Nancy G. Ross

Litigation & Dispute Resolution, ERISA Litigation, Trial Litigation

“’a preeminent attorney for ERISA litigation,’” and “‘thorough in her preparation and skilled in negotiation’... ‘an absolutely excellent ERISA litigator...’"
Chambers 2023


Nancy G. Ross is a partner in Mayer Brown's Chicago office and Chair of the award-winning ERISA Litigation practice, named by Law360 as a “Benefits Practice Group of the Year” four years in a row (2019-2022). She focuses her practice on the area of employee benefits class action litigation and counseling under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Nancy is consistently recognized as a leader in ERISA litigation. She has been named a Benefits MVP by Law360 on more than one occasion, most recently in 2022, a recognition reserved for an elite slate of attorneys who have distinguished themselves from their peers by securing hard-earned successes in high-stakes litigation. Nancy has extensive experience in counseling and representing employers, boards of directors, plan fiduciaries and trustees in matters concerning pension and welfare benefit plans. Her experience includes representation of pension and 401(k) plans, ESOPs, trustees and employers concerning their administration of plan assets and fiduciary responsibilities before the courts and the Department of Labor. Nancy frequently represents directors and officers who are named as defendants in ERISA litigation over 401(k) plans and other employee benefit plans. She also has extensive experience in assisting employers seeking to reduce their retiree health benefits exposure. Nancy has also been approved by various insurance companies to represent directors and officers in fiduciary litigation.


  • Secured in important victory for an electric power holding company and its Benefits Committee in a nationwide ERISA class action challenging the administration of its 401(k) plan, with more than 39,000 participants and $8.6 billion in assets. The claims alleged breach of fiduciary duty by causing the plan to pay allegedly excessive recordkeeping and administrative fees and managed account services fees. After two years of hard-fought litigation, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their case with prejudice, withdrawing all claims against our client and the company.


  • Law360: Nancy was named a Benefits MVP by Law360 in 2020 and 2022. Mayer Brown has earned a spot in Law360’s “Benefits Practice Group of the Year” three years in a row (2019-2021).
  • National Law Journal: Nancy has been named to The National Law Journal’s (NLJ) list of 2019 “Employment Law Trailblazers.” This inaugural list recognizes “agents of change” – legal professionals who have impacted employment law and the overall legal industry through new types of strategies and innovative court cases.
  • Best Lawyers: Since 2015, she has been consistently recognized as a leading lawyer in ERISA Litigation by Best Lawyers. Nancy was also named a 2019 “Lawyer of the Year ERISA Litigation – Chicago.” Selected as a nominee for the “Women of Influence” Award by Best Lawyers (Spring 2017 Business Edition). In nominating Nancy, her peers write: “Nancy’s confidence in herself and her abilities, whether in the courtroom, on a client call, or at a firm meeting, always shines through, setting a wonderful example for women around her.” Selected as a “Lawyer of the Year Honoree, Litigation – ERISA” by Best Lawyers (Spring 2016 Business Edition). Also selected as a 2014 “Lawyer of the Year ERISA Litigation - Chicago.” Only one lawyer in each specialty, in a designated metropolitan area, is selected for this prestigious honor. Also selected by her peers for inclusion in the 2015 edition in the field of Litigation – ERISA.
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. Since 2006, Nancy has been recognized as a leader in ERISA litigation and benefits litigation. Chambers notes that, “The ‘talented and engaging’ Nancy Ross is a top-flight practitioner who has played a major role in driving the practice forward.” She is an “’extraordinarily approachable and accessible’ lawyer, who ‘understands the issues, not just the final legal points,’ of complex ERISA matters.” She “works with clients to find realistic solutions. She is an innovative thinker.”
  • Illinois Super Lawyers: Nancy has been named among the top lawyers in the field of employee benefits/ERISA since 2005. She has also been named one of the top 50 women lawyers in Illinois consistently since 2008, and was named among the top 100 lawyers in Illinois in 2017 and 2018.
  • Legal 500 United States: Nancy has been recognized, since 2008, as a leader in ERISA litigation. In 2020, she was named to the Hall of Fame in the category of ERISA Litigation and has continued to be recognized for the third consecutive year. Sources say, she is “‘fantastic.’ She is described as an ‘expert in this area and able to break things down for non-ERISA attorneys to understand.‘” She is described as having, “celebrity status within the ERISA legal community.” She is a “‘lead lawyer’...”who is ‘very imaginative and creative and writes extremely persuasively’ and has ‘a nice rapport with the judge’.” The publication refers to Nancy as an authority on employee and benefits disputes, stating, “Nancy Ross is ‘just a total expert’ on employee benefits disputes, and ‘understands the implication of every issue.’”
  • Benchmark Litigation: Nancy has been recognized as a litigation star since 2019. Nancy was also listed in Benchmark Litigation's 2018 "Top 250 Women in Litigation" list, which highlights the nation's leading women who participate in the "most impactful litigation matters in recent history[.]"

Nancy’s reputation as a leader in ERISA litigation has earned her recognition as a top employment lawyer in the following additional publications:

  • Expert Guides' 2016 Guide to Women in Business Law
  • Human Resource Executive Magazine
  • The Best Lawyers in America
  • Lawdragon


  • Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD
  • University of Colorado, BA


  • Illinois


  • US Supreme Court
  • US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Professional & Community Involvement

  • Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, in recognition of her distinguished service and professional attainment in the field of employee benefits
  • Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, recognizing outstanding dedication to the welfare of the community, the traditions of the profession and the advancement of the objective of the American Bar Association (ABA) 
  • Apointee of the Policy Board Advisory Council for The American Benefits Council, one of the leading industry organizations advancing the interests of corporations in providing employee benefits
  • Global Advisory Board Member of the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF)
  • Former Board Member of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois
  • Former co-chair of the Fiduciary Responsibility Committee of the ABA Employee Benefits Committee in the ABA’s Labor and Employment Section
  • Regular speaker at the ACI Conference on ERISA Litigation
  • Former Member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Bar Foundation
  • Former Member of the Grants Committee of the Chicago Bar Foundation
  • Member of the Advisory Council and former board member of the Judge James P. Moran Center For Youth Advocacy, which provides legal and social services to minors
  • Editor of the Benefits Law Journal, a preeminent publication featuring articles addressing important issues in benefits litigation
  • Taught Litigation Procedure and Strategy as an Adjunct Professor at Loyola University School of Law
  • Law360 Benefits Editorial Advisory Board