Debbie Reiss Hardesty

T 502.568.0330
F 502.581.1087
400 West Market Street
Suite 3200
Louisville, Kentucky 40202-3363

Debbie is a member of the Firm's Executive Committee and is a former Vice Chair of the Firm's business department. She also founded the Firm's Kentucky Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group, and, until recently, led this practice group across the Firm's geography. Debbie regularly addresses a wide variety of issues involving design and tax and ERISA compliance for employee benefit plans and executive compensation programs. She has successfully used her knowledge of stock ownership and compensation programs to lead a number of cross-disciplinary teams in business management and ownership succession transactions.

Example Experiences:

  • Assist in the entire life-cycle of successful ESOP companies. One example: established the ESOP to preserve jobs in the face of possible closure due to loss of capital financing; counseled the company in governance and maintenance of the ESOP; and then represented the company in sale of ESOP's stock to a public company after years of growth.
  • Executive compensation program redesign, requiring termination of some plans, enhancement of others, and addition of new plans, cooperating with in-house counsel, actuaries, and other outside consultants and vendors to create a cohesive new program.
  • Frequently navigate the numerous options available to family-owned companies considering the pros and cons of sale, succession of ownership and management to family members, or the succession to non-family members with or without continued family ownership.

Highlights & Recognitions

  • Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell®
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, 1995-2015, Corporate Law, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law

FBT Publications

Non-FBT Publications and Events

Debbie has served as a great resource to hundreds of businesses around the region throughout 2009-10 in sharing her knowledge and understanding of federal healthcare reform’s effects on employers at seminars and speaking engagements around Kentucky and Indiana.

"Health Benefit Changes in Recent Legislation," presented to clients and friends of Frost Brown Todd and BB&T Insurance Services on April 15, 2009. 

"How to Avoid Code Section 409A Pitfalls in your Stock Plan," presented to the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Stock Plan Administrators on March 24, 2009. 

"HSAs: Basic to Advanced," presented at the Kentuckiana Society for Human Resource Managers Conference in October 2007 and 2008

"New Tax Rules for Deferred Compensation," presented at the 18th Annual Cincinnati Employee Benefits Conference, June 2005 (and other locations, including updates after proposed and final regulations)

"The Top Ten Benefits and Compensation Issues for 2007," presented at the 24th Annual Carl A. Warns Labor and Employment Law Institute, June 2007

Retirement and Fringe Benefit Planning, a chapter in Limited Liability Companies in Kentucky (University of Kentucky College of Law, 1994)

Chapter Author: Executive Compensation, Retirement and Fringe Benefit Issues, in Kentucky Corporation Law (University of Kentucky College of Law, 1997)

Co-Author: Drafting Partnership Agreements (ALI/ABA 7th ed., 1986)

The Employee Benefits Manager's Challenge for 1989 (Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Focus Magazine, Jan/Feb, 1989)

Unique Aspects of Employee Stock Ownership Plans as Retirement Vehicles (The Pension Actuary, October, 1994)

Do Your Employees Need Investment Education? (Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Focus Magazine, Jan./Feb. 1996)

Will your COBRA Procedures Withstand an IRS Audit? (Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Business Bulletin, 1996)

Editor and Author of Monograph:  Business Succession Planning (University of Kentucky College of Law, 1988)

Other Contact Info


Tammy Goodridge
T 502.779.8662