Willkie’s ERISA litigation practice is a team of high-impact trial lawyers who approach the high-stakes, complex, technical world of ERISA litigation with creativity and pragmatism. We find innovative ways to resolve disputes on the best possible terms for our clients, avoiding litigation when it is possible and winning when it is not. Our team includes Chambers and Legal 500-recognized individuals with deep experience in ERISA and related matters.

We represent ERISA fiduciaries, employers and plan service providers in federal courts around the country. We have successfully represented clients in more than 50 ERISA cases, including precedent-setting cases across the ERISA landscape: breach of fiduciary duty lawsuits around fees, investment choices, investment advice, and other features of 401(k) and 403(b) plans; lawsuits around investment advice and management in the ERISA plan space; defined benefit plan class actions; ESOP-related lawsuits; ERISA-related state law and securities class actions; and many other areas.

Our lawyers also provide strategic advice and counseling to plan administrators, fiduciaries and sponsors on a wide range of ERISA compliance and governance issues. We also work with in-house counsel and with human resources and benefits professionals in developing and  implementing programs and strategies for avoiding benefits litigation.



Willkie is privileged to advise and represent leading businesses in the successful and efficient resolution of a variety of potential and actual ERISA litigation matters. Recent noteworthy clients and decisions include:

  • Represent Northwestern University in a breach of fiduciary duty and prohibited transaction class action related to allegedly excessive administration and investment management fees paid to service providers, successfully dismissing the complaint, which was affirmed on appeal.
  • Represent Aon Corporation in a variety of ERISA cases, including a putative class action alleging fiduciary breaches and prohibited transactions in connection with allegedly excessive fees paid to service providers.
  • Represent Alight Solutions in a number of ERISA actions involving pension overpayments, fiduciary breach allegations and estoppel claims related to service provider activities for employer-sponsored pension plans.
  • Represent The Northern Trust Company in an ERISA class action and ADEA collective action alleging anti-cutback and notice claims, as well as fiduciary breach and age discrimination claims, successfully dismissing the action.
  • Represent CenturyLink in a breach of fiduciary duty putative class action challenging the company’s use and management of active multi-manager funds as investment options in its 401(k) plan, successfully dismissing the complaint with no appeal taken.
  • Represent numerous former officers and directors of Appvion Inc. in complex fiduciary breach and prohibited transaction claims in multiple lawsuits challenging the valuation and administration of the Company’s employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).
  • Represent Prudential Insurance Company in a putative class action alleging breach of fiduciary duty claims related to excessive administrative fees and challenging the propriety of certain investment options.

* Some of these matters were handled prior to joining Willkie.