Kelly A. Starr > Vedder Price > Chicago, United States > Lawyer Profile

Vedder Price
CHICAGO, IL 60601-1003
United States
Kelly A. Starr photo

Work Department

Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits - Group Co-Chair




Ms. Starr is a member of Vedder Price’s Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the firm’s Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits group.

Ms. Starr counsels a variety of employers on all aspects of employee benefits law, including the design, tax qualification, legal compliance, correction, interpretation, communication and termination of broad-based employee benefit plans. She also negotiates and structures executive employment agreements and executive compensation and benefit arrangements, including incentive compensation and deferred compensation agreements, severance agreements and change-in-control programs, on behalf of both individual executives and companies. She has substantial experience advising boards of directors and their committees with respect to executive compensation issues.

Prior to attending law school, Ms. Starr was employed with the human resources department of Amoco Corporation.

Ms. Starr currently serves as the Chair of the firm’s Benefits Committee. She formerly served as the Chair of the firm’s Associate Evaluation Committee and as a member of the firm’s Shareholder Compensation Committee, Associate Hiring Committee, Diversity Committee and Nominating Committee.


  • Member, American Bar Association (Sections on Taxation and Business Law)
  • Member, Chicago Bar Association


  • University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 1995, cum laude
  • Cornell University, B.S., 1988

Lawyer Rankings

United States > Labor and employment > Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: design

Notable mandates for the ‘technically competent, easy to work with and very responsive’ team at Vedder Price include ongoing executive compensation advice to Hewlett Packard and 401(k) and defined benefit advice to ArcelorMittal. In a unique matter, practice co-head Kelly Starr is advising newly acquired client Coaching Right Now on executive compensation, employee benefits, independent contractor and contingent workforce issues for its decentralized workforce spanning 20 countries. Patrick Spangler serves as primary outside counsel to aviation services company AAR, and Thomas Hancuch advises educational supplies company Follett on benefits matters including medical and welfare, incentive and deferred compensation plans. Thomas Desmond co-heads the practice, and Daniel Lange and Christopher Collins are also recommended. Named lawyers are based in Chicago.

United States > Labor and employment > Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: transactional

Vedder Price’s Chicago-based team has been involved in several major transactions and has also seen some personnel additions in 2018. Thomas Desmond handled the employee benefit plan issues arising from Byline Bancorp’s $170m acquisition of First Evanston Bancorp; Daniel McKay, Jennifer Durham King and James Morrissey were also involved in the transaction. Further, Christopher Collins and associate Anna Zielinski assisted with MB Financial’s $4.3bn merger with Fifth Third Bancorp. The firm also has an active ESOP practice, where key contacts include Daniel Lange, who recently joined the team from Dentons. Kelly Starr is another contact in the Chicago office, and Scott Adamson is the name to note in the Los Angeles office. John Jacobson Jr. and Stewart Reifler retired in 2018.