Colleen E. Medill

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Colleen E. Medill

Robert & Joanne Berkshire Family Professor of Law

257 LAW UNL 68583-0902
(402)472-1206 | Email

Areas of Expertise
  • Employee Benefits Law (ERISA)
  • Property
  • Real Estate Transactions
Education
  • J.D., 1989, with highest distinction, University of Kansas School of Law
  • Order of the Coif, 1989
  • Articles Editor, 1988-89, Kansas Law Review
  • B.A., Economics and Political Science, 1985, with highest distinction, University of Kansas

Appointments

  • Robert & Joanne Berkshire Family Professor of Law (2012-present)
  • Warren R. Wise Professor of Law (2008-2012)
  • Hevelone Research Chair (2008-2009)
  • Cline Williams Research Chair (2006-2007)
  • Professor, University of Nebraska College of Law (2005-present)
  • Associate Professor, University of Nebraska College of Law (2004-2005)
  • Professor, University of Tennessee College of Law (2003-2004)
  • Associate Professor, University of Tennessee College of Law (1997-2003)

Biography

Colleen E. Medill teaches Employee Benefits Law (ERISA), Property, and Real Estate Transactions at the College of Law.

Professor Medill graduated first in her law school class from the 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. Her private legal practice focused federal employee benefits law and federal and state laws regulating banks and bank holding companies.

Professor Medill teaches three of courses using textbooks she has authored. She is the author of CONTEMPORARY PROPERTY (West 2013), INTRODUCTION TO EMPLOYEE BENEFITS LAW: POLICY AND PRACTICE (West, 2004, 2007, 2010), ACING PROPERTY (West, 2009, 2012), and DEVELOPING PROFESSIONAL SKILLS: PROPERTY (West 2011). Professor Medill is the creator and serves as the editor for West's Developing Professional Skills series. Her articles on federal retirement policy have been published in such journals as the Cornell 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 federal employee benefits law and retirement policy.

Professor Medill has served as an officer for the section on Employee Benefits Law, the section on Property, and the section on Women in Legal Education for the Association of American Law Schools. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a member of the Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association. She currently serves as the chair of the Curriculum Committee at the College of Law and is the faculty advisor for the College's Solo and Small Firm Practice Concentration, the Program of Concentrated Study in Real Estate Law, and the Proram of Concentrated Study in Human Resources Law. Professor Medill serves as the faculty advisor for two student organizations, the Saint Thomas More Society and the Nebraska Real Estate Law Society. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Catholic Lawyers Guild for the Diocese of Lincoln.

Pension and Employee Benefit Law

Law 751/G (1-4 cr) An introduction to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the federal law governing employee benefit plans sponsored by private employers. An applied problem method of instruction with emphasis on questions, issues, and problems involving employee benefit plans likely to arise in a general litigation or business transaction practice. Course coverage also includes selected provisions of Chapter 400 of the Internal Revenue Code governing qualified retirement plans.

Property I & II

Law 505/G & 506/G (3-6 cr, max 6) Problems in possession, gifts of personal property, bona fide purchasers of personal property, estates in land, landlord and tenant, the modern land transaction, controlling the use of land, easements, licenses and equitable servitudes and constitutional limitations on the power of government to restrict individual economic liberties.

Real Estate Transactions

Law 690/G (1-4 cr) An examination of the typical provisions found in the legal documents that govern the transfer and financing of real estate and related legal issues with an emphasis on transactional drafting.  This course covers listing agreements, real estate sales contracts, deeds and deed covenants, title examination and title insurance, mortgage substitutes such as installment sale contracts, and mortgage agreements and deeds of trust.  The course concludes with an examination of the foreclosure process and alternatives to foreclosure. 

Recent Articles

  • The Federal Common Law of Vicarious Fiduciary Liability Under ERISA, 42 Mich. L.J. Law Ref. 1 (2011).
  • The Retirement Distribution Decision Ten Years Later: Results From An Empirical Study, 16 Elder L.J. 295 (2009).
  • Transforming the Role of the Social Security Administration, 92 Cornell Law Review 323 (2007) (Social Security Reform Symposium Issue).
  • Resolving the Judicial Paradox of "Equitable" Relief under ERISA Section 502(a)(3), 39 J. Marshall Law Review 827 (2006) (ERISA Symposium Issue).
  • Challenging the Four Truths of Personal Social Security Accounts: Evidence from the World of 401(k) Plans, 81 North Carolina Law Review 901 (2003).
  • Stock Market Volatility and 401(k) Plans, 34 Michigan L.J. Ref. 469 (2001).
  • Targeted Pension Reform, 27 Legislation 1 (2001).
  • The Individual Responsibility Model of Retirement Plans Today: Conforming ERISA Policy to Reality, 49 Emory L.J. 1 (2000).
  • HIPAA And Its Related Legislation: A New Role For ERISA In The Regulation Of Private Health Care Plans?, 65 Tenn. L. Rev. 485 (1998).
  • The Law Of Directed Trustees Under ERISA: A Proposed Blueprint For The Federal Courts, 61 Mo. L. Rev. 825 (1996).

Books & Book Chapters

  • CONTEMPORARY PROPERTY (with Grant S. Nelson, Dale A. Whitman, and Shelley Saxer (West 4th ed. 2013)
  • DEVELOPING PROFESSIONAL SKILLS: PROPERTY (West 2011).
  • INTRODUCTION TO EMPLOYEE BENEFITS LAW: POLICY AND PRACTICE (West 2004, 2007, 2010) (with accompanying Teacher's Manual and semi-annual supplements).
  • ACING PROPERTY (West 2009, 2012).
  • Enron and the Pension System, published in ENRON: CORPORATE FIASCOS AND IMPLICATIONS (Foundation Press 2003).

