Alisha N. Sullivan


  • Overview


    Alisha Sullivan is a member of the firm's Employee Benefits + Compensation Group. She focuses her practice on counseling a wide range of clients on issues arising from the creation and administration of employee benefit plans, including all aspects of plan design and administration, adhering to ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, and other applicable laws, and plan compliance and correction issues.

    Retirement Plan Design and Administration

    Alisha's practice addresses a broad array of issues relating to the design, drafting, and operation of qualified and nonqualified defined benefit and defined contribution plans, including 401(k), profit-sharing, multiemployer, employee stock ownership and Section 403(b) and 457(b) plans of tax-exempt organizations. She assists with consultation and negotiation with the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor, and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation with regard to plan terminations, audits of plans, qualification submissions, plan corrections and other matters.

    Governmental Plans

    Alisha frequently works with state and municipal governmental clients sponsoring and administering benefit plans and programs. She advises these clients on qualified retirement plans and 457(b) plans, from generally applicable requirements to unique rules addressing vesting requirements for governmental plans, pick-up of employee contributions, compliance with Section 415 of the Code, purchase of service and 415(m) excess plans. Additionally, Alisha advises clients on state statutes relating to the implementation and governance of public plans, as well as the interpretation of specific enabling statutes creating various governmental entities. She also assists municipalities and related entities with respect to Length of Service Award Programs (LOSAP), and their creation, design, and administration.

    Health and Welfare Benefit Plans

    Alisha counsels clients on a wide range of health and welfare benefits matters, including issues related to the Affordable Care Act, self-funded health arrangements, wellness and disease management programs, HIPAA privacy and security rules, COBRA administration, cafeteria plans, and various state laws and regulations governing health and welfare plan design and administration.

    Executive Compensation and Equity Arrangements

    She assists with the design, implementation, and maintenance of executive and outside-director compensation and incentive programs, including equity-based plans.

    Fiduciary Advice

    Alisha counsels boards of directors, trustees, investment committees, plan administrators, and plan fiduciaries regarding their duties and responsibilities under federal law. She counsels plan sponsors on all aspects of ERISA fiduciary compliance, including plan governance and plan administration issues.

    Pro Bono

    Alisha provides pro bono services to Connecticut non-profit organizations through the Pro Bono Partnership on a wide range of employee benefit and compensation issues.

    The author of numerous articles on employee benefit matters, Alisha also is a contributor to the firm's ERISA Claim Defense Blog, a platform that offers commentary and insight on administration, evaluation, and litigation of group benefits claims as well as other compliance and litigation issues involving ERISA, and the Data Privacy + Security Insider blog.

    Prior to joining Robinson+Cole, she worked in the law department of a Fortune 500 financial institution, focusing on the area of employee benefits and compensation.

  • Experience
    • Experience


      • Routinely drafts plan documents and amendments for health and welfare, qualified and non-qualified benefit plans.

      • Conducts legal research and analysis of a variety of ERISA issues, the Affordable Care Act and related provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.

      • Advised Fortune 500 insurance company’s internal Claims Committee, which was tasked with reviewing ERISA claim appeals.

      • Routinely provide guidance on HIPAA compliance issues and review Business Associate Agreements.

      • Drafted a consolidated plan document, which combined a sponsor's multiple retirement plans.

    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      Connecticut Bar Association
      Chair, Women in the Law Committee, Young Lawyers Section Executive Committee (2019)
      Chair, Tax Law Committee, Young Lawyers Section Executive Committee (2018 - 2019)
      Co-chair, Women in the Law Committee, Young Lawyers Section Executive Committee (2017 - 2018)

      American Bar Association

      Massachusetts Bar Association
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Connecticut Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Star of the Year Award, 2017-2018 bar year

      Listed as a Rising Star in the 2018 Connecticut Super Lawyers list.

    • Publications


      "Terminating a Defined Benefit Plan Checklist," published in Lexis Practice Advisor, co-authored with Virginia E. McGarrity (July 2019)
      • » more info
      • View article

      "Disaster Relief in the Workplace," published in Labor and Employment Newsletter, co-authored with Virginia E. McGarrity (Fall 2017)
      • » more info
      • View article

      "Proposed Expansion of the PBGC's Missing Participant Program," co-authored with Virginia E. McGarrity, published in the Fall 2017 edition of the Public Fiduciary
      • » more info

      "Trump admin. allows employers to opt out of ACA's contraception mandate," published in Hartford Business Journal, co-authored with Virginia E. McGarrity (11/6/2017)

    • Presentations


      "Hot Topics in Employment: Discrimination & Harassment," co-presented with Abby M. Warren, for the CT Bar Association in New Britain, CT (5/14/2019)

      "Tax and Estate Planning," moderator, as part of a career panel at Quinnipiac University (3/4/2019)
      • » more info

      "Panel on Careers in Tax-Related Areas of Practice," for the Quinnipiac University School of Law's Tax Law Society in North Haven, CT (3/4/2019)
      • » more info

      "Struggles Women in Law Face and How Men Can Be Allies," at the Quinnipiac University School of Law in Hamden, Connecticut (11/15/2017)
      • » more info

    • News

      R+C in the News

      • July 26, 2019

        Virginia McGarrity and Alisha Sullivan Co-Author Checklist on Terminating a Defined Benefit Plan Published in Lexis Practice Advisor

        • » more info
        • View article
      • May 15, 2019

        Abby Warren and Alisha Sullivan Speak at CBA's Young Lawyers Section Event

        • » more info
      • March 22, 2019

        Alisha Sullivan Moderates Panel on Careers in Tax-Related Areas of Practice

        • » more info
      • February 12, 2019

        Robinson+Cole Supports Annual CBA-YLS Diversity Award Dinner

      • October 18, 2018

        51 Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

        • » more info
        • View article
      • June 6, 2018

        Amanda Schreiber and Alisha Sullivan Appointed to Connecticut Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Leadership Roles

        • » more info
        • View article
      • January 10, 2018

        Virginia McGarrity and Alisha Sullivan Co-author Article Published in ABA Labor and Employment Law Newsletter

        • » more info
      • December 22, 2017

        Virginia McGarrity and Alisha Sullivan Co-author Article Published in the Public Fiduciary

        • » more info
      • November 28, 2017

        Alisha Sullivan Presents on Women in the Law Program at Quinnipiac University

        • » more info
      • November 15, 2017

        Virginia McGarrity and Alisha Sullivan Co-author Article Published in the Hartford Business Journal

        • » more info
      • May 30, 2017

        Alisha Sullivan Appointed to CBA’s Young Lawyers Section Roles

        • » more info

      R+C News Releases

      • June 13, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Appointed to Connecticut Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Leadership Roles

    • Newsletters


      IRS Issues Long-Awaited Hardship Distribution Guidance (11/16/2018)