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.


  • 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; Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2013-2023; Employment Law - Management, 2023
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law Lawyer of the Year, 2023