Retirement Law & Policy

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. Students who take one of her classes in Real Estate, Property, or Employee Benefits Law will have not only an award-winning teacher, but also a professor who is an elected member of the prestigious American College of Real Estate Lawyers and the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel.

A prolific writer, Professor Medill is the sole author of Introduction to Employee Benefits Law: Policy and Practice (West Academic 6th ed. forthcoming 2024), Experiencing Property (West Academic forthcoming 2024), Developing Professional Skills: Property (hardcopy 2011; interactive digital-only version forthcoming 2023), and Acing Property (West Academic 3rd ed. 2021).  She also is a co-author of the Contemporary Property textbook (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, is used at over 40 law schools in the United States.  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 professional identity formation of law students.  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. The series is now being converted to an interactive digital-only format for students to practice and self-assess their professional legal skills and reflect on their professional identity. 

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.  She also was selected for advanced training in higher education as a participant in the Big Ten Academic Leadership Program. 

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.  In addition to being an elected member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers and the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, Professor Medill also is an elected Member of the American Law Institute. 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 and individualized Programs of Concentrated Study in Real Estate Law, Human Resources Law, Wealth Management Law, Corporate Compliance Law, and the Healthcare Administration Law.

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