Shannon Goff Kukulka is an employee benefits attorney in Holland & Knight's Nashville office. Experience as in-house counsel for a Fortune 500 company, a master's degree in business and roles in human resources and international law have provided Ms. Kukulka special insight into complex employee benefits issues. Clients appreciate her in-depth legal knowledge, broad experience and ability to develop creative, practical and cost-effective solutions to problems that may otherwise lead to penalties or litigation.

Companies across various industries value Ms. Kukulka's assistance with:

  • retirement plans, including pension, 401(k), profit-sharing and nonqualified plans
  • health and welfare plans, continuation coverage issues and Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance
  • executive compensation arrangements, change in control and "golden parachute" tax issues, and Section 409A compliance
  • equity-based compensation arrangements, including stock options, restricted stock and phantom stock
  • benefit issues in corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions (M&A), divestitures, financings and restructurings, and 280G analyses
  • benefit matters arising under securities laws
  • collectively bargained plans
  • international benefits issues
  • Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) litigation strategy and government audits

Ms. Kukulka has spoken and provided training on various topics, including:

  • healthcare reform laws and compliance/Affordable Care Act
  • equity incentives/executive compensation
  • corporate governance practices related to benefits and compensation
  • fiduciary obligations and audits
  • electronic compliance/e-strategies
  • best practices in IRS, U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) audits
  • benefits due diligence and integration considerations in M&A
  • wellness program compliance, including under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), ACA, Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • international benefits issues

Ms. Kulkula has also authored several articles on healthcare reform, e-strategies and wellness programs for publications such as Workspan MagazineEmployee Benefit NewsADVANCE for Long-Term Care Management and Benefits Magazine.

Representative Experience

  • Represented Newport Healthcare, the national leader in treating higher-acuity mood and co-occurring disorders in teens and young adults, in its acquisition of Minnesota-based PrairieCare, a premier provider of mental health services in the Midwest with one of the nation's largest pediatric psychiatric practices. The firm continues to assist the client with general counsel by providing attention to regulatory and diligence matters, reviewing and preparing purchase agreements, and more


  • Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Mexico, International Business Courses
  • New York University School of Law, LL.M.
  • University of Georgia, M.A., cum laude
  • University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D.
  • University of South Carolina, International M.B.A, magna cum laude
  • University of South Carolina-Coastal, B.A., magna cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Illinois
  • Tennessee
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • Tennessee Bar Association Leadership Law, Alumna
  • Member, Nashville Bar Association
  • Tennessee Bar Association
  • Illinois Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • Middle Tennessee Employee Benefits Council
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
  • Lawyers' Association for Women
  • Tennessee Bar Association's Glass Ceiling Initiative, Past Member
  • Waller Diversity Committee, Former Member
  • Waller Women's Initiative Committee, Past Chair
  • Book'em Board of Directors, Past Member
  • First Steps Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Past Member
  • The Children's House of Nashville Board of Directors, Past Member
  • Nashville Adult Literacy Council, Pro Bono Volunteer
  • Habitat for Humanity, Pro Bono Volunteer
  • Hands on Nashville, Pro Bono Volunteer
  • United Way, Pro Bono Volunteer
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Corporate Governance Law, 2023-2024; Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2013-2024; Employment Law - Management, 2023-2024
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law Lawyer of the Year, 2023