Of Counsel

Susan Elizabeth Rees

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.
  • Speaking Engagements

    • 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

    Publications and News Coverage


    • 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)