FacultyFaculty/Author Profile

W. Mark Smith

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP

Washington, DC, USA

Mark Smith helps financial service providers and Fortune 50 companies successfully design and administer retirement, employee benefit, insurance and executive compensation arrangements. He provides a pragmatic perspective on the tax, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and other legal considerations applicable to these arrangements.

Banks, broker-dealers, insurance companies, investment advisers and managers, mutual funds, retirement platforms, other product and service providers, and plan sponsors seek Mark’s counsel on a broad range of consulting, transactional and regulatory matters. Clients say he has “extensive experience" and provides solutions that are "concise, easy-to-understand" and "invaluable; he is very adept at assisting clients with navigating the regulatory waters."

Mark has also managed more than 50 tax and ERISA cases in federal court, including Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. v. Darden (Supreme Court 1992) and, for the amici, in Albertson’s, Inc. v. Commissioner (9th Cir. 1993, 1994). Mark also advises on the taxation of corporate and nonqualified insurance products, including corporate- and bank-owned life insurance (COLI/BOLI) policies.

From 1999 to 2007, Mark served as partner-in-charge of Sutherland's Washington, DC, office and firmwide Executive Partner.


  • Named to The Best Lawyers in America in the area of employee benefits (ERISA) law (2001- 2016)
  • Fellow, American College of Employee Benefits Counsel
  • Recognized in Legal 500 U.S.A. (2012-2015)

Professional Activities

  • Co-Chair, IRI Retirement Summit (2012-present)
  • Past Presidents Council (2011-present), Former President (2009-2011) and Director (2008- 2011), District of Columbia Bar Foundation
  • Former Director, D.C. Access to Justice Foundation (2009-2012)
  • Former Chair, Employee Benefits Committee, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, American Bar Association (1991-1992)
  • Former Delegate, Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, American Bar Association
  • Former Member, Advisory Board, Georgetown Corporate Counsel Institute


  • Honorable Clement F. Haynsworth, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
W. Mark Smith is associated with the following items:
Treatise Chapters  Treatise Chapters ERISA Compliance Issues for Broker-Dealers - Broker-Dealer Regulation (Second Edition), Friday, September 22, 2017

  • twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • GooglePlus
  • RSS

All Contents Copyright © 1996-2018 Practising Law Institute. Continuing Legal Education since 1933.

© 2018 PLI PRACTISING LAW INSTITUTE. All rights reserved. The PLI logo is a service mark of PLI.