Since 2005, Michelle Roberts has been a successful advocate for disabled individuals and employees. Ms. Roberts specializes in claims for benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), specifically claims for disability benefits. Ms. Roberts has helped numerous clients obtain short and long
-term disability benefits from insurance companies that had wrongfully denied their claims.
Ms. Roberts serves as the President for the Northern District of California Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. She has also been appointed to a three-year term as a Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council (2019-2021). She is an editor of the ABA’s Section of Labor & Employment Law’s Employee Benefits Committee (EBC) Newsletter and has recently been appointed to serve on the Board of Senior Editors of the Employee Benefits Law book. She is also a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. In 2015, 2016, and 2017, Ms. Roberts was named a “Super Lawyer” by Northern California Super Lawyers Magazine (and was previously named a “Rising Star” for 2012, 2013, and 2014). She also received the 2015 ALRP Volunteer of the Year award and the Martindale-Hubbell Client Distinction award. Ms. Roberts served as a co-chair of the Ethics subcommittee of the ABA’s Section of Labor & Employment Law’s Employee Benefits Committee (EBC) from 2009 through 2014. She served as co-chair of the Welfare Plans – Benefit Claims and Social Media subcommittees from 2014-2015. Additionally, from 2013-2015, Ms. Roberts served as an EBC liaison to the Section’s Diversity in the Legal Profession Standing Committee.
“Fighting for the Underdog”
The theme of my life has been a determination to fight for the underdog. My work is a natural extension of that theme, and fulfills me every day. I value hard work above most other things in my life. I often find myself preoccupied with how to fix a client’s problem or how to fix ERISA on a larger scale. Helping clients with disabilities became a personal mission of mine after seeing my father, a disabled veteran, struggle to work and support his family while dealing with the consequences of debilitating medical conditions. I like to think I got from him my strong work ethic, compassion, and desire to serve. I also value taking advantage of every opportunity for personal growth, and am always looking for a way to become a better person. Running a business and raising children in a busy city is pretty all consuming, but I am as happy as I’ve ever been, and wouldn’t have it any other way. For fun and relaxation, I enjoy the ritual of SoulCycle in the mornings so that I can come into the office with a clear head and ready to face the challenges that may lie ahead. I also try to practice mindfulness throughout the day, which helps me stay calm in stressful situations. At the end of the day, I enjoy listening to music on my commute home, and then I look forward to seeing the smiling faces of my two kids when I pick them up from school. I am loving this stage in my life where everything outside of work revolves around my family and other activities that I enjoy. In addition to fighting for my clients, I volunteer with the Federal Bar Association, the Legal Aid at Work Workers’ Rights Clinic, and the AIDS Legal Referral Panel. I hope to show my kids by example that giving to others is the best way to lead a life of fulfillment.
In 2018, Michelle was named a Top 100 and Top 50 Women “Super Lawyer” by Northern California Super Lawyers Magazine. Michelle has been named a “Super Lawyer” every year since 2015 (previously named a “Rising Star” for 2012-2014). Michelle is also a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
Co-author of article titled “Anatomy of a Benefit Claim – Practical Presuit considerations and How to Ensure a Strong Record for Litigation,” published in the summer 2015 edition of the Brief;
Author of Kantor & Kantor LLP’s weekly ERISA Watch Newsletter circulated to ERISA attorneys nationwide;
Author of article titled “How ERISA Can Provide Equitable Monetary Relief in Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims,” published by the ABA TIPS Health and Disability & Life Insurance Law Committee Newsletter, Fall 2014;
Contributing Author, EMPLOYEE BENEFITS LAW, Third Edition; Chapter 14: Liability Issues Unique to Welfare Plans (BNA 2015 Supplement); Chapter 20: Ethics, Privilege, and Related Concerns in the Practice of Benefits Law (BNA 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014 Supplement); Chapter 13: Benefit Claims and Individual Rights (BNA, 2006, 2007, and 2008 Supplement);
Chapter Editor, EMPLOYEE BENEFITS LAW, Spring 2013 Supplement; and
Author of numerous columns for the Los Angeles/San Francisco Daily Journal regarding current ERISA issues.
