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Royal Oak, Mich.— December 1, 2021— John J. (J.J.) Conway, a nationally recognized employee benefits and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) attorney and founder of Royal Oak-based J.J. Conway Law, has been named to the Leaders in the Law Class of 2021 by the legal trade publication, Michigan Lawyers Weekly. The publication identifies the Leaders in the Law as those who are setting the standard for other lawyers through their outstanding contributions to the practice of law and the justice system in Michigan, who have demonstrated tremendous leadership and who offer a wealth of expertise in diverse areas of the law. The full list of honorees can be found here. They will be celebrated on December 2 at the Detroit Marriott Troy.

With more than 22 years of experience, Conway fights for his clients to secure the employee benefits rightfully owed to them. In legally navigating the complexities of disability and retirement benefits, he has led his clients to recover more than $65 million in benefits and won landmark class-action lawsuits in favor of families and retirees.

Conway is a trailblazer in securing healthcare benefits for children. He successfully litigated the first federal autism benefits healthcare action against an employee benefit plan where the court held that denying medical treatment for autism was “arbitrary and capricious.” He has also been co-lead class action counsel for multiple cases, including the first autism class action settlement that provided a specific course of healthcare treatments for children with autism, two nationwide class actions against insurers for their denial of healthcare benefits for children with autism, and a class action counsel for a nationwide class action of 22,000 military families seeking healthcare treatment for children with autism.

Conway served as co-lead class action counsel for 9,000 pension plan participants against the City of Detroit’s Pension Fund, its trustees, and advisors seeking protection of the funds themselves which resulted in a multi-million-dollar settlement and major structural reforms concerning the investment of pension monies in unregulated investments. He has been involved in similar class action litigation protecting the pension rights of police, fire, and sheriff deputies from improper financial investments by their pension plan trustees.

Additionally, he has represented hundreds of employees, including physicians, attorneys and investment professionals who have been deemed occupationally disabled in securing their monthly disability benefits from their insurance companies and plans. Conway is the author of “Hitting You When You Least Expect It: A Basic Guide to ERISA for Non-ERISA Lawyers,” which is a top-searched piece about employee benefits claims. He is also a co-author of the Michigan Basic Practice Handbook published by the Institute for Continuing Legal Education.

In addition to Leaders in the Law, Conway has been the recipient of multiple awards throughout his career, including the Thomas P. Moore Leadership in Philanthropy Award from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the State Bar of Michigan Champion of Justice Award. He has also been recognized as a Michigan Super Lawyer and Leading Lawyer.

Conway obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Marquette University before going on to obtain his Juris Doctor at University of Detroit Mercy, where he graduated early and second in his class. He is a member of Member of American Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan and State Bar of Arizona. He has also been elected to membership in the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation and the Fellows of the Michigan State Bar Foundation.

About J.J. Conway Law

J.J. Conway Law was founded by John Joseph (J.J.) Conway in 1999 to work with individuals seeking full access to the employee benefits they have earned. The firm has been involved with nationally significant employee benefit, disability and pension cases, including class action lawsuits for such landmark decisions as requiring Michigan private insurers to cover autism health treatments for children through age 18 and protecting the pension rights of City of Detroit employees, police and firefighters as well as Wayne County employees by holding their trustees accountable for investment decisions. The firm’s motto is “Conquer Tomorrow®” and is dedicated to making tomorrow easier for their clients across the United States.  Learn more on the firm’s website.

Media Contact: Barbara M. Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications; barbara@eafocus.com; 248.260.8466

Royal Oak, Mich.—August 13, 2021—J.J. Conway Law, an employee benefits and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) law firm, is pleased to announce that principal attorney and founder John Joseph (J.J.) Conway has been named to the 2021 Michigan Super Lawyers list. Super Lawyers uses a patented multiphase selection process with peer nominations, evaluations and independent research to determine who is awarded the Super Lawyers designation.

Conway, who has been honored as a Michigan Super Lawyer since 2013, has been named in the category of employment litigation – plaintiff, in 2021. He adds this recognition to several other Super Lawyers titles including Michigan Super Lawyers’ list of “Rising Stars” 2008–2011 and the Top 50: Michigan Consumer Super Lawyers for 2016 and 2017.

With over 22 years of experience, Conway fights for his clients to reclaim the benefits rightfully owed to them through the firm’s guiding principle of Conquer Tomorrow®. In legally navigating the complexities of disability and retirement benefits, he has recovered more than $65 million in benefits for his clients and won landmark class-action lawsuits in favor of families and retirees.

