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Counsel - Kelly Smith  Hathorn

Kelly Smith Hathorn


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Kelly Smith Hathorn advises public and private sector employers on a variety of employee benefits issues. Kelly has experience with qualified plan design, drafting, administration/compliance, and termination. She also has experience with non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements, including drafting and reviewing executive employment agreements and incentive plans for Code Section 409A compliance.

Kelly also advises clients on the design and administration of their welfare benefit and cafeteria plans, and has spoken on various topics related to employer-provided health benefits, including what employers need to know about the Affordable Care Act. In addition, Kelly has represented employers in pension and benefit claims disputes.

Working with the mergers and acquisitions group, Kelly helps clients navigate the complex benefits issues raised in various corporate transactions.  She regularly advises clients on due diligence issues, and negotiates representations and covenants with respect to the benefit plans, as well as plan termination, merger, and/or amendment to the surviving plans, and employee issues with benefits, including COBRA, following the corporate transaction.

Prior to joining Shipman & Goodwin, Kelly was a law clerk to the Honorable Robert N. Chatigny, United States District Judge for the District of Connecticut. She also served as an intern to the Honorable Jon O. Newman, United States Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit.


  • Listed as a Connecticut Super Lawyer Rising Star®: Employee Benefits/ERISA (2013-2015)
  • Connecticut Law Review, Articles Editor

Teaching Positions

  • University of Connecticut Law School: Assistant to Adjunct Professor, Employee Benefits Law (2010-2016)

Professional Affiliations

  • Connecticut Bar Association

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Practice Areas


  • University of Connecticut School of Law, J.D., 2005, with high honors
  • College of the Holy Cross, B.A., 1998,
    cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • Connecticut

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, District of CT
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