2022 DRI Life, Health, Disability, and ERISA Seminar

May 18–20, 2022 | Nashville, Tennessee

2022 DRI Life, Health, Disability, and ERISA

This Spring Build Your Book of Business in Nashville!

DRI’s Life, Health, Disability, and ERISA Seminar is in person in 2022! Join us at the foremost conference for life, health, and disability practitioners to learn from top-notch faculty and exchange ideas about the latest developments in the law and industry. The 2022 program includes discussions on COVID-19-related disability claims and testing fee disputes, strategies for long-term care litigation and technological innovation effects on the insurance industry, the ever-popular Schmidtke on ERISA, and practical tips for both in-house and outside counsel to avoid litigation and defend claims when they arise. On top of unparalleled education, the seminar offers a wide array of networking opportunities, where you can build your book of business while enjoying Nashville with long-standing friends and new contacts. Activities include everything from a book club and public service project to small networking activities and a Young Lawyers after-dinner event. Bring your cowboy boots and stay over Friday night for a show at the Grand Ole Opry!

View registration information here.

What You Will Learn:

  • Technology, financial, and other changes in the life, health, and disability industry
  • An accounting tutorial for ERISA attorneys
  • How to manage escalating COVID testing fees
  • Best practices tips by and for in-house counsel on establishing and maintaining privilege
  • Detailed guidance for handling subjective disability claims
  • Effectively improving inclusion and diversity in your organization
  • And much more

Expand Your Network By:

  • Participating in the onsite public service project, benefitting Hands On Nashville
  • Attending the country line dancing class
  • Joining any of the unique offsite networking events offered this year

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Thank You to DRI's Life, Health, and Disability Committee Leadership

Jamie L. Moore
Jamie L. Moore
Program Chair
Elizabeth G. Doolin
Elizabeth G. Doolin
Program Vice Chair
Kristina N. Holmstrom
Kristina N. Holmstrom
Program Second Vice Chair
Scott M. Trager
Scott M. Trager
Committee Chair
Michelle Thurber Czapski
Michelle Thurber Czapski
Committee Vice Chair
Kyle N. Kirby
Kyle N. Kirby
Committee Co-Corporate Vice Chair
Pamela W. Carter
Pamela W. Carter
Law Institute

Join the Life, Health and Disability Committee

Registration Information

DRI Member Pricing: $995
Non-Member Pricing: $1,295

DRI Member Pricing: $1,295
Non-Member Pricing: $1,595

Early Bird Pricing: $695
Regular Pricing: $995

Register by April 4, 2022 to receive the early registration rate.

*If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate. If you would like to join DRI to receive the member pricing and see the benefits of becoming a member, click here to go to the Application page.

Pricing: $895 per person

**Group registration is for registering 5 or more attendees, members and non-members. There is one free registration with every 10 registrations. You must lock in the rate three weeks prior to the seminar. If you want to register for the group pricing, please send an email to rstiner@dri.org (online registration is not available for this offering).

Agenda with Speakers

*Schedule and Speakers subject to change

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Time (Central) Session Description
10:00 a.m. DRI Cares Community Service Project

Click here for more details about Oasis Center and Hands-On Nashville.
1:00 p.m. Registration
2:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions

For more details, click on the "Breakout Sessions Wednesday" tab.
5:00 p.m. Adjourn
5:00 p.m. DRI for Life Country Line Dancing Class

Join us at the Hilton Nashville Downtown to learn some simple line dances from Turn Their Heads Line Dancing. Whether you are a complete novice or know your way around a two-step, stop in to learn some simple line dances, Nashville-style! Our local instructor will have you ready to hit the floor at the nearby honkey-tonks. Cowboy boots are optional.

Non-refundable payment of $33 due by May 9 via Venmo to @j9jacobson - any amount collected in excess of instructor fee will be donated to our DRI Cares project beneficiary, Hands On Nashville.

