About

Proactive, Experienced ERISA Attorneys Protecting Your Business

HBL offers employers comprehensive legal guidance on benefits in mergers and acquisitions, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), executive compensation, health and welfare benefits, healthcare reform, and retirement plans. We counsel a wide spectrum of clients including small, mid-sized, and large companies, 401(k) investment advisors, health insurance brokers, accountants, attorneys, and HR consultants, just to name a few. HBL is passionate about advising clients, and we are dedicated to our mission: to provide comprehensive, personalized, and practical ERISA and benefits legal solutions that exceed client expectations.

Meet Our Team

Anne Tyler Hall – Founding Attorney and Principal

Deborah Andrews – Managing Attorney

Deborah’s practice encompasses a broad range of complex tax matters. She is a Certified Public Accountant certified to practice in North Carolina and regularly advises individuals, businesses, and tax-exempt entities on various issues related to transactional matters, tax planning, executive compensation, employee benefits, and tax reporting. In addition, Deborah represents clients in handling tax controversies with federal and state taxing authorities. She has lectured and written articles on several topics such as deferred compensation, choice of entity, and joint ventures. Prior to practicing law, she worked with an international company and a Big 5 accounting firm.

EDUCATION

  • L.L.M., Taxation, Georgetown University Law Center, 2003
  • J.D., The University of North Carolina School of Law, 1997
  • B.A., with honors, North Carolina State University, 1989

REPRESENTATIVE EXPERIENCE

  • Advised financial institutions on the rules related to nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements, golden parachute payments, and performance based compensation.
  • Negotiated and drafted tax provisions for acquisition agreements.
  • Designed deferred compensation plans for hospitals.
  • Analyzed treaties and advised on tax withholding requirements.
  • Represented multistate corporation in negotiations with state taxing authority on nexus issue.
  • Advised multistate corporation on formation of a charitable organization and compliance issues.
  • Represented the purchaser in negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice concerning tax collections and the foreclosure of real property.
  • Advised university affiliate on governance, compensatory, and tax-exempt issues.

PROFESSIONAL AND COMMUNITY AFFILIATIONS

  • American Bar Association — Sections: Business Law; Taxation
  • Association Executives of North Carolina
  • North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants
  • North Carolina Bar Association — Sections: Business Law (council member); Tax Law

ADMITTED TO PRACTICE

  • North Carolina, 1997
  • Georgia, 1999
  • All state courts in Georgia
  • All state courts in North Carolina
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Tax Court

Charleen Barnwell – Senior Compliance Counsel

Prior to joining Hall Benefits Law, Charleen Barnwell worked as an employee benefits attorney and compliance consultant with a number of well-known corporations, including InterContinental Hotels Group and NCR Corporation, Inc. Her 15-plus years in the benefits legal space have equipped her well to address issues of fiduciary noncompliance, and her experiences in the corporate benefits space give her unique insight into the needs of our corporate plan sponsors.
Charleen serves on the Board of Directors for the Southeast Benefits Education Network and is a Lean-In mentor. Outside of the office, Charleen enjoys spending time with her twin boys and loves fitness. Cycling and playing basketball are two of her favorite outdoor activities.

EDUCATION

  • Juris Doctor, Michigan State University, College of Law, conferred 2001
  • Masters of Public Administration with Honors, Georgia Southern University, 1997
  • Bachelor of Arts, Cum Laude, South Carolina State University

ADMITTED TO PRACTICE

  • Georgia, 2001
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia

Rena Felton – Senior Compliance Counsel

Elverine (Rena) Felton is an ERISA attorney with over a decade of employee benefits law experience. Rena primarily focuses on employer-sponsored retirement and welfare plans and advises clients on related issues and regulatory matters. She also advises clients on maintaining compliance with ERISA, the Retirement Equity Act, IRS and other federal laws by reviewing and analyzing plan provisions and how those provisions were being operationalized. Rena also helps large companies resolve group health plan compliance issues related to federal laws such as COBRA, HIPAA, cafeteria plans, and Health Care Reform.

In addition, Rena ensures clients’ plan documents are compliant with the most recent regulations and focuses on compliance with ERISA, the Retirement Equity Act, IRS and other federal laws (HIPAA, ACA and welfare plans) by reviewing and analyzing plan provisions and how those provisions are internally operationalized.

Prior to practicing law, Rena worked with large actuarial consulting firms as a benefits analyst where she prepared pension calculations. She is a frequent speaker on a variety of employee benefits topics and has facilitated numerous trainings on laws and regulatory topics affecting employee benefit plans. Rena has also previously served as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center, teaching An Introduction to ERISA.

Rena has also contributed articles to the Syracuse Law Journal and The Family Law Review, a publication of the Family Law Section of the New York State Bar Association. Rena is the past president of the Houston Lawyers Association where she has also served as a board member for 4 years. In addition, she has served on the board of the Houston Lawyers Foundation and is a member of the American Bar Association as well as the National Bar Association.

EDUCATION

  • LL.M., Employee Benefits, The John Marshall Law School-Chicago, 2012
  • J.D., Thurgood Marshall School of Law, 2006
  • B.A., Mathematics, DePaul University, 1999

 

Michael J. Hannan, III – Of Counsel

Mr. Hannan obtained his law degree from the University of Georgia, where he published in and was an editor of the Georgia Law Review. He then began his practice in Atlanta in 1990. He has tried to verdict numerous professional liability, ERISA and insurance cases, and has litigated numerous class actions and commercial, nursing home, products liability and employment cases throughout the State of Georgia, in both state and federal courts, resulting in published appellate decisions in these areas. Mr. Hannan’s practice focuses on professional liability defense, insurance law, and employee benefits/ERISA (areas in which he has published and lectured), as well as products liability defense, class action defense and commercial litigation.

David Hall – Firm Manager

David was born and raised in Atlanta, he is an alumnus of Marist School, and he earned his Bachelor’s Degree at Wake Forest University. Prior to joining Hall Benefits Law as Firm Manager, David was the Southeastern District Sales Manager for School Outfitters, a role in which he consulted with school districts throughout the region. He served for five years as an account executive with Quench USA, traveling throughout the United States. David also enjoyed a nine-year career as a teacher at The Schenck School, a private school in Atlanta. He is an avid golfer and reader.

 

Debbie Kerr – Legal Administrative Assistant

Debbie Kerr serves as the administrative assistant for Hall Benefits Law. In this role, she supports the firm’s operational and administrative needs including:

  • PowerPoint presentation creation
  • Document management
  • Copy writing, proofing, and editing
  • Management of newsletters, blogs, and social media
  • Assistance with design and management of marketing materials

Debbie moved to South Africa with her parents when she was a teenager. For 29 years she called Johannesburg home, and she started her professional career there, becoming proficient in typesetting, proofreading, and graphic design for local printing companies.

Sherry Markopoulos – ERISA Paralegal

Sherry joined Hall Benefits Law in 2017 after more than 30 years’ experience in taxes, employee benefits, tax organizations, and accounting. She has worked with attorneys for over twenty years in the area of employee benefits and ERISA, and prior to that she worked for the IRS for ten years. Sherry is adept at gathering information and documentation for attorneys, and she has the experience and ability to prepare EPCRS submissions, to draft determination letters and ruling requests, and to draft plan documents ranging from cafeteria plans and SPDs to wrap plans and participant forms. Her depth of experience is a perfect fit with Hall Benefits Law’s core values, and Sherry is a valued member of our “A” Team.

Diane Coleman – Legal Administrative Assistant