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 (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) and employee benefits practice group. 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.

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, COBRA, and HIPAA. He reviews and consults on a variety of qualified plan issues, including drafting, revising, and terminating 401(k) plans, profit sharing plans, ESOPs, and pension plans. He guides clients through IRS audits and U.S. Department of Labor investigations. 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. He works closely with the firm’s business and finance practice group in performing benefit plan due diligence work in mergers and acquisitions.

Ryan is a member of the IRS Pacific Coast TE/GE Council, which is composed of private practitioners and serves as a sounding board to the IRS on matters related to retirement policy, tax issues, procedures, and IRS enforcement initiatives affecting employee benefits. Ryan also serves on the Board of Directors for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and currently serves as its general counsel. Prior to his legal career, Ryan was a senior legislative analyst and performance auditor with the Arizona Office of the Auditor General. While there, he oversaw several audits of state agencies including Arizona’s Medicaid program.

Outside of the office, Ryan plays golf and tennis and enjoys Arizona’s outdoor opportunities including hiking, fishing, and exploring offroad trails. Married and the father of three children, some of his best memories are of 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

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

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

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.

Our business and finance attorneys represent national, regional and local clients participating in significant transactions.


  • Retirement Plans
  • Health Care Plans
  • Multiemployer Plan Withdrawal Liability

Representative Matters

  • Defended plan sponsor in lengthy Department of Labor investigation of a terminated ESOP and the related transactions and negotiated a significantly reduced penalty.
  • 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

  • Distinguished Legal Writing Award, Law360, 2024
  • Chambers USA, Leading Lawyers for Business, 2021-2023

Articles and Presentations

Professional and community activities

  • Member, Board of Directors, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
  • Member, IRS Pacific Coast TE/GE Council
  • 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