Rachel Faye Smith is a partner in the firm’s ERISA & Executive Compensation practice. Ms. Smith has represented a wide range of clients and business sectors, including both public and private companies, venture capital and private equity firms, limited liability companies and partnerships, and nonprofit, government, and religious organizations in the areas of employee benefits and executive compensation. She counsels on the drafting, administration and compliance issues associated with qualified plans, such as profit-sharing and 401(k) plans, 403(b) and 457(b) plans, defined benefit pension plans, and non-ERISA plans such as governmental and church plans. Ms. Smith regularly represents clients before the Department of Labor, IRS, and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation in the context of plan audits, compliance, and terminations. She also advises clients on nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements and employee health and welfare benefit plans, including issues relating to the Affordable Care Act. Ms. Smith represents clients on the integration and transition of employee benefits plans, from both a buyer and seller perspective, in corporate mergers and acquisitions. She also represents clients in the submission of qualified plans to the IRS for approval and modification, as well as compliance and correction submissions under the IRS Voluntary Correction Program.
Ms. Smith regularly counsels clients in the drafting and analysis of deferred compensation arrangements and Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code, including the implications of Section 409A on management carve-out and change of control plans, bonus arrangements, employment and severance agreements, equity compensation and incentive plans, and other deferred compensation arrangements. She has experience with both company-side and executive-side negotiation of executive compensation arrangements. Ms. Smith also works regularly with nonprofit 457(f) plans.
Ms. Smith advises clients on all varieties of equity compensation arrangements and incentive plans, including stock options, stock appreciation rights, restricted stock awards and restricted stock unit awards. Her practice includes the drafting and interpretation of these arrangements. She also has experience in advising partnerships and limited liability companies on their compensation programs, including the tax implications of partnership interests as incentive compensation awards.
Prior to joining Goodwin in 2018, Ms. Smith was the Chair of the Tax and Employee Benefits Group at Murtha Cullina LLP, and previously practiced at Bingham McCutchen LLP. Prior to attending law school, Ms. Smith received a Master of Arts in Asia-Pacific International Relations from the International University of Japan. She speaks fluent French, conversational Spanish and conversational Japanese.
Areas of Practice
Boston Bar Association, Tax Steering Committee, Co-Chair
Boston Bar Association, ERISA Subcommittee, Former Co-Chair
American Bar Association
New England Employee Benefits Council
Bachelor of Civil Law or Bachelor of LawsBachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Civil Law2004
International University of Japan
Wilfrid Laurier University
Recognition & Awards
- “Plan Operational Know-How, 2021,” PlanSponsor, March 2021
- “The Errors in One’s Ways,” PLANADVISER, January/February 2021
- “Avoiding Retirement Plan Operational Errors,” PlanSponsor, January 2021
- “Recent Acts Will Require Plan Amendments,” PlanSponsor, August 2020
- “Compliance When It’s Tough,” PLANADVISER, May/June 2020
- “Q&A: Employers brace for health reform tax changes,” Hartford Business Journal, March 2015