A trailblazer in employee benefits, Conway is known in particular for his defending of the right to autism benefits. He successfully litigated the first federal autism benefits healthcare action against an employee benefit plan where the court held that denying medical treatment for autism was “arbitrary and capricious,” and has acted as co-lead class action counsel on many cases—one notably for a nationwide class action of 22,000 military families seeking healthcare treatment for their children with autism.

In addition, Conway served as co-lead class action counsel for 9,000 pension plan participants against the City of Detroit’s Pension Fund, its trustees and advisors, seeking protection of the funds themselves and resulting in a multi-million-dollar settlement and major structural reforms concerning the investment of pension monies in unregulated investments.

Throughout his career, Conway has been the recipient of multiple awards, including the Thomas P. Moore Leadership in Philanthropy Award from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the State Bar of Michigan Champion of Justice Award, and Leading Lawyers—named as a Leading Lawyer in employee benefits law. He also authored a primer on ERISA law and benefits: “Hitting You When You Least Expect It: A Basic Guide to ERISA for Non-ERISA Lawyers,” which is one of the top searched documents on the web discussing employee benefits claims.

Conway obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, before going on to obtain his Juris Doctorate at University of Detroit Mercy, where he graduated early and second in his class. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan, and State Bar of Arizona.

About Super Lawyers

Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented, multi-phase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates, and peer review by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive, and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. For more information, go to SuperLawyers.com.

About J.J. Conway Law

J.J. Conway Law was founded by John Joseph (J.J.) Conway in 1999 to work with individuals seeking full access to the employee benefits they have earned. The firm has been involved with nationally significant employee benefit, disability and pension cases, including class action lawsuits for such landmark decisions as requiring Michigan private insurers to cover autism health treatments for children through age 18 and protecting the pension rights of City of Detroit employees, police and firefighters as well as Wayne County employees by holding their trustees accountable for investment decisions. The firm’s motto is Conquer Tomorrow® and is dedicated to making tomorrow easier for its clients across the United States.  Learn more on the firm’s website.

Media Contact: Barbara M. Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications; barbara@eafocus.com; 248.260.8466.

J.J. Conway has been named a 2018 SuperLawyer by Thomson Reuters.  J.J. has been listed as SuperLawyer or SuperLawyer Rising Star on eleven occasions. SuperLawyers is a “rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer-recognition and professional achievement.” The selection process “includes independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations.” www.superlawyers.com.

For more information and to view J.J.’s Superlawyer profile, please visit:
J.J. Conway’s SuperLawyer Profile.

J.J. Conway Law is an employee benefits law firm representing clients in the matters involving ERISA, pension, long-term disability insurance, healthcare, life insurance, as well as other benefit matters. Based on Royal Oak, Michigan, the firm represents clients throughout the United States in ERISA and employee benefits matters, including complex benefit class action cases.

The Litigation Section of State Bar of Michigan has published an article authored by J.J. Conway, Esq. discussing the importance of developing a theory of the case early in the litigation process.  The article, published in the The Litigation Journal, discusses ways that litigators should formulate a theory of the case early in the pretrial process in order to litigate more effectively. The article is entitled, “A Strong Theory of the Case: The Faster It Is Developed, The Better The Results” (Fall 2017). The article is available here, The Litigation Journal (Fall 2017) – A Strong Theory of the Case

On December 6, 2017, U.S. News & World Report published “What to Wear to Work,” a discussion of workplace rules and dress codes.  The article explored the legal permissibility of dress codes and instances where neutral dress code and appearance policies can run afoul of state and federal law.  The article featured J.J. Conway, Esq.  as a legal analyst for the national publication. The online version article may be found here,  https://money.usnews.com/money/careers/company-culture/articles/what-to-wear-to-work.

One of the more notable observations of the responsibility of plan administrators to provide full and fair reviews consistent with 29 U.S.C. § 1133 appeared two decades ago in Univ. Hosps. of Cleveland v. Emerson Elec. Co., 202 F.3d 839, 848 n. 7 (6th Cir. 2000).  There, Judge Gerald Rosen, former chief U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of Michigan, sitting by designation, resolved a provider-plan dispute under ERISA, holding:

[I]t strikes us as problematic to, on one hand, recognize an administrator’s discretion to interpret a plan by applying a deferential “arbitrary and capricious” standard of review, yet, on the other hand, allow the administrator to “shore up” a decision after-the-fact by testifying as to the “true” basis for the decision after the matter is in litigation, possible deficiencies in the decision are identified, and an attorney is consulted to defend the decision by developing creative post hoc arguments that can survive deferential review. The concerns inherent in this scenario are even more pronounced where, as here, the administrator has a financial incentive to deny benefits.  Id.

