Global Benefits Lawyer Thrives in Highly Regulated Areas

As a partner with FordHarrison LLP, Tiffany Downs thrives on helping clients achieve their goals by incentivizing their employees. At the labor and employment firm, she counsels clients operating in a highly regulated, litigious business climate.

She advises and assists plan administrators and fiduciaries with the design, drafting and administration of welfare and pension plans and non-qualified plans; as well as ERISA, the Affordable Care Act, HIPAA, COBRA and Tax Code compliance issues. She also leads the firms’ Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group. She says employee benefits and executive compensation are an integral part of clients’ business goals.

Downs’ colleagues attribute her success to her tenacity and an unwavering upbeat attitude. They say her personal motto is to “never say no; always find a way to make it happen.”

By becoming a leader of a practice group and being responsible for others, Downs said she learned that seeking input from others, being flexible and evaluating all of the options are tantamount to success.

“Through my merger and acquisition work, I have a positive impact after the deal by integrating the cultures of the companies, and helping clients retain talent with incentives and benefits,” she said. She’s delivered over 150 presentations on the Affordable Care Act requirements, and has assisted numerous employers with the play or pay analysis and the Act’s impact on structure of the workforce.

Downs co-chairs the firm’s Employee Compensation and Benefits International Practice Group (IPG) for Ius Laboris, the global HR law firm alliance, of which FordHarrison is the sole U.S. member firm. She serves on Health Care Reform task forces for several industry groups, is a member of the Employee Benefits Committee of the United States Chamber of Commerce and is an adjunct professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall School of Law, where she teaches an employee benefits class in the LLM program. She previously worked for the United States Department of Labor.

Due to her success in representing her clients and her depth of knowledge in employee benefits issues, she was selected by FordHarrison’s leadership to serve on the Nominating Committee for Succession Planning and as its Privacy Officer, providing guidance on the firm’s data privacy practices. Downs holds a J.D. from Loyola Law School and a B.S. from the University of Louisiana.