Select Presentations

  • Invited Speaker, Public and Private Employee Benefits in Turmoil, 2012 International Conference for Law and Society, June 2012, Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • Program Moderator, Tenth Annual Symposium on Employee Benefits Law, Center for Tax Law and Employee Benefits, April 2012, Chicago, Illinois.
  • Invited Speaker, ERISA Litigation in the Federal Courts, The William Matthew Bryne, Jr. Judicial Clerkship Institute, Pepperdine Unviersity School of Law, March 2012, Malibu, California (co-sponsored by the National Federal Judicial Center).
  • Invited Presenter, The New Revocable Property, Conference on Employee Benefits in an Era of Retrenchment, Washington University Law School, March 2012, St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Invited Speaker, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Health, Law, and Ethics Society, March 2012, Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • Program Moderator, An Objective Discussion of Private Sector Pension Plans, Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting, January 2012, Washington, D.C.
  • Invited Speaker, Teaching Skills and Professional Responsibility Concepts in Traditional Doctrinal Courses, Thomson Reuters Innovation in Teaching Summit, August 2011, St. Paul, Minnesota.
  • Invited Commentator, Association of American Law Schools, Workshop on Women Rethinking Equality, June 2011, Washington, D.C.
  • Inivted Speaker, ERISA Litigation in the Federal Courts, The William Matthew Bryne, Jr. Judicial Clerkship Institute, Pepperdine University School of Law, March 2011, Malibu, California (co-sponsored by the national Federal Judicial Center).
  • Inivted Speaker, National Health Care Reform: A Post-Election Analysis, American Consitution Society, November 2010, Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • Invited Speaker, Employee Health Care Benefits and ERISA Preemption, Association of American Law Schools, Workshop on Work Law, June 2009, Long Beach, California.
  • Panel Organizer and Speaker, Merging the "Old" with the "New": Community-Based Collaborative Legal Research and Opportunities for Empirical Legal Studies, Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Association of American Law Schools, July 2008, Palm Beach, Florida.
  • Invited Speaker, Ninth Annual Joint Conference of the Retirement Research Consortium, Retiree Perceptions and Decision-Making Concerning Longevity, Inflation, and Investment Risk in the Early Years of the Post-Retirement Phase, August 2007, Washington, D.C.
  • Invited Speaker, Annual Meeting of the National Tax Association, Improving Retirement Savings Through Retirement Financial Education: A "Best Practices" Approach, November 2006, Boston, Massachusetts.

Works in Progress

  • The New Revocable Property (article in progress)
  • INTRODUCTION TO EMPLOYEE BENEFITS LAW: POLICY AND PRACTICE (West 4th ed. forthcoming 2014)
  • Series Editor for West's Developing Professional Skills series

Other Publications

  • How Do Conflicts of Interest Affect Benefit-Denial Claims Under ERISA?, 2008 PREVIEW U.S. SUP. CT. CAS. 343 (previewing Metropolitan Life Insurance- Co. v. Glenn).
  • Are Constructive Trusts or Equitable Liens Available As Equitable Remedies Under Section 502(a)(3) of ERISA?, 2006 PREVIEW U.S. SUP. CT. CAS. 309 (previewing Sereboff v. Mid Atlantic Medical Services, Inc.).
  • How Readable Are Summary Plan Descriptions for Health Care Plans?, EMPLOYEE BENEFIT RESEARCH INSTITUTE, Notes (Oct. 2006) (with Wiener, Bornstein, and McGorty).

Awards

  • Professor of the Year Award (voted by the first year class)(2008)
  • Distinguished Faculty Award, University of Nebraska College of Law Alumni Council (2007)
  • One of ten finalists for the University of Tennesse National Alumni Association Outstanding Teacher Award (2002)
  • Winner of the Labor and Social Welfare Policy Category for the 2002 Stanford/Yale Junior Faculty Scholarship Forum
  • UT College of Law Marilyn V. Yarbrough Faculty Award for Writing Excellence (2001)
  • UT College of Law Harold C. Warner Outstanding Teacher Award (2000)
  • UT COllege of Law W. Allen Separk Faculty Scholarship Award (2000)

Research Grants

  • Principal Investigator, Retiree Perceptions and Decision-Making Concerning Longevity, Inflations, and Investment Risk in the Early Years of the Post-Retirement Phase, funded by a Sandell Grant from the Social Security Adminstration, awarded and administered by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (2006-2007)($30,000).
  • Co-Principal Investigator, An Empirical Analysis of Summary Plan Description Language (with Richard Weiner and Brian Bornstein), funded jointly by the Commonwealth Fund and the Employee Benefit Research Institute (2005-2006) ($20,000).

Professional Memberships & Activities

  • Elected Member, American Law Institute (since 2006)
  • Member, American Bar Association (since 1989)
  • Member, ABA Committee on Employee Benefits Law (since 2008)
  • Executive Committee Member, Association of American Law Schools, Section on Women In Legal Education (2009-2011)
  • Mentoring Program Committee Chair, Association of American Law Schools, Section on Women In Legal Education (2010-2011)
  • Secretary, Association of American Law, Section on Property (2011)
  • Chair, Association of American Law Schools, Section of Employee Benefits Law (2003-2004)
  • Pension Rights Center, Washington, D.C., Conversation on Coverage Project, Member of Working Group III (2004-2007)
  • Member of the Kansas, Missouri, and Tennesse Bars (inactive status)
  • Research Fellow, Employee Benefit Research Institute (1999-present)