Maria focuses her practice on executive compensation and employee benefits matters. She has extensive experience advising on non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements, performance-based cash and equity plans, as well as on employment, severance and change of control agreements. Maria is also experienced in advising public companies relating to the SEC’s executive compensation proxy disclosure rules.
Prior to returning to private practice, Maria served for over 12 years as associate general counsel to a public global packaging company, MeadWestvaco Corporation, with more than 16,000 employees. She was responsible for the management and oversight of legal advice on human resource matters, including domestic and certain international issues. In this role, she provided counsel on general employment and employee benefits matters, including 401(k) plans, ESOPs, defined benefit plans, as well as health and welfare programs. She also provided support to the company’s compensation committee on executive compensation issues and related SEC disclosure matters; a significant part of her responsibilities also included providing advice on employee benefits aspects of domestic and international mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and other business combinations and the integration of plans and programs following such transactions. Having served as in-house counsel, Maria is sensitive to the complex operational challenges faced by clients and adept at developing practical solutions to the same.
Maria has served on numerous volunteer boards throughout her career and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Good Will.
Advised public company on design and implementation of equity plans, change of control agreements, employment agreements (including non-competes), restructuring plans and broad-based severance plans.
Served as counsel to public company governance committee on plan administration relating to ERISA covered plans.
Advice on design and implementation of cash balance conversion of defined benefit plan of public company while obtaining favorable IRS determination letter with no litigation.
Served as benefits counsel to seller in transaction involving spin off of $300 million of surplus assets from seller’s collectively bargained defined benefit plan to purchaser’s newly established collectively bargained defined benefit plan.
Advice in connection with total outsourcing of health, welfare, retirement and savings plan administration to third party administrator.
Chair, Board of Directors, Goodwill of Coastal and Central Virginia, Inc.
Member, Virginia Bar Association
Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2020, Woodward/White, Inc.