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Debbie addresses a wide variety of issues involving design, administration and tax and ERISA compliance for employee benefit plans and executive compensation programs for businesses with national scope. She has successfully used her knowledge of stock ownership and compensation programs to lead a number of cross-disciplinary teams in business management and ownership succession transactions, often using an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan).

Other Info About Debbie


Legal Work Highlights

Debbie assists in the entire life-cycle of successful ESOP companies. One example: established an ESOP to preserve jobs in the face of possible closure due to loss of capital financing; counseled the company in governance and maintenance of the ESOP; then represented the company in sale of ESOP’s stock to a public company a number of years later, making a number of employees millionaires.

Executive compensation program redesign, requiring termination of some plans, enhancement of others, and addition of new plans. These types of projects require a team effort with in-house counsel, actuaries, and other outside consultants and vendors to create a cohesive new program.

Helps employers avoid adverse tax consequences under Code Section 409A by supplying compliance and corrections guidance.

Negotiated voluntary closing agreement with the IRS on a very expensive failure-to-cover-a-sufficient-number-of-controlled-group-employees issue, reducing cost to less than 20% of that anticipated by the employer.


Law School

Tulane University Law School, J.D., 1981, magna cum laude
Order of the Coif

Undergraduate School

Tulane University Law School, H. Sophie Newcomb College, B.A., 1979

Bar Memberships

Debbie is licensed to practice in the following state(s):



Local & National Recognition

Martindale-Hubbell®, AV Preeminent® Rated

The Best Lawyers in America®, Corporate Law, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 1995-2020

Firm Committees

Debbie serves or has served in the following leadership role(s) at Frost Brown Todd:

Benefits/Retirement Committee, Chair

Executive Committee, former Member

Budget/Audit Committee, former Member


Debbie was invited to speak at the following events:

Debbie has served as a great resource to hundreds of businesses around the region in sharing her knowledge and understanding of federal health care reform’s effects on employers at seminars and speaking engagements around Kentucky and Indiana.

“ERISA Plan Fiduciary Fundamentals (Part I) and Best Practices (Part II),” presented at the Pension Focus Conference, May 2015

“Health Benefit Changes in Recent Legislation,” presented to clients and friends of Frost Brown Todd and BB&T Insurance Services on April 15, 2009.

“How to Avoid Code Section 409A Pitfalls in your Stock Plan,” presented to the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Stock Plan Administrators on March 24, 2009.

“HSAs: Basic to Advanced,” presented at the Kentuckiana Society for Human Resource Managers Conference in October 2007 and 2008

“New Tax Rules for Deferred Compensation,” presented at the 18th Annual Cincinnati Employee Benefits Conference, June 2005 (and other locations, including updates after proposed and final regulations)

“The Top Ten Benefits and Compensation Issues for 2007,” presented at the 24th Annual Carl A. Warns Labor and Employment Law Institute, June 2007

Major Publications

Debbie is an author or contributor to the following publications:

The Kentucky Employee Benefits Guide, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, January 1, 2005

“Retirement and Fringe Benefit Planning,” a chapter in Limited Liability Companies in Kentucky (University of Kentucky College of Law, 1994)

Chapter Author: “Executive Compensation, Retirement and Fringe Benefit Issues,” in Kentucky Corporation Law (University of Kentucky College of Law, 1997)

Co-Author: Drafting Partnership Agreements (ALI/ABA 7th ed., 1986)

Editor and Author of Monograph:  Business Succession Planning (University of Kentucky College of Law, 1988)

Chapter Author: “Limited Liability Companies in Kentucky,” in Retirement and Fringe Benefit Planning (University of Kentucky College of Law, 2019)

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