Speaker at the ERISA Benefits Litigation: How to Prosecute and Defend an Employee Benefits Lawsuit Governed by ERISA CLE hosted by the Litigation and Tax Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco (March 2017);
Speaker at the 14th National Forum on ERISA Litigation. Topic: Ethics and The Fiduciary Exception to Attorney-Client Privilege (March 2017);
Speaker at the 20th National Advanced Forum on Litigating Disability Insurance Claims. Topic: The Evolving State of New Remedies & Equitable Relief Under ERISA § 502(a)(3) (Feb. 2017);
Speaker at the 19th National Advanced Forum on Litigating Disability Insurance Claims. Topic: The Evolving State of New Remedies & Equitable Relief Under ERISA § 502(a)(3) (Sep. 2016);
Speaker at the Joint Committee on Employee Benefits (JCEB) Webinar “The Basics of Benefit Claims” (Sep. 2016);
Speaker at the 2016 Joint Committee on Employee Benefits ERISA Litigation National Institute conference. Topics: Discovery in ERISA Litigation—FRCP 26-34, ESI, and FOIA Requests& A Practical Guide to Ethics in ERISA Litigation;
Speaker at 2016 Midwinter Meeting of the Section of Labor & Employment Law Employee Benefits Committee, sponsored by ABA. Topic: Interaction ERISA 502(a)(3) and 502(a)(1)(B) claims;
Speaker at the Joint Committee on Employee Benefits (JCEB) Webinar “Expert’s Guide to Research” (Nov. 2015);
Speaker at the American Association for Justice (AAJ) 2015 Annual Convention in Montreal, Canada. Social Security Section/ERISA, Health and Disability Insurance Litigation Group. Topic: Wide World of Post-Amara ERISA Remedies;
Speaker at the 2015 Midwinter Meeting of the Section of Labor & Employment Law Employee Benefits Committee (EBC), sponsored by the ABA on Benefit and Fiduciary Claims; The Impact of Procedural Issues;
Speaker at the 2014 Federal Bar Association (FBA) CLE Webinar on Disability Claims Under ERISA;
Speaker at the 2014 National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) Annual Convention on ERISA Remedies;
Faculty Speaker at the 2013 Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA) Annual Las Vegas Convention on ERISA Liens;
Ethics panelist at Midwinter Meetings of the EBC (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013);
*E*verything *R*eally *I*sn’t *S*o *A*wful – an Overview of the Current Landscape of ERISA Preemption & Remedies; Consumer Attorneys of California (“CAOC”) Convention 2012; and
Faculty Speaker for CLE sponsored by the Rossdale Group LLP: Mastering Veterans’ Benefits, Social Security, & Disability Law on May 16, 2012.
Author of the following amicus curiae briefs: Brief of Amicus Curiae United Policyholders In Support of Plaintiff-Appellant’s Petition for Rehearing En Banc in the matter of Upadhyay v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., No. 14-15420 (9th Cir.); Brief of Amicus Curiae United Policyholders In Support of Plaintiff-Appellant in the matter of Russell v. Catholic Healthcare Partners Employee Long Term Disability Plan; Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 13-4084 (6th Cir.); Brief of Amicus Curiae United Policyholders In Support of Plaintiff-Appellant in the matter of Upadhyay v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., No. 14-15420 (9th Cir.); Brief of United Policyholders, as Amicus Curiae, in Support of Petitioner in Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., 2013 WL 3458161 (U.S.) (Appellate Brief); co-author of the brief amicus curiae of the National Employment Lawyers Association in LaRue v. DeWolff, Boberg & Associates, Inc., et al., 127 S.Ct. 2971 (2007) (brief available at 2007 WL 2287651).
Moot court judge for the 2010 National Moot Court Competition, a 2012 and 2015 1L Moot Court Class Final Oral Arguments at UC Hastings School of Law, the 2013 National Finals of the ABA’s Tenth Annual Employment Law Trial Advocacy Competition, and a preliminary round of the Berkeley Law – McBaine Moot Court Competition (2014).
Alumni law student mentor for UC Berkeley School of Law.
Member of the Women Lawyers of Alameda County (WLAC), the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA), and the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA).
Michelle Roberts is one of the most passionate, compassionate, caring attorneys I have ever encountered. When the disablty insurance company whose premiums I paid without fail every single months for many years denied my claim,...
my special gratitude to Ms Roberts for being amazingly supportive and willing to help potential clients like me without any expectation She is very knowledgeable about ERISA law She has helped me with all my...
When the insurance company unfairly denied my claim for long-term disability, I hired Michelle to handle my appeal. She and her staff were so easy to work with and made me feel comfortable (and less...
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