M. Ellen Mondress


E-mail | P:   (206) 398-1500 | F: (206) 398-1501 | Download bio

M. Ellen Mondress


E-mail | P:   (206) 398-1500 | F: (206) 398-1501 | Download bio

Areas of Practice

ERISA plans and laws that impact ERISA plans, such as privacy and security, mental health parity, COBRA and Tax law

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
Associate Editor, Seattle University Law School Law Review

University of Washington
Seattle, Washington


Ellen serves as lead counsel for clients in a full spectrum of retirement plans and health & welfare plans, such as 401(k), pension, annuity, defined contribution and deferred compensation plans, and VEBA-funded, uninsured and insured healthcare, disability and fringe benefit plans.  Her clients are in industries ranging from retail to energy to construction, and include plans maintained by Fortune 50 and 500 companies, nonprofits and governments, and regional Taft-Hartley boards of trustees.

Ellen’s work includes:

  • Documenting fiduciary best practices, such as Board delegations of authority and committee protocols and bylaws
  • Drafting plan documents and trust agreements, summary plan descriptions and modifications, and policies such as audit and collections, and QDRO procedures
  • Negotiating service provider contracts, such as consultant, investment and administrator contracts
  • Advising on investments and investment transactions and transitions, and investment policies, structure and notices
  • Consulting on plan and corporate mergers and acquisitions
  • Defending against governmental audits and participant claims, and making Plan correction submissions to the IRS

Ellen focused on tax law before dedicating her practice to ERISA and employee benefits. She enjoys hiking, biking, and playing bridge and pickleball.

Hon. Vernon Pearson, Chief Justice, Washington State Supreme Court, Judicial Law Clerk, 1986-87

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