Cassie Springer-Sullivan, 34, founding partner
Springer-Sullivan & Roberts
With three wins before the Ninth Circuit and myriad contributions to her field, Springer-Sullivan has become a leader in ERISA benefits litigation. In a 2009 Ninth Circuit case, Nolan v. Heald College, she influenced both procedure and evidence standards in ERISA cases by persuading the court to use traditional summary judgment rules when evaluating an administrator's conflict of interest and to permit bench trials with live testimony on this issue. When she isn't securing benefits for her clients with consistent victories in appellate and district courts, she often speaks on ERISA litigation. She also lent her expertise to the preparation of two amicus curiae briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court and authored CEB publications on employee benefits. Within the ABA, she co-chairs both the National Programs and the Benefit Claims and Individual Rights subcommittees for the Labor and Employment Law section. Additionally, she impacts the greater community as a member of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel's HIV/AIDS Insurance Protection Advisory Council and as an ambassador for the March of Dimes, for which she recently raised more than $20,000.
Word that best describes you?
Toughest moment in law school or as a lawyer?
Finding the strength to continue after my infant daughter passed away in 2008.
Kind of law would you least like to practice?
Any kind of law where I didn't believe in my client.
Most interesting place you've traveled?
Granada, Spain. The Alhambra contains the world's most beautiful gardens, in my experience, and enjoying my time there to meditate, read and relax was nothing short of amazing.
I arrange flowers and love the peaceful, meditative effect that focusing on a perfect bloom brings to me.
A lawyer you admire?
Michelle Roberts. Michelle is my law partner and best friend. She is a brilliant legal mind and also my joke writer when an email calls for a witticism to soften the tone. We view our partnership as a marriage lifelong, filled with compromise, and also riddled with laughter and fun. I can't imagine practicing law with anyone other than her.