Bar Admissions

North Carolina



Washington University in St. Louis, J.D., 2004; Associate Editor, Washington University Law Quarterly

Vanderbilt University, B.A., cum laude, 2000


Heather Ryan is a seasoned employee benefits and executive compensation lawyer and chair of the firm's Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Practice Group. She brings a unique perspective to the table, drawing on a decade of experience as in-house employee benefits and executive compensation counsel, as well as business roles in Total Rewards, at two publicly held, multibillion-dollar corporations. Heather's approach to helping clients solve problems and design new benefit and compensation plans is both pragmatic and proactive.

Heather counsels clients on all aspects of employee benefits including 401(k), 403(b), pension, cafeteria, health and welfare plans, and she has successfully handled many Department of Labor and IRS audits and correction submissions for clients. Heather enjoys working with clients on a broad range of issues, including fiduciary governance structure and processes, employer stock best practices, HIPAA, COBRA and wellness plans.

Heather has extensive experience advising on the benefits and compensation issues involved in corporate transactions, including equity compensation, change-in-control arrangements, severance and deferred compensation. She also assists clients on matters relating to executive employment agreements, short-term and long-term incentive compensation, and executive terminations. Heather also helps develop and draft compensation committee material for the board and advises on governance matters affecting such committees.



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Community Affiliations

  • Arts+, Board Member, 2022-present
  • Women Executives, Member
  • McCallie School, Honor Fund Committee, 2022-present
  • Providence Day School, Annual Fund Chair, 2016-18; Social Responsibility and Community Engagement Chair, 2021-22
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