D. WardKallstrom

Partner

Ward has a long track record of advising employers and fiduciaries on cutting-edge benefits matters, and handling the most complex and novel lawsuits when litigation is filed.


More About Ward

Employers and labor-management groups sponsoring and administering medical, retirement, and other employee benefit plans face a bewildering array of legal rules affecting what they do. Fiduciaries may have personal liability for mistakes. Given the financial stakes, and the centrality of these plans to employee well-being, the threat of litigation is omnipresent. Based on decades of experience, Ward provides thoughtful and practical guidance for avoiding and minimizing these risks, and for resolving the legal actions in which they may culminate.

Ward led the first generation of employee benefits litigation attorneys after the enactment of ERISA, and has guided employers, administrators, and trustees on fulfillment of their responsibilities as fiduciaries for almost 40 years. In addition, Ward was a published author on medical provider payment structures before becoming an attorney, and he utilizes that background in advising fiduciaries on health care reimbursement matters today.

Ward started as a labor and employment litigator, but segued into employee benefits law in 1980. While learning ERISA law from the inside as a compliance attorney, Ward assisted on the case that established the arbitrary and capricious standard of review for the Ninth Circuit, and then led the successful defense of an early severance pay class action. By the late 1980s, Ward's entire practice sounded in ERISA litigation. He has arbitrated and litigated hundreds of cases across the US, including trials and appeals, and has served as lead counsel on virtually every type of ERISA case.

Ward applies judgment drawn from decades of ERISA fiduciary and litigation experience in solving the most complex and difficult employee benefits questions. In recent years, he has developed a unique focus in identifying and remedying health care provider fraud matters.

When asked what he appreciates about his work at Seyfarth, Ward said: "I love the sheer complexity of the ERISA fiduciary and litigation practice. It spans not just labor and tax law, but many other fields, from health care to insurance, corporate finance, trust, employment discrimination, domestic relations, and criminal law, to name a few. The field is constantly reinventing itself; indeed, the Supreme Court hears ERISA cases—often as many as three—every term, far more than in any other area of the civil law. Seyfarth boasts some of the top ERISA lawyers, and one of the best benefits litigation practices, in the country."

  • JD, Duke University School of Law

    Cum laude
    Duke Law Journal

  • BA, University of California, Santa Barbara

    With highest honors

  • California
  • US Supreme Court
  • US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
  • US District Court, Central District of California
  • US District Court, Eastern District of California
  • US District Court, Northern District of California
  • US District Court, Southern District of California
  • California Supreme Court