Employee Benefits Law (ERISA)

Professor Colleen Medill

Colleen E. Medill Robert & Joanne Berkshire Family Professor of Law & Director of Undergraduate Academic Programs

Professor Colleen Medill is nationally recognized as a scholar of Employee Benefits Law and as a teacher of Property and Legal Skills Development.  She teaches three of her four law school courses using textbooks that she has authored.  Professor Medill is the sole author of Introduction to Employee Benefits Law: Policy and Practice (West 5th ed. 2018), Developing Professional Skills: Property (West 2011), and Acing Property (West 2d ed. 2012).  She is a co-author of Contemporary Property (West 5th ed. 2019).  

Professor Medill is nationally recognized for her scholarship on federal employee benefits law and related public policy.  Her scholarly articles 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.  Her textbook, Introduction to Employee Benefits Law:  Policy and Practice, 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). Other law schools that have used her textbook include Arizona State, Boston College, Boston University, Creighton, Kansas, Marquette, Missouri, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, San Diego, St. Louis, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Wake Forest.  She regularly speaks at national conferences on the responsibilities of employers and the rights of employees under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), and has testified as an invited expert witness at  the Department of Labor on trends in fiduciary plan administration and the outsourcing of ERISA fiduciary duties.  

In the fields of Property and Legal Skills Development, Professor Medill has been at the forefront of the movement in legal education to integrate the teaching of doctrinal theory, legal skills, and the ethical responsibilities of lawyers.  Her book, Developing Professional Skills:  Property, focuses on teaching legal drafting, advocacy, negotiation, and client counseling to first year Property students through exercises that also introduce students to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.  The approach to professional skills training pioneered in Developing Professional Skills: Property formed the basis for West Academic Publishing’s Developing Professional Skills series, for which Professor Medill serves as the series editor.  Professor Medill regularly speaks at national conferences and workshops for law professors regarding how to introduce skills training into traditional doctrinal courses and assess student performance. 

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 on federal employee benefits law and federal and state laws regulating banks and bank holding companies. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Nebraska, she was a faculty member at The University of Tennessee College of Law from 1997-2004. While at Tennessee she won multiple awards for both teaching and scholarship. At Nebraska she is has been selected four times as the Professor of the Year by the law students, honored by the College of Law with the Alumni Council Distinguished Faculty Award and the Bunger Memorial Award for Excellence in teaching and research, and recognized by the University of Nebraska for her national impact on teaching as a recipient of both the Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award and the John E. Weaver Award for Teaching Excellence.

Professor Medill served 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, from 2017 to 2019.  She is an elected Fellow of the prestigious American College of Employee Benefits Counsel and an elected Member of the American Law Institute.  Professor Medill was selected by her peers in the practicing Bar for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America 2020TM in the field of ERISA Litigation. An active member of the Association of American Law Schools, she has served as an officer for three different sections of the AALS (Employee Benefits Law, Property, and Women in Legal Education). At the College of Law, Professor Medill serves as the Director of Undergraduate Academic Programs, working primarily with the Nebraska Honors Program and the College of Business. She also is the faculty advisor for the College of Law's Solo and Small Firm Practice Concentration, the Program of Concentrated Study in Real Estate Law, the Program of Concentrated Study in Human Resources Law, and the Program of Concentrated Study in Wealth Management Law. 

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