The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.
-Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird



Ryan Curtis is chair of our ERISA (Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) and employee benefits practice group where he guides clients through the critical intricacies of volatile matters such as IRS audits and U.S. Department of Labor investigations.

As employee benefits attorneys, Ryan and his team focus on counseling employers with the administration of their benefit plans, as well as helping trustees and administrators comply with important federal laws, including ERISA, the Affordable Care Act, and HIPAA.

In order to attract and retain quality people, employers must offer competitive benefits packages. Providing healthcare and retirement benefits can also increase employee loyalty and productivity. As a sought-after ERISA lawyer, Ryan takes great pride in tackling significant problems and developing solutions for his clients that will ensure their businesses comply with complex regulations.

As a litigator, he has defended plans in benefit disputes, pursued plan participants who improperly received and retained benefits, and held investment managers accountable who engaged in prohibited transactions and breached their fiduciary duty. Ryan also helps employers that have obligations to Taft-Hartley multiemployer plans navigate through issues related to benefit trust fund contributions and withdrawal liability.

Outside of the office, you may not find Ryan as he seeks to get as far away as possible traveling overseas and being active outdoors in areas like the White Mountains in Arizona. Married and the father of three children, some of his best memories of being a dad have occurred at his kids’ music, drama, and sporting events.


  • J.D., University of Wyoming College of Law
  • M.A., Political Science, University of Utah
  • B.A., Political Science, Arizona State University
  • Managing Editor, Wyoming Law Review, University of Wyoming College of Law

Areas Of Practice

Our attorneys practicing in the employment and labor relations area advise and defend management in virtually all aspects of the employment relationship.

We have an extensive practice counseling employers on all aspects of employee benefits.  

Fennemore has one of the most robust estate and trust litigation practices in the Southwest and California.

Welcome to one of the largest and most sophisticated estate planning practices in the Southwest and California.

Our health care attorneys serve a range of clients within the ever-expanding realm of healthcare law. We offer a comprehensive suite of services that touches on every aspect of the healthcare industry.

Thoughtful and careful preparation of estate plan documents is key to wealth preservation and transition. Proper implementation and diligent administration are equally critical.


  • Estate Planning
  • Private Client and Wealth Preservation

Representative Cases

  • Successfully defended a large governmental retirement plan before the Arizona Supreme Court defeating a claim by a plan participant seeking retroactive retirement benefits based on the date the participant first became eligible rather than when the participant applied for benefits as required under Arizona law.
  • Defended large charter school organization in lengthy and complex investigation of its health plan by the Department of Labor. The investigation closed with no negative findings.
  • Defended plan sponsor in lengthy Department of Labor investigation involving $9 million in alleged plan losses and other restitution and negotiated a resolution for just 3% of what Department originally sought.
  • Defended health insurance carrier involved in a Department of Labor investigation of a multiemployer health plan the carrier insured. The investigation focused on processes the carrier administered but closed with no findings against the carrier.
  • Obtained judgment against a company created to avoid multiemployer benefit trust fund obligations owed by a prior alter ego company.
  • Obtained judgment against individual owners of a company for fiduciary liability tied to the company’s failure to make all contributions to multiemployer benefit trust funds.
  • Assisted in obtaining judgment against pension plan’s investment manager and investment consultant for overcharging commissions and engaging in prohibited transactions.
  • Assisted numerous employee benefit plans during IRS and Department of Labor audits.

Awards and Honors

  • Chambers USA, Leading Lawyers for Business, 2021

Articles and Presentations

Professional and community activities

  • Member, Board of Directors, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
  • Member, State Bar of Nevada
  • Member, Arizona Bar Association
  • Member, Maricopa County Bar Association
  • Former Member, Board of Directors, Arizona Museum of Natural History Foundation


  • Arizona
  • Nevada
  • U.S. District Court, District of Arizona
  • U.S. District Court, District of Nevada
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit