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Attorney Elizabeth Hopkins

Elizabeth Hopkins is a partner at Kantor & Kantor. After a long and fulfilling career at the United States Department of Labor, where she gained substantial experience working on pension, healthcare, and other ERISA issues, she joined the firm in 2018. She represents clients who have been denied a pension, healthcare, disability, and life insurance benefits. She has practiced in the ERISA field since 1989 and is a passionate, knowledgeable, and creative advocate for those who have been denied the employee benefits to which they are entitled.

Prior to joining Kantor & Kantor, Elizabeth worked for three decades at the Department of Labor, where she specialized in appellate litigation and ERISA. From 2002 through 2017, she headed the ERISA appellate and amicus program, where she oversaw nationwide litigation designed to advance the interests of workers and their families with regard to their employee benefits. She filed over 100 friend-of-the-court and party briefs and presented arguments in federal courts of appeals throughout the country and supervised others in doing so. She also participated in formulating departmental positions and briefing ERISA issues in the Supreme Court, where she worked on many of the important ERISA cases of the last two decades. In addition, she worked on a number of regulatory issues and court challenges to ERISA and the Affordable Care Act regulations adopted by the Department of Labor. During her tenure at the Department of Labor, she was a frequent speaker at ERISA conferences and bar-sponsored events and taught numerous classes on ERISA topics and brief writing. She was also the recipient of many awards for her work on particular projects and cases and was one of the first recipients of a prestigious annual award for brief writing.

Throughout her long career, Elizabeth has been motivated by the desire to help others and to fight for justice for individuals. In addition to her paid work, Elizabeth has been involved in many activities with the District of Columbia Bar and the American Bar Association. She is a member of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, where she has served as a judge on their annual writing competition. She has been a contributing writer and editor on the American Bar Association’s, Employee Benefits Law, and has recently been appointed to serve on the Board of Senior Editors for that publication. Elizabeth is also a life-long volunteer for a wide range of organizations, from the Special Olympics to a homeless shelter, to the Red Cross, to an after-school program at a Los Angeles public high school. In 2018, she traveled to Dilley, Texas to represent detained migrant women and their children claiming asylum. Currently she is volunteering as a teacher with Classrooms Without Walls.

Elizabeth is very excited to bring her skill and experience to representing clients at Kantor & Kantor with their ERISA claims.


  • Georgetown University Law Center, Washington D.C.
    J.D. -- 1986
    National Criminal Law Review
    Dean’s List

  • The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
    B.A. – 1983
    Major: English, with high distinction
    Phi Beta Kappa
    Four-year academic scholarship

Notable Decisions

  • Wright v. Elton Corp., C.A. No. 18-286, 2023 WL 1112022 (D. Del. Ja. 25, 2023) (favorable decision following week-long bench trial against trustee and members of DuPont family who had a pension trust for hundreds of their employee, which they did not operate in compliance with ERISA)
  • Dawson-Murdock v. Nat’l Counseling Grp., Inc., 931 F.3d 269 (4th Cir. 2019) 
  • Osberg v. Foot Locker, 862 F.3d 198 (2d Cir. 2017)
    (amicus brief successfully arguing that statute of limitations was tolled and that plan participants could seek reformation as a remedy for the fraudulent conversion of their pension plan)
  • Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, 134 S. Ct. 2459 (2014)
    (amicus brief successfully arguing for the elimination of a presumption adopted by numerous courts of appeals that investment in company stock is prudent)
  • Gearlds v. Entergy Services, Inc., 709 F.3d 448 (5th Cir. 2013)
    (successful amicus brief arguing that district court decision should be reversed and worker who was misinformed about insurance coverage should be allowed to sue fiduciary for resulting damages)
  • Cyr v. Reliance Standard, 624 F.3d 1202 (9th Cir. 2011) (en banc)
    (successful amicus brief before the en banc Ninth Circuit that plan participants can sue insurance companies for benefits)
  • Solis v. Federal Employers Labor Relations Ass’n, 644 F.3d 221 (4th Cir. 2011)
    (successful brief defending district court decision that plan fiduciaries may not generally claim attorney-client privilege in ERISA suits)
  • Hardt v. Reliance Standard, 560 U.S. 242 (2010)
    (amicus brief successfully arguing for a more lenient standard for awards of attorney’s fees for plaintiff’s attorneys in ERISA cases)
  • Vaughn v. Bay Environmental, 567 F.3d 1021 (9th Cir. 2009)
    (one of a series of successful amicus briefs on the ability of a former employee to sue for benefits)
  • MetLife v. Glenn, 554 U.S. 105 (2008)
    (amicus brief successfully arguing for consideration of a fiduciary’s conflict by a court reviewing a benefit denial)
  • LaRue v. DeWolff, Boberg & Assocs., 552 U.S. 248 (2008)
    (amicus brief successfully arguing that ERISA plan participant could sue for plan losses)
  • Johnson v. Couturier, 572 F.3d 10, 67 (9th Cir. 2007)
    (successful amicus brief limiting indemnification agreements)
  • Milofsky v. Am. Airlines, Inc., 442 F.3d 311 (5th Cir. 2006)
    (successful amicus brief and argument before the en banc Fifth Circuit, which vacated a panel decision and held that a breach of fiduciary suit need not benefit all pension plan participants)
  • In re Enron Corp. Securities, Derivative ERISA Litig., 284 F. Supp. 2d 511 (S.D. Tex. 2003)
    (successful brief defeating motions to dismiss in massive ERISA lawsuit following the collapse of Enron; the case, brought by both private parties and the Department of Labor, ultimately settled for over $37,000,000)
  • Unum Life Ins. Co. v. Ward, 526 U.S. 358 (2001)
    (amicus brief successfully arguing that ERISA does not preempt state insurance laws)
  • Harris Trust and Sav. Bank v. Salomon Smith Barney, 530 U.S. 238 (2000)
    (amicus brief successfully arguing that plan participants can sue those who knowingly participate in a fiduciary breach)
  • LeBlanc v. Cahill, 153 F.3d 134 (4th Cir. 1998)
    (amicus brief successfully arguing that ERISA did not preempt a state law action for fraud against a non-fiduciary and that ERISA provides a cause of action against a third-party who knowingly participates in a fiduciary breach)
  • State Bar of California, 2018
  • American College of Employee Benefits Council, Fellow since 2013
  • District of Columbia, 1986
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

In the News

  • “Hot Topics in Health and Welfare Plan Litigation,” Health and Welfare Plans Natioanl Institute, sponsored by the ABA, Joint Committee on Employee Benefits (2020-2022)
  • “Hot Topics,” TIPS Midwinter Symposium (Jan. 17, 2019)


  • Recently selected by her peers to be included in the 2024 edition of the Best Lawyers in America® for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law and Litigation – ERISA
  • Law360 expert analyst since 2021