"It is a top-notch ERISA law firm." – Chambers USA 2022
“They know this stuff cold – among the best in the industry. Great to work with.” – Legal 500 USA 2021
“This team is simply outstanding- knows this area extremely well and are in high demand for their expertise. This is a complex area of law and the team is able to explain things in simple terms. Very responsive and pleasant to work with.” – Legal 500 USA 2020
To litigate cases about employee benefits requires substantive know-how and the ability to translate arcane concepts into terms that lay judges can understand. Mayer Brown has a thriving ERISA Litigation practice that combines deep experience, skilled advocacy and cutting-edge insights.
Our ERISA litigators are neither benefits lawyers nor litigation generalists—they are full-time litigators who focus on understanding how benefits disputes arise and are adjudicated. As such, our lawyers have been retained to offer counsel on all of the issues that typically arise in litigation or administrative proceedings involving employee benefit plans. We are regularly engaged by plan sponsors and plan administrators, as well as individual and corporate fiduciaries, trustees, custodians, financial institutions and plan service providers, in matters ranging from individual benefit disputes to complex class actions. And we counsel those same clients about how to reduce their risk of being sued in the first place. We have also been preapproved by fiduciary liability carriers to provide defense for their insureds.
The breadth of our experience and our client successes have drawn numerous accolades for both the group and its lawyers from leading publications such as Law360, Legal 500 USA, Chambers USA, The National Law Journal and Best Lawyers. We were named by Law360 as a “Benefits Practice Group of the Year” four years in a row (2019-2022). Our lawyers were also recognized in Band 1 for ERISA Litigation by Chambers USA for each of the last three years (2021-2023), as a 2023 Law360 Rising Star and a 2022 & 2020 Law360 MVP, a Hall of Fame for ERISA Litigation by Legal 500 USA, and as a 2019 “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in the category of ERISA Litigation. Additionally, one of our partners was recently named an Employment Law Trailblazer by The National Law Journal, which recognizes lawyers who “continue to make their mark in various aspects of legal work in the areas of employment law.”
When working with Mayer Brown, clients benefit not just from the skills and experience of our ERISA litigators but also from those of our other top-notch professionals. ERISA matters often intersect with investigations by US federal agencies (such as the Department of Labor, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Internal Revenue Service) and other benefits and tax issues, so we regularly coordinate with our ERISA Fiduciary counseling group, which contributes a deep understanding of ERISA’s regulatory environment, and our firm’s esteemed Securities Litigation & Enforcement and Tax Controversy practices. We also understand that the law is not static and is shaped by litigation strategy. We therefore turn to our elite Supreme Court & Appellate litigation practice when it will benefit our clients. Our Supreme Court & Appellate practice is consistently recognized as one of the best in the United States by Chambers USA and Legal 500 US.
Although our practice covers the full domain of ERISA litigation, here is a sampling of our experience:
Recent trends have prompted fiduciaries to be sued, often in class actions, under complaints challenging plan investment decisions; plan fee arrangements, including recordkeeping costs and revenue sharing among plan providers; employer stock options; benefits claims denials; and out-of-network healthcare provider billing practices. We have substantial experience in each of these areas. Lawyers in our ERISA Litigation practice are experienced in managing relationships with fiduciary liability carriers and in addressing concerns that arise in such cases. Our favorable results speak for themselves.
Our ERISA Litigation lawyers are practiced in working with the Department of Labor to resolve investigations, audits and enforcement actions, which we have defended on behalf of plans and plan sponsors, advisers and other fiduciaries and service providers. For example, we have represented investment fund advisers in connection with Department of Labor conflict-of-interest challenges, government contractors in Department of Labor investigations over plan fees charged to participants and financial institutions in connection with, among other things, the Department of Labor’s investigation into mutual fund market timing practices, the Department of Labor’s enforcement initiative against cross-trading and in preparing comments to the Department of Labor on its class exemption for passive cross-trading.
The tides of litigation often follow the regulatory agenda of the Department of Labor. Our ERISA Litigation lawyers counsel clients on how to mitigate risks stemming from Department of Labor rulemaking proceedings and have challenged regulatory overreaches in court using the tools of the Administrative Procedure Act. Together with members of our ERISA Fiduciary counseling group, we have also sought formal exemptions and opinion letters from the Department of Labor.
Given this wide range of experience, we are exceptionally well qualified to help clients deal with the controversies that ERISA still generates more than 40 years after it was adopted.