Sign up for Line Dancing Class
5:15 p.m. DRI for Life Book Club

Join a lively discussion of a real-life Nashville murder mystery, as featured in “A Murder in Music City,” by Michael Bishop.
5:30 p.m. Welcome Meeting for First Timers and Boot Camp Alumni

Let us welcome you! Visit with Life, Health, and Disability Committee members and gain tips on making the most out of the seminar and Committee resources, and stay for the networking reception.
6:00 p.m. Networking Reception
7:30 p.m. Dine-Arounds

Build your book of business at local Dine-Arounds and enjoy everything Nashville has to offer. Space is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Join your colleagues and sign-up here!
7:30 p.m. Women's Networking Dinner

This popular event is a great way to build relationships with other women in the life, health, and disability industry.  This year’s restaurant is women-owned Etch, the recipient of culinary awards and featuring a female chef.

Space is limited to 35 attendees; sign up here.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Time (Central) Session Description
6:30 a.m. DRI for Life Run/Walk

Gather in the lobby for early morning networking, fresh air, and exercise while taking in the sights of downtown Nashville.
7:00 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
7:00 a.m. Corporate Counsel Meeting
8:00 a.m. Welcome and Introduction

Pamela W. Carter, Carter Law Group LLC, New Orleans, LA
Jamie L. Moore, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, Birmingham, AL
8:15 a.m. While We Were Locked Down: Little Tech, Big Ideas and Changes to the Insurance World as We Know It

How have the past few years impacted our legal practice? Will remote depositions and Zoom hearings be the new normal? How have technology innovations accelerated developments in the financial services and insurance industry? Why do Bitcoin, blockchain, and biometrics matter to a life, health, and disability lawyer? Get ready for the new world.

Elizabeth G. Doolin, Chittenden, Murday & Novotny LLC, Chicago, IL
9:15 a.m. Disability Law Update

This session will provide an update on disability litigation and a discussion of developing trends, including COVID-related disability claims.

Joshua Bachrach, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP, Philadelphia, PA
10:15 a.m. Refreshment Break
10:45 a.m. Ethics: A Comedy of Privileges

A lively discussion of potential ethical pitfalls and privilege exceptions, with practical tips to establish and maintain privilege through litigation, beginning in the insurer’s legal department.

D. Larry Kristinik, III, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, Columbia, SC
Gerardo (Gerry) Puig, Transamerica, Baltimore, MD
Maureen M. Middleton, Primerica Financial Services, Inc., Duluth, GA
11:45 a.m. Lunch (on your own)

Diversity Luncheon

Network with others passionate about inclusion and diversity! An invitation will be sent to registrants in advance of the Seminar. Limited availability.
1:30 p.m. Schmidtke on ERISA

Mark Schmidtke, a leading authority on ERISA, will discuss the latest in cutting-edge ERISA issues, including Supreme Court developments and timely issues impacting life, health, and disability insurance providers and their counsel.

Mark E. Schmidtke, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC, Valparaiso, IN
2:30 p.m. Health Insurance Law Update

Hot topics in the health insurance industry will be covered, including the increased use of telemedicine, opioid-related claims, and expansion of mental health coverage.

Moheeb H. Murray, Bush Seyferth PLLC, Troy, MI
3:30 p.m. Adjourn
3:45 p.m. Committee Business Meeting (open to all)

Join us to learn about the numerous opportunities to get involved in the Life, Health, and Disability Committee.
4:45 p.m. Johnny Cash Museum and Patsy Cline Museum Tour

These museums, housed in the same historic building, are regularly voted as top attractions in Nashville. Explore the immersive exhibits and gain unique insight into the lives of these country music legends in a self-guided tour. More information is listed on the sign up website.

Limited to 32 participants. Must register by May 17.
Sign up for the Museum Tour
4:45 p.m. Downtown Nashville Bus Tour

Enjoy the sights of downtown Nashville in this one-hour, open-air tour. A professionally-guided full sightseeing tour of Nashville, so you can experience the incredible city and see all it has to offer. A party bus, with a bartender, so you can enjoy a beverage as you take in the sights. Ideal for exploring the city, ideal for relaxing, ideal for networking.

