Colleen E. Medill is Of Counsel to Koley Jessen. She is the Robert and Joanne Berkshire Family Professor of Law at the University of Nebraska College of Law, and a leading national expert on federal employee benefits law. Colleen brings a unique combination of over twenty years of theoretical and practical ERISA experience to our team.
Her private practice experience and knowledge base cover a wide range of ERISA-related compliance, transactional and litigation issues involving single employer and multiemployer pension and health care plans, ESOPs, corporate officers and directors, discretionary and directed trustees, plan administrators and fiduciaries. Colleen currently serves as one of 15 members on the United States Department of Labor’s Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans, known as the ERISA Advisory Council.
Colleen is the sole author of Introduction to Employee Benefits Law: Policy and Practice (West 4th ed. 2014), which has been used by over 40 ABA-accredited law schools, including ten Big Ten Schools (Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers and Wisconsin), as well as Virginia, Notre Dame, Boston University, Boston College, San Diego, Utah, Wake Forest, Tennessee, Arizona, Kansas, and Missouri. Her law review articles on ERISA and public policy have been published in such journals as the Cornell Law Review, the Iowa Law Review, the Emory Law Journal, the North Carolina Law Review, and the Michigan Journal of Law Reform. She regularly speaks at national conferences on ERISA topics, and has testified as an invited expert witness before the Department of Labor’s ERISA Advisory Council on trends in fiduciary plan administration and the outsourcing of ERISA fiduciary duties. Professor Medill has been invited twice by the Federal Judicial Center to speak on the topic of ERISA Litigation in the Federal Courts to federal law clerks from around the country as part of the Center’s specialized continuing legal education program for its staff attorneys. She has served as an expert witness/consultant to both plaintiff and defense counsel in multi-million ERISA litigation matters involving fiduciary duties and company stock held in 401(k) plans, prudent investment practices, the vesting of retiree health care benefits, and the validity of spousal joint and survivor annuity waivers.
Colleen graduated first in her law school class from University of Kansas School of Law. Following graduation from law school, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Deanell Reece Tacha on the United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. After her clerkship, Professor Medill practiced law in Kansas City, Missouri, for seven years with the firm of Stinson Leonard Street, LLP. Her private legal practice focused on primarily on compliance, transactional, and litigation issues arising under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and the Internal Revenue Code.
In 1997, Colleen left private legal practice to join the full-time faculty at The University of Tennessee College of Law. At Tennessee, she created the school’s first course on Employee Benefits Law and wrote the first edition of her textbook in order to teach the course. While at Tennessee, Professor Medill won multiple awards for both her teaching and her scholarship, and was granted tenure and promoted to full professor in only six years. In 2004, Professor Medill left Tennessee to return to her Midwestern roots by joining the full-time faculty at the University of Nebraska College of Law. Since arriving at Nebraska in 2004, Professor Medill has been selected by the students twice as the Professor of the Year. She also has been honored with the John A. Weaver Award for Teaching Excellence by the University of Nebraska for her national reputation and impact on law school teaching methods, the Distinguished Faculty Award from the University of Nebraska College of Law Alumni Council and the Bunger Memorial Award for Excellence in teaching and research.
Colleen is the first and currently the only Nebraskan to be elected as a Fellow of the prestigious American College of Employee Benefits Counsel (ACEBA). She is an elected member of the American Law Institute and the past President of the Section on Employee Benefits Law and Executive Compensation for the Association of American Law Schools.
News & Publications
- Nebraska State Bar Association, 10.11.2017
- Compliance Nuts & Bolts04.11.2017
- Election Implications for Employee Benefit Plans01.10.2017
- Regulatory Compliance Update10.04.2016
- New Regulations: What Plan Sponsors Need to Know07.12.2016
- Hot Topics in Benefits Litigation04.12.2016
- Regulating ERISA Fiduciary Outsourcing102 Iowa L. Rev. 505, 2017
- 95 Neb. L. Rev. 603, 2017
Honors & Affiliations
Community & Professional
Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans (Member, 2017-2019)
American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, Elected Fellow
American Law Institute, Elected Member
Association of American Law Schools, Section on Employee Benefits Law and Executive Compensation, Past President and Member
American Bar Association, Sections on Taxation, Labor and Employment Law, and Health Law, Member
Lincoln Downtown Rotary Club 14
Catholic Lawyers Guild of the Diocese of Lincoln
St. Thomas More Society (Catholic Law Students Group), University of Nebraska College of Law, Faculty Advisor
J.D., University of Kansas School of Law, 1989 (with highest distinction)
- Order of the Coif
B.A., University of Kansas (with highest distinction)
- Economics and Political Science
- State of Nebraska
State of Kansas