Professional Bio

  • Susan Rees has over 30 years of extensive experience with ERISA and other federal employment laws. In her capacity as a Division Chief for the Office of Regulations and Interpretations of the Employee Benefits Security Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington D.C., she provided advice to state and federal agencies, the public, and lawmakers and their staff, on ERISA interaction with state legislation involving all types of governmental plans and state retirement program alternatives. Throughout the course of her career, Ms. Rees has authored and provided valuable advice in the creation of many ERISA-related regulations, advisory opinions, field assistance bulletins, and other technical legal memoranda on complicated issues including ERISA preemption and employee benefit plan definitions. She has also been instrumental in providing advice on ERISA-related civil and criminal investigations, penalty proceedings and litigation, including on preparation of amicus briefs and on related federal statutes such as the Internal Revenue Code, FLSA, FMLA, ADEA, and the Administrative Procedures Act. Ms. Rees served as the EBSA’s representative in intra- and inter-agency deliberations on ERISA litigation and rule making including as the longstanding lead to the ongoing joint agency project on the definition of a governmental plan.

    Ms. Rees is frequently asked to speak at bar association and industry group meetings, and is a Fellow in the prestigious American College of Employee Benefits Counsel. She earned a J.D. from Suffolk University and B.A. from Boston University, and is licensed to practice law in state and federal courts in Massachusetts, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals in the 1st, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 9th, and D.C. Circuits.

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  • Publications and News Coverage

    Speaking Engagements

    • Navigating and Preparing for a DOL Audit: What Plan Administrators Need to Know - Susan Rees, panelist, ALI-CLE live webcast, August 24, 2021 - Click here for more information

    • Benefit Claims - Co-panelist, American Bar Association Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, ERISA Fiduciary Institute 2021, April 7 - 14, 2021 - Click here for details and registration
    • Pooled Employer Plan Update - Susan Rees, co-panelist, Southwest Benefits Association Benefits Administration Workshop, March 2 - 4, 2021 - Click here for details - PowerPoint presentation available here

    • ERISA Fiduciary Institute Webinar Series: Part 2 - Benefit Claims - Speaker, American Bar Association live, CLE webinar, May 22, 2020, 2:20 PM (ET) - More details and registration here
    • Strategic Uses of EBSA Disclosure Regulations and Guidance - Susan Rees, speaker, Pension Rights Center webinar, May 20, 1:00 - 2:00 PM (ET)
    • ERISA Benefit Claims and Appeals Processes - Fiduciary Full and Fair Review Obligations - Speaker, American Bar Association ERISA Fiduciary Institute, April 2, 2020, Washington, D.C. - More details here
    • Multiple Employer Plans Under the SECURE Act - Webinar speaker, The Wagner Law Group FREE Live Webinar, February 27, 2020 - More details and registration here
    • Employee Benefits Multiple Employers, PEOs and Controlled Groups Update - Panelist, American Bar Association Section of Taxation 2020 Midyear Tax Meeting, January 30 - February 1, 2020, Boca Raton Resort, Boca Raton, FL - More details here
    • Improving the QDRO Submission Process - Panelist at The Pension Rights Center Strategic Convening on Women and Retirement at Diorce, October 29, 2019 - More details here
    • Fall Benefits Briefing - Webinar panelist with Thonas Clark, Jr., Izzy Goldowitz, Mark Poerio, Stephen Wilkes, and guest, Chris Condeluci, The Wagner Law Group Free Webinar, September 25, 2019 - Recording available here
    • Multiple Employer Plan Update: The DOL Final Rule, Reporting Relief, and the "Bad Apple" Rule - Co-panelist on webinar for The American Law Institute, September 20, 2019, 1:00 - 2:00 PM (ET) - More details here
    • MEWAs and Association Health Plans - Speaker, Society of Professional Benefits Administrators (SPBA) Spring 2019 Meeting, April 24 -26, 2019, Capitol Hilton, Washington, D.C.
    • ERISA Fiduciary Institute - Speaker, American Bar Association/Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, April 4, 2019
    • The Wagner Law Group Employee Benefits Briefing - Co-presenter, with Izzy Goldowitz, Dan Brandenburg, Candace Quinn and Stephen Wilkes, FREE webinar, March 28, 2019, 1:00 - 2:00 PM (ET) - Recording available here - Powerpoint slides available here
    • Frequent speaker at bar association and industry group meetings

    • Massachusetts
    • U.S. District Court of Massachusetts
    • U.S. Court of Appeals (1st, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 9th, and D.C. Circuits)


    • C0-Vice-Chair - ALI- BA Tax Section/EBC/ MEP-PEO Subcommittee
    • American Bar Association, Tax Section Member
    • Frequent invited speaker at ABA Tax Section meetings and conferences and with other industry organizations (1992-Present)
    • J.D., Suffolk University School of Law
    • B.A., Boston University
    • Fellow, American College of Employee Benefits Counsel (2010-Present)
    • DOL Secretary’s Exceptional Achievement Awards:
      • Sarbanes Oxley Blackout Notice Team (2003)
      • Medical Child Support Team (2000)
      • QDRO Guidance Working Group (1998)
      • Retirement Savings Education Group (1996)
      • PBSD Amicus Program Group (1996)
      • PBSD MEWA Group (1992)

    • Compliance Assistance Awards:
      • Health Benefits Education Campaign (2006)
      • Fiduciary Education Team (2005)