Sign up for the Bus Tour
6:00 p.m. Networking Reception
7:30 p.m. Dine-Arounds

Build your book of business at local Dine-Arounds and enjoy everything Nashville has to offer. Space is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Join your colleagues and sign-up here!
9:30 p.m. Young Lawyers' After Dinner Reception

Join the Young Lawyers Subcommittee at the White Limozeen (101 20th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37203) at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 19. It's a great way to reconnect with friends following Dine-Arounds. Enjoy a skyline view from the indoor/outdoor rooftop while building your book of business.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Time (Central) Session Description
7:30 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:30 a.m. Welcome and Announcements

Elizabeth G. Doolin, Chittenden, Murday & Novotny LLC, Chicago, IL
8:35 a.m. Promoting Inclusion and Diversity in the Workplace

Increased creativity and job satisfaction are among the many recognized benefits of having varied viewpoints brought about by a diverse team. However, the legal profession still faces challenges in creating environments in which those from underrepresented backgrounds feel as if they truly belong. A dynamic panel of distinguished in-house and outside counsel will provide practical guidance on ways your organization can promote inclusion and, thereby, increase diversity.

Gary L. Howard, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, Birmingham, AL

Bonnie Lee Wolf, Nationwide Insurance Company, Columbus, OH
Stacy L. Douglas, Everett Dorey LLP, Irvine, CA
Elizabeth B. Davis, Burr & Forman LLP, Atlanta, GA
Vinod P. Verghese, Tata Consultancy Services, New York, NY
9:30 a.m. An Advanced Tutorial on Subjective Disability Claims

By their nature, subjective claims are some of the most difficult claims to process and defend. This presentation will provide helpful guidance on the practical art of how to weigh subjective evidence in light of the record as a whole. Strategies for utilizing testing methods such as FCEs, CPET testing and neuropsychiatric testing as helpful tools, and debunking their use by plaintiffs, also will be discussed.

Byrne J. Decker, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC, Portland, ME
10:30 a.m. Refreshment Break
11:00 a.m. Drafting Insurance Policies and Service Agreements: ERISA Issues and the Impact on Litigation

Care should be taken when drafting insurance policies and service agreements that are used to fund and administer claims under ERISA-governed plans. Learn about the major issues to consider, how to address them, and their potential impact on litigation.

Nimesh Patel, Unum, Chattanooga, TN
David Murphy, Unum, Worcester, MA
12:00 p.m. Life Insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Update

A comprehensive review of key state and federal court decisions in recent life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment cases.

Joshua D. Lerner, Rumberger Kirk & Caldwell PA, Miami, FL
1:00 p.m. Adjourn
7:00 p.m. A Night at the Grand Ole Opry

Stay in the vibrant city of Nashville an extra night and enjoy a performance at the top stage for country music and more. Round out an excellent conference and in-person reunion with your DRI friends with more networking and a visit to an absolute American institution! You can't go to Nashville without visiting the Opry! Lauren Alaina, an American Idol contestant, 2012 ACA New Artist of the Year, 2017 ACM New Female Vocalist of the Year, and a chart-topping artist will be performing. Additional performers are still to be announced, but they are sure to be excellent.

Sign up for the Grand Ole Opry

Breakout Sessions (Wednesday 2:00–5:00 p.m.)


Time (Central) Session Description
2:00 p.m. Civil (Procedure) Unrest: The Circuits’ Approach to ERISA Fact-Finding

ERISA welfare benefit cases do not fit neatly into the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which caused courts to fashion procedural rules that can vary greatly depending on your jurisdiction. Before you ask a district court to rule in your favor, you’ll need to understand the procedural framework endorsed by your jurisdiction—and recent cases show they can vary greatly. This presentation will highlight the different approaches to civil procedure and appellate review to help you avoid procedural pitfalls and focus your court on the merits of the case.

Kimberly A. Jones, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, Chicago, IL
2:55 p.m. What’s Allowed? Testing the Limits of ERISA Discovery

Get up to speed on the latest trends testing the limits of ERISA discovery, with practical tips on litigation strategy.

Jason A. James, Meserve, Mumper & Hughes LLP, Los Angeles, CA
3:50 p.m. Refreshment Break
4:05 p.m. Accounting for ERISA Attorneys

An accounting expert will discuss accounting issues regularly confronted by ERISA attorneys, including accounting principles attorneys need to know to improve efficiency and accuracy in valuing claims, spotting financial misrepresentations, and defending clients.

