Lisa A. Tavares

Lisa Tavares

Lisa Tavares, co-chair of Venable's Business Division, advises clients on Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and tax requirements applicable to retirement plans and non-qualified arrangements, health and welfare benefits, and fringe benefit arrangements. Lisa represents governmental employers on Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and other benefit plan issues related to governmental plans.  She regularly assists with government correction programs, such as the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS), the Department of Labor (DOL) Voluntary Compliance Program (VCP), and the Voluntary Closing Agreement Program.  Lisa also navigates issues related to mergers and acquisitions, including due diligence, plan mergers, terminations, transition planning, and employee relations. 

Lisa is experienced in negotiating service provider contracts and governance issues. She also has extensive regulatory experience in representing clients on compliance issues with the Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of Labor (DOL), and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).  She has been involved in numerous IRS and DOL audits at all levels. 

Lisa joined Venable after five years as an attorney with the IRS Office of Chief Counsel, National Office, where she concentrated on qualified plan issues under examination and in litigation.  Her responsibilities included advising the IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division, IRS appeals officers, and IRS agents. She worked extensively on litigation regarding plan disqualification, partial termination, prohibited transactions, and worker classification issues. Lisa also has a background as an underwriter for directors and officers liability and ERISA fiduciary liability insurance.

Lisa is a former chair of the Subcommittee on Self-Correction, Determination Letters and Other Administrative Practices of the ABA Tax Section, Employee Benefits Committee, in which she interfaced directly with IRS and DOL officials on issues related to retirement plan administration, regulatory compliance, and government enforcement initiatives.



Government Experience

  • Senior Attorney, Internal Revenue Service, Office of Chief Counsel




  • LL.M. Taxation Georgetown University Law Center 2002
    • Certificate in Employee Benefits, Georgetown University Law Center
  • J.D. Boston College Law School 1995
  • B.A. cum laude Spelman College 1990

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Massachusetts 2009

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Tax Court

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Co-chair, Venable Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Fellow, American College of Employee Benefits Counsel
  • Member, American Bar Association, Tax Section, Employee Benefits Committee, and Subcommittee on Self-Correction, Determination Letters and Other Administrative Practices,  immediate past chair, 2013-2014; chair, 2010-2013; vice-chair, 2004 - 2009 
  • Member, ABA Labor and Employment Section, Employee Benefits Committee
  • Member, Internal Revenue Service, Mid-Atlantic Pension Liaison Group 
  • Member, American Benefits Council, Retirement Income Task Force
  • Member, ERISA Network
  • Member, National Employment Law Council
  • Member, National Bar Association, Greater Washington Area Chapter


  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2019 – 2024
  • Lawyers of Color
    • Nation's Best, 2019
    • Law Firm Leaders, 2022
  • The Best Lawyers Business Edition, Women in Law, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2019
  • Savoy, Most Influential Black Lawyers, 2018
  • Super Lawyers
    • Washington, DC, 2013 – 2016, 2018 – 2019
    • Employee Benefits/ERISA, Washington, DC, 2013
  • Legal 500, Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, 2013, 2018
  • Chambers USA
    • Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, Washington, DC, 2020 - 2024
    • Up and Coming, Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, Washington, DC, 2015