M. Ellen Mondress


E-mail:       E-mail me
Phone:       206-398-1500
Fax:             206-398-1501

Areas of Practice

  • ERISA and Tax Code Compliance
  • Health Care
  • Benefit Plan Investments

Bar Admissions

  • Washington, 1986
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Washington, 2004


  • Seattle University School of Law, Seattle, Washington
    J.D. magna cum laude – 1986
    Law Review: University of Puget Sound Law Review, Associate Editor
  • University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
    B.A. – 1983

Published Works

  • 401(k) Plan Changes in Response to Economic Turmoil, Western Pension & Benefits Conference, 2009
  • 401(k) Plans in the Multiemployer Environment, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, 2006
  • Contracting Tips for ERISA Plans , International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, 2012
  • After the DOL’s Fee Disclosure Rules: Best Practices for Fiduciaries, Institutional Investor Forum, 2012
  • Contracting Strategies for ERISA Plans, American Bar Association Section of Taxation, Corporate Counsel Forum, 2016
  • Employer Health Plans: Legal Developments, Western Pension & Benefits Council, 2016

Honors and Awards

  • Vernon R. Pearson, Chief Justice, Washington Supreme Court, Judicial Law Clerk, 1986 – 1987

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Washington State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

Ellen serves as lead counsel for clients in a full spectrum of retirement plans, such as 401(k), 403(b), pension, annuity, money purchase, defined contribution, and deferred compensation plans; and of health and welfare plans, such as VEBA-funded, uninsured and insured plans, and training, educational and vacation funds. Her clients are in industries ranging from retail to energy to construction, and include plans maintained by Fortune 50 and 500 companies, nonprofits, and regional Taft-Hartley boards of trustees.

Ellen’s work includes contract review and negotiations, resolving conflict of interest issues, reviewing and advising on investments, facilitating business transactions and plan mergers, advising on employer collections (including litigation, bond and lien claims, and withdrawal liability), defending DOL and IRS audits, drafting all manner of procedures, disclosures and policies (for example, collections, audit, participant loan, investment disclosures and notices to participants (under 404a and 404c), model QDROs, model subrogation and reimbursement forms, fiduciary investment policies, trustee expense reimbursement policies, trustee selection procedures, and suspension of benefits procedures), and assisting with implementation questions regarding those policies.  She advises on all laws that impact benefit plans, including the Affordable Care Act (Health Care Reform), ERISA, trust law, veterans acts, FMLA, domestic relations law, the ADA and ADEA, the Tax Code and probate codes, and the Davis Bacon Act.