People: Sam Schwartz-Fenwick, Partner

Photo of Sam Schwartz-Fenwick, Partner

Sam Schwartz-Fenwick

Partner

Chicago
Direct: (312) 460-5948
Fax: (312) 460-7948
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Mr. Schwartz-Fenwick is a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.  He is particularly well-versed in benefits-related litigation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).  Mr. Schwartz-Fenwick defends complex class actions and single-plaintiff lawsuits under ERISA.  In the class action realm, he has defended various types of claims, including claims for benefits and claims for breach of fiduciary duty, including 401(k) fee litigation.

In addition to his ERISA litigation practice, Mr. Schwartz-Fenwick has significant experience in general employment matters.  He regularly assists in the defense of complex litigation matters brought under the National Labor Relations Act, and represents clients in hearings before the National Labor Relations Board and in grievance arbitrations.  Mr. Schwartz-Fenwick represents clients in litigation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Illinois Human Rights Act.  He also provides day-to-day counseling and advice to clients about the various laws affecting the employment relationship.

Ms. Schwartz-Fenwick speaks nationwide and publishes regularly on a variety of employment law and litigation topics, and issues regarding diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. He has also served as a contributor to Employee Benefits Law (ABA) and The Developing Labor Law (BNA), and developed in conjunction with Equality Illinois a best practices guide for Illinois employers on LGBT inclusion.

Mr. Schwartz-Fenwick leads the firm’s LGBT Affinity Group.  He is a member of the executive committee of United Pride, the president of the board of Unsilence, a human rights educational organization, and serves on multiple committees at his synagogue.

Mr. Schwartz-Fenwick is a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.  He is particularly well-versed in benefits-related litigation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).  Mr. Schwartz-Fenwick defends complex class actions and single-plaintiff lawsuits under ERISA.  In the class action realm, he has defended various types of claims, including claims for benefits and claims for breach of fiduciary duty, including 401(k) fee litigation.

In addition to his ERISA litigation practice, Mr. Schwartz-Fenwick has significant experience in general employment matters.  He regularly assists in the defense of complex litigation matters brought under the National Labor Relations Act, and represents clients in hearings before the National Labor Relations Board and in grievance arbitrations.  Mr. Schwartz-Fenwick represents clients in litigation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Illinois Human Rights Act.  He also provides day-to-day counseling and advice to clients about the various laws affecting the employment relationship.

Ms. Schwartz-Fenwick speaks nationwide and publishes regularly on a variety of employment law and litigation topics, and issues regarding diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. He has also served as a contributor to Employee Benefits Law (ABA) and The Developing Labor Law (BNA), and developed in conjunction with Equality Illinois a best practices guide for Illinois employers on LGBT inclusion.

Mr. Schwartz-Fenwick leads the firm’s LGBT Affinity Group.  He is a member of the executive committee of United Pride, the president of the board of Unsilence, a human rights educational organization, and serves on multiple committees at his synagogue.

Education

  • J.D., Northwestern University School of Law (2005)
    cum laude
  • B.A., Tufts University (2001)
    summa cum laude
    Phi Beta Kappa

Admissions

  • Illinois

Affiliations

  • Chicago Bar Association

Representative Engagements

  • National counsel to large insurer on all ERISA litigation (Represented large insurance company in all denial of benefits litigation nationwide)
  • Dolins v CNA, et al., 16-889 (N.D. Ill) (Represent plan, employer, third-party administrator in breach of fiduciary duty and prohibited transaction class action in connection with 401(k) plan)
  • Unite Here Health v Greenbrier Hotel, et al., 5:2013cv11644 (S.D. W.V.) (Represented welfare plan in breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit)
  • Downes v. Wisconsin Energy Retirement Account Plan, et al., 09-cv-637 (E.D. Wis.) (Represented plan and company in ERISA cash balance case)
  • Ruppert v. Alliant Energy Cash Balance Pension Plan, Case No. 08-cv-127 (W.D. Wis.) (Represented plan in an ERISA cash balance class action)
  • George v. Kraft Foods Global, Inc., et al., Case Nos. 07-cv-1713, 08-cv-3799 (N.D. Ill.) (two class actions alleging breaches of fiduciary duty in connection with 401(k) plan)
  • City of Evanston and Teamsters Local 714 (2010, Meyers, Arb.) (upholding discharge of police officer for misconduct).
  • Wells v Brachs (N.D. Ill.) (Represented company in single plaintiff breach of contract case relating to denial of benefits brought under ERISA § 502(a)(1)(B))

Presentations

  • Trends in Transgender Law In Employee Benefits ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits Health and Welfare Benefit Plans National Institute (September 2017)
  • HEALTH CARE PLAN UPDATE, ABA Employee Benefits Committee Midwinter Meeting (February 2017)
  • LGBT Rights: Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation in the Workplace, Illinois Public Sector Labor Relations Law Conference (December 2016)
  • Navigating the Gender Identity Gap in Schools: Untangling the Legal Web, ABA  Section of State and Local Government Law (September 2016
  • Transgender Law In Employment And Employee Benefits, National LGBT Bar Annual Conference (August 2016)
  • Transgender Issues in the Workplace, Business Insurance, (April 2016)
  • Transgender Benefits – What Needs to Be Provided and Current Developments, ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, Government Invitational Conference (March 2016)
  • ERISA LITIGATION REVIEW: A closer look at notable decisions from the past year, Chicago Bar Association (March 2016).
  • ACA’s Expansive Nondiscrimination Provision And Transgender Benefits, ABA Employee Benefits Committee Midwinter Meeting (February 2016) 
  • Evolving Landscape of Federal LGBT Rights, ABA 2016 Midyear Meeting with the  Section of State and Local Government Law (February 2016)
  • Litigation Issues in Employee Benefits for LGBT Employees, ERISA Litigation National Institute (May 2015)
  • ERISA LITIGATION REVIEW A closer look at notable decisions from the past year, Chicago Bar Association (March 2015).
  • Post-Windsor: Shoes Are Dropping All Over the Place,  ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law Employee Benefits Committee 2015 Midwinter Meeting
  • What’s Next After Windsor?,  ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law National Meeting (November 2014)
  • Employment Discrimination, Section 510, and Affordable Care Act Issues, 28th Annual National Institute on ERISA Basics (October 2014)
  • The Supreme Court’s Labor & Employment Decisions 2013 to 2014 Term, Illinois Chamber of Commerce (August 2014)
  • Aftermath of the Supreme Court’s DOMA Decision, ABA Section of Taxation Joint Meeting (September 2013)
  • Employee Benefits: Same-Sex Marriage and Domestic Partners, ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law Employee Benefits Committee 2013 Midwinter Meeting

Publications