Seventeen years later, the Sixth Circuit reaffirmed this notion in Corey v. Sedgwick Claims Mgt. Services, Inc., 858 F.3d 1024, 1028 (6th Cir. 2017).  The Court held:

The Administrator’s response leans heavily on the plan’s grant of interpretive discretion. But the record leaves us guessing as to how the Administrator interpreted the plan’s objective-findings definition. The Administrator’s denial letters simply quote the plan language and then conclude Corey’s evidence fails to suffice. Although the Administrator enjoys interpretive latitude, we defer only to its actual interpretations—it can’t issue a conclusory denial and then rely on an attorney to craft a post-hoc explanation. Id. (citing Univ. Hosps. of Cleveland v. Emerson Elec. Co., 202 F.3d 839, 848 n.7 (6th Cir. 2000)).

These cases advance the notion that although ERISA cases still function as adversarial proceedings, claims under the statute are required to be evaluated differently than most other disputes.  The plan’s administrators are fiduciaries, tasked with fiduciary standards of conduct, not partisan advocates.  These rulings do not mean that a claimant seeking benefits must win, far from it.  They do require, however, that ERISA participants must, by law, be given a fair shot at presenting their claims.  Evaluation of their claims must not be outcome-determinative or results-oriented. Courts continue to frown upon denials which are the product of lawyerly arguments rather than the type of independent decision-making ERISA requires.

J.J. Conway was a featured speaker at the State Bar of Michigan’s Annual Meeting and NEXT lawyer development conference held in the Cobo Convention Center in Detroit, Michigan on Friday, September 29, 2017. Conway made presentation to new attorneys and those interested in self-employment in a presentation entitled, Hanging Out Your Shingle in 2017.  Conway has presented similar lectures to the State Bar Annual Meeting’s attendees in Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Detroit at prior annual meetings. He has also written on the topic for various legal publications.

J.J. Conway has been named a 2017 SuperLawyer by Thomson Reuters.  J.J. has been listed as SuperLawyer or SuperLawyer Rising Star on ten occasions. SuperLawyers is a “rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer-recognition and professional achievement.” The selection process “includes independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations.” www.superlawyers.com.

For more information and to view J.J.’s Superlawyer profile, please visit:
J.J. Conway’s SuperLawyer Profile.

J.J. Conway Law is an employee benefits law firm representing clients in the matters involving ERISA, pension, long-term disability insurance, healthcare, life insurance, as well as other benefit matters. Based on Royal Oak, Michigan, the firm represents clients throughout the United States in ERISA and employee benefits matters, including complex benefit class action cases.

J.J. Conway has been named a 2017 “Top Lawyer” by dbusiness magazine in its annual Top Lawyers Issue.  According to dbusiness magazine, “For our 2017 Top Lawyers peer review survey, we polled 19,000 attorneys in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, and Livingston counties. Each attorney was asked to nominate lawyers among 48 legal specialties.  More information about the peer reviewing rating process may be found by visiting the magazine’s website, dbusiness.

J.J. Conway Law is an employee benefits law firm representing clients in the matters involving ERISA, pension, long-term disability insurance, healthcare, life insurance, as well as other benefits matters. Based on Royal Oak, Michigan, the firm represents clients throughout the United States in ERISA and employee benefits matters, including complex benefit class action cases.

J.J. Conway has been named a 2015 SuperLawyer by Thomson Reuters.  J.J. has been listed as SuperLawyer or SuperLawyer Rising Star on eight occasions. SuperLawyers is a “rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer-recognition and professional achievement.” The selection process “includes independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations.” www.superlawyers.com.

For more information and to view J.J.’s Superlawyer profile, please visit:
J.J. Conway’s SuperLawyer Profile.

J.J. Conway Law is an employee benefits law firm representing clients in the matters involving ERISA, pension, long-term disability insurance, healthcare, life insurance, as well as other benefits matters. Based on Royal Oak, Michigan, the firm represents clients throughout the United States in ERISA and employee benefits matters.