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Meet Our Professionals

Debra E. Kleman


Debbie Kleman is a highly experienced attorney that advises clients on qualified and nonqualified retirement plans, executive compensation arrangements, equity based arrangements (including stock options, restricted stock, and employee stock purchase plans), and other benefit plans. In addition, she assists clients with a broad range of employee benefits issues that include the design and implementation of employee benefit plans, reporting and disclosure requirements, and employee communications.

Debbie also provides advice regarding COBRA benefit continuation rights and obligations, employee benefits issues in the context of mergers and acquisition, HIPAA privacy and security compliance, § 280G golden parachute issues, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), welfare plans (including medical, cafeteria, and flexible benefits plans), and § 162 (m) bonus plans. She is also a member of the Public Company Growth & Compliance group.

Representative Experience

  • Prepared an omnibus equity compensation plan for employees and formula restricted stock plan for nonemployee directors for a publicly traded Fortune 300 company, including proxy disclosures, prospectuses, and form agreements.
  • Assisted a large manufacturing company through the process of spinoffs from its parent company’s 401(k) and pension plans.
  • Guided a dissolving company through the termination of its defined benefit pension plan, including Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) and IRS filings.
  • Advised a publicly traded Fortune 300 company on its Section 162(m) bonus plan and "plan within a plan" structures.
  • Drafted a complex nonqualified deferred compensation plan for a publicly traded company for its key employees and directors, assisted with the associated rabbi trust and related securities filings.
  • Drafted a long-term bonus plan for senior management team of a national retailer.
  • Assisted various publicly traded and privately held companies regarding Section 409A compliance.
  • Assisted large manufacturing company with multifaceted voluntary correction program submission for its 401(k) plan and obtained IRS compliance statement.

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Honors & Awards

  • The Best Lawyers in America in Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2013-2024
  • Greenville Business Magazine's "Legal Elite" in Employee Benefits, 2022-2023
  • The Best Lawyers in America "Lawyer of the Year" in Greenville Metro Area for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2018
  • Phi Beta Kappa


  • Southern Employee Benefits Conference, Member
  • National Association of Stock Plan Professionals, Member