Ernest P. Smith, CPA/ABV/CFF, CVA, CFE, Nawrocki Smith LLP, Melville, NY
5:00 p.m. Adjourn


Time (Central) Session Description
2:00 p.m. Annuity Litigation Update

Join an experienced practitioner for an update on hot topics in annuity litigation.

Brooks R. Magratten, Pierce Atwood LLP, Providence, RI
2:55 p.m. Please, No Wagering: The Insurable Interest Rule

A life insurance litigator will share lessons learned from the stranger-owned life insurance trenches and provide an update on the current tactics employed by plaintiffs to evade the insurable interest requirement.

Donna Tillis, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, Columbia, SC
3:50 p.m. Refreshment Break
4:05 p.m. It’s a Small World, and Getting Smaller: Foreign Claimants, Foreign Accidents, and Foreign Death

An ever-shrinking world almost inevitably means a greater likelihood that insurers will face claims, including life, health, and disability claims arising out of jurisdictions overseas. Learn about some of the more interesting cases involving such claims, including cases addressing the admissibility of foreign documents as well as cases discussing the interplay of domestic law, specifically ERISA, and foreign claims for benefits.

Kenton J. (Kent) Coppage, Fox Rothschild LLP, Atlanta, GA
5:00 p.m. Adjourn


Time (Central) Session Description
2:00 p.m. Governmental Influence on Health Insurance: How is it Shaping Claims and Litigation?

The No Surprises Act, the False Claims Act, the Medicare Secondary Payer Act, the Mental Health Parity Act, EMTALA, and state efforts to regulate PBMs are all part of a labyrinth of governmental efforts to regulate health insurance. This session will provide insight and guidance on how relevant laws and regulations are being interpreted and applied to the health insurance industry.

Bryan D. Bolton, Funk & Bolton PA, Baltimore, MD
2:55 p.m. COVID Testing Fee Disputes

Congress passed emergency legislation early in the pandemic that mandated coverage for COVID testing, but the legislation left many unanswered questions for insurers, and provided opportunities for price-gouging by providers. This session will discuss some of the more noteworthy examples of “providers behaving badly,” and cover the legal issues and litigation regarding provider-payer disputes over COVID testing.

Patrick W. Begos, Robinson & Cole LLP, Stamford, CT
3:50 p.m. Refreshment Break
4:05 p.m. Strategies for Litigating Long-Term Care Insurance Claims

Long-term care insurance, intended to defray costs of in-home health care or extended stay in assisted living facilities for the chronically ill, remains particularly susceptible to fraud. With health care costs soaring for an aging population, some insureds and their families attempt to leverage LTC coverage to preserve financial security, even when insureds’ limitations do not rise to the level of chronic illness. This session will examine recent LTC insurance fraud cases, identify various litigation strategies, and address COVID-related concerns that may affect future fraud litigation.

Melissa M. Cowan, Burke Williams & Sorenson LLP, Los Angeles, CA
5:00 p.m. Adjourn


NEW in 2022 – 4 Additional On-Demand Programs Included With Every Seminar!

CLE Credit will be sought from every state requiring CLE hours in elimination of bias/diversity and inclusion, ethics, substance abuse/mental health and law practice management. The CLE grid will provide updated information concerning which courses have been approved by which states and for which credits. For states not requiring these special credits, general education credits will be sought.

Diversity/Elimination of Bias in the Profession

Batson v. Kentucky and its progeny were meant to eliminate bias in jury selection. But has that happened? This program will address that question and discuss issues of bias in the courtroom more broadly and will challenge viewers to recognize their own biases and to learn how those biases could affect their assessment of potential jurors, witnesses, judges, and adversaries. The program also will provide viewers with skills on how to identify the biases of potential jurors and how those biases could come into play during deliberations.

Stacy Douglas, Everett Dorey LLP, Irvine, CA
Gary Howard, Bradley, Birmingham, AL


Investigating claims and lawsuits often requires interviews with employees. Corporate in-house attorneys and their outside counsel need to be able to identify potential conflicts of interest and confidentiality issues with employees who may leave their employment and become opposing counsel’s best witness.

Kristie S. Crawford, Brown & James, Springfield, MO
Lauren Buford, Walgreen Co., Deerfield, