule (March 9, 2017)
Sutherland’s legal alert, “The Final Rule: BICE on Ice? Status of the DOL Fiduciary Rule,” is featured in an article by BenefitsLinks.com.
Women Worth Watching - Sutherland’s Vanessa Scott (October 13, 2016)
Profiles in Diversity Journal
Sutherland Partner and Chief Diversity Officer Vanessa Scott is featured in the Summer 2016 edition of Profiles in Diversity Journal for being a recipient of the “Women Worth Watching” award, which ...
Law360 Names Attys Who Moved Up The Firm Ranks In Q1 (April 22, 2016)
In this article, Law360 features attorneys whose commitment to excellence resulted in their move up in the law firm leadership ranks during the first quarter of 2016. Cynthia Beyea, David McCullough, ...
Consumer Advocates Applaud New Rules for Financial Advisers (April 6, 2016)
Marketplace Morning Report
Marketplace Morning Report aired an interview with Sutherland Partner Vanessa Scott in which she discusses the new U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) rule on the “fiduciary duty” of financial advisers. ...
How the New Fiduciary Standard Ups the Ante for Employers and Advisers (April 6, 2016)
Employee Benefit Adviser
In an article published by Employee Benefit Adviser, Sutherland Partner Vanessa Scott discusses the publication of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiduciary rule. The article describes how the ...
President Obama Approves the Consolidated Appropriations Act with Key Employee Benefits Provisions (March 2016)
Lexis Federal Tax Journal Quarterly
Sutherland’s legal alert, “President Obama Approves the Consolidated Appropriations Act with Key Employee Benefits Provisions,” is featured in the March 2016 edition of Lexis Federal Tax Journal ...
Q&A with Sutherland Partner and Chief Diversity Officer Vanessa Scott (March 4, 2016)
Washington Business Journal
In a Q&A published in the March 4, 2016 issue of the Washington Business Journal, Sutherland Partner and Chief Diversity Officer Vanessa Scott discusses how law firm diversity is a reflection of more ...
Eversheds Sutherland Represents Cox Enterprises in Sale of Majority Stake in Cox Media Group Television Stations to Apollo Global Management (March 5, 2019)
Eversheds Sutherland is pleased to announce that it represented Cox Enterprises on their agreement with funds managed by Apollo Global Management, LLC (Apollo) to buy a majority interest in Cox Media ...
Chief Diversity Officer Vanessa Scott Receives 2018 Tax Excellence Award (August 7, 2018)
Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP is pleased to announce that Chief Diversity Officer Vanessa A. Scott has been named the 2018 recipient of the Tax Excellence Award from the Tax Law Section of the ...
Partner Vanessa Scott Named Most Influential Black Lawyer by Savoy Magazine (July 2, 2018)
Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP is pleased to announce that Chief Diversity Officer Vanessa Scott has been selected as one of Savoy Magazine’s Most Influential Black Attorneys of 2018. Lawyers were ...
18 Eversheds Sutherland Practice Areas, 68 Attorneys Named Among Nation’s Best in 2018 Legal 500 United States (May 30, 2018)
Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP is pleased to announce that 18 practice areas and 68 attorneys have been recognized in the 2018 edition of The Legal 500 United States, a comprehensive survey of legal ...
Eversheds Sutherland Women’s Initiative Expands with Post-Combination Perspective (May 21, 2018)
Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP is excited to announce the expansion of its women’s initiative following its international combination last year. Moving forward with new centralized leadership and a ...
Eversheds Sutherland Adds Professor Kamina Pinder as Law Professor to its Award-Winning Scholars Program (April 11, 2018)
ATLANTA and WASHINGTON-Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP is pleased to announce that Kamina Pinder, Assistant Professor of Practice at Emory University School of Law, will serve as a law professor for ...
Four Eversheds Sutherland Attorneys Named Lawyer of the Year; 80 Lawyers Recognized in 2018 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America (August 15, 2017)
Eversheds Sutherland is pleased to announce that four attorneys have been selected as “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective fields by The Best Lawyers in America, and 80 attorneys have been ...
19 Eversheds Sutherland (US) Practice Areas, 58 Attorneys Named Among Nation’s Best in 2017 Legal 500 United States (May 31, 2017)
Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP is pleased to announce that 19 practice areas and 58 attorneys have been ranked in the 2017 edition of The Legal 500 United States. Legal 500 is a comprehensive survey ...
Sutherland Attorneys Publish Updated Insurance Regulation Answer Book with Practising Law Institute (August 31, 2016)
NEW YORK-Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is pleased to announce the publication of the 2017 edition of the Insurance Regulation Answer Book, a high-level overview of the legal and regulatory ...
Six Sutherland Attorneys Named Lawyer of the Year; 81 Lawyers Recognized in 2017 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America (August 15, 2016)
ATLANTA and WASHINGTON-Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is pleased to announce that that six attorneys have been selected as “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective fields by The Best Lawyers in ...
Nolan fellow, Section of Taxation, American Bar Association (ABA)
Adjunct Professor, ERISA and Employee Benefits, Howard University Law School
Former Chair, Tax Section, National Bar Association
Former Chair, Diversity Committee, Tax Section, American Bar Association
Member, Nominating Committee, Tax Section, American Bar Association
Member, Editorial Board, The Practical Tax Lawyer
Former Member, Board of Directors, Upper Montgomery County Assistance Network
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