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About Sarah

Thorough, experienced guidance on employee benefits, executive compensation

Sarah Sise helps clients navigate the challenging regulatory environment associated with employee benefits and executive compensation. She is particularly experienced at assisting clients with design and administration of qualified retirement plans, nonqualified arrangements, welfare and fringe benefit plans, and executive compensation programs, in addition to guiding clients through plan audits and service provider changes. Sarah advises an array of clients, including private and public companies and tax-exempt organizations. She also advises entities that are 100% or otherwise significantly owned by employee stock ownership plans (ESOP).

Sarah keeps abreast of the frequent law and regulatory changes in the employee benefits space and understands it is critical to a client’s business that the complexities with these tax laws be applied in practical ways. She works with clients to manage the risks associated with benefit and compensation arrangements in a way that works for their business.

Experience in Action

  • Designs tax-compliant plans and compensation arrangements that address the business needs of employers while complying with the complicated and continuously changing regulations that govern employee benefits, including finding solutions for the various issues encountered by employers with a broad range of benefits and incentive compensation programs.
  • Analyzes and advises on new legislation and regulations, offering thoughtful ongoing guidance regarding compliance, employee communication and general operation of benefits plans.
  • Counsels employers on 401(k) plans, ESOPs, Affordable Care Act compliance, equity and incentive compensation awards, and other benefit programs.


  • Completed termination and annuitization process for six defined benefit pension plans, including successful closing of IRS and PBGC audits.
  • Advised a private equity firm in its acquisition of a bolt-on mechanical and structural field service and maintenance company that provided major refractory, insulation, boiler and repair capabilities across Louisiana and Texas.
  • Advised public company through redesign of its nonqualified deferred compensation programs for executives and managers.
  • Settled disputes regarding employment and tax-related claims against a client whose board of directors issued options that were not compliant with Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Developed client response to IRS for Affordable Care Act Employer Shared Responsibility (ESRP) penalties, provided amended filings and supporting documentation to avoid imposition of substantial penalties.

Professional Recognitions

  • St. Louis Business Journal "Most Influential Business Women" (2020)
  • Best Lawyers in America® (2008-present: Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2023, 2024: Tax Law)
  • Best Lawyers in America® "Lawyer of the Year" (2016: Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law)

Professional & Civic Activities

  • The Missouri Bar, member
  • Illinois State Bar Association, member
  • American Bar Association, member
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, Big Sister volunteer
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, fellow (2019)

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