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Meet Michelle | Partner

Michelle Roberts

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Since 2005, Michelle Roberts has been a successful advocate for disabled individuals and employees. Michelle specializes in claims for benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), specifically claims for disability benefits. Michelle has helped numerous clients obtain short and long -term disability benefits from insurance companies that had wrongfully denied their claims.

Michelle serves as the President for the Northern District of California Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. 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, Michelle 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. Michelle 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, Michelle served as an EBC liaison to the Section’s Diversity in the Legal Profession Standing Committee.

The theme of Michelle’s life has been a determination to fight for the underdog. Her work is a natural extension of that theme. She values hard work above most other things in her life. She often finds herself 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 hers after seeing her father, a disabled veteran, struggle to work and support his family while dealing with the consequences of debilitating medical conditions. She likes to think she inherited her strong work ethic, compassion, and desire to serve from her father. Michelle also values taking advantage of every opportunity for personal growth, and is always looking for a way to become a better person. Fighting for clients and raising children in a busy city is pretty all consuming, but she is as happy as she’s ever been, and wouldn’t have it any other way. For fun and relaxation, Michelle enjoys the ritual of Soul Cycle in the mornings so that she can come into the office with a clear head and ready to face the challenges that may lie ahead. She also tries to practice mindfulness throughout the day, which helps her stay calm in stressful situations. At the end of the day, she enjoys listening to music on her commute home, and then seeing the smiling faces of her two kids when she picks them up from school. In addition to work and family, Michelle volunteers with the Federal Bar Association, the Legal Aid at Work Workers’ Rights Clinic, and the AIDS Legal Referral Panel. She hopes to show her kids by example that giving to others is the best way to lead a life of fulfillment.

Admissions

  • California, 2005
  • Illinois, 2017
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 2005
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California, 2006
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California, 2006
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California, 2006
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California, 2006
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2013
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 2014
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 2016

Education

  • Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley, California
  • University of California, Riverside, Riverside, California
    B.A. – 2002
    Major: Economics/Law & Society
    Major: Political Science
    Summa cum laude (top 2%)

Notable Cases

Publications

  • Author, ERISA LITIGATION, Sixth Edition; Ch. 17: Personal Jurisdiction (BNA) (forthcoming);
  • Author, ERISA LITIGATION, Sixth Edition; Ch. 26: Disability Benefit Claims (BNA) (forthcoming);
  • Author, ERISA LITIGATION, Fifth Edition; Ch. 17: Personal Jurisdiction (BNA 2015 Supplement);
  • Co-Author, ERISA LITIGATION, Fifth Edition; Ch. 14: Subject Matter Jurisdiction (BNA 2015 Supplement);
  • 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.

Speaking Appearances

  • 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.

What Sets Us Apart?

  • Free Case Consultations Provided
  • 160+ Years' Collective Experience
  • Thousands Of Cases Successfully Handled
  • You Don't Pay Us Unless We Recover Your Claim
  • Selected For Inclusion In The List Of Super Lawyers®

Client Testimonials

  • With you in my corner, I felt enabled and no longer alone.

    “Seemingly at the end of my rope with nowhere to turn, a friend suggested I call the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, who referred me to you. From our first contact I began to feel hope where there had been none. You took over all communication with the insurance company. You kept me posted as things progressed and advised me as to each necessary action. What a relief you were! With you in my corner, I felt enabled and no longer alone. Some big insurance companies feel emboldened to take arbitrary action against those who do not have the resources to defend what is rightfully theirs. Thank goodness for people like you who advocate for folks in need. In closing, please know how very much our association has meant. You have restored my faith in the goodness of people and renewed my confidence in the future. I am forever grateful.”

    Shirley G.

  • I am a life you have touched. May God bless you richly.

    “After suffering with constant pain for nearly seven months, losing the job I loved and then being denied my long term disability, I was extremely discouraged when I began looking for help. With a few phone calls from Mr. Kantor to my insurance company, my long term disability was reinstated . The financial burden was lifted and I have hope again. I am a life you have touched. May God bless you richly.”

    Susan H.

  • First of all, I want to express my extreme gratitude for probably saving my daughter's life.

    “First of all, I want to express my extreme gratitude for probably saving my daughter's life. By staying in treatment, the improvement is remarkable. She had been in eating disorder facilities many times, and treatment had been interrupted repeatedly by Anthem Blue Cross's denying benefits. Many of the health professionals were telling me that maybe my daughter was a hopeless case. You both gave me hope. She is still struggling with some residual issues around eating, but the change in her attitude, her ability to assess her own recovery, and her wish to live instead of to die, is evident in her life. Now she is back in school, after years of having her education disrupted by the eating disorder. She goes places with friends, and even goes out to restaurants for fun! This year marked the first holiday season for many years, when she had not been in a treatment facility. Other people gave up and you didn't. I can't thank you enough. You took the action that was necessary to keep my daughter in treatment long enough for it to work.”

    Anonymous

  • Thank you a zillion times for your patience and time and absolutely helpful information.

    “Thank you a zillion times for your patience and time and absolutely helpful information. You've helped me understand my position with my disability insurance and payments so much better. There is some real comfort in feeling anchored in knowledge…of what is and what might be in the future. Thanks to you!”

    B.

  • I've already mentioned your firm to my family and friends and how wonderful you have been treating me.

    “I've already mentioned your firm to my family and friends and how wonderful you have been treating me. Hopefully I will not ever have the need to refer someone to you because that would mean they would be in a similar situation as myself. But, if that were to ever happen, I would absolutely refer them to your company.”

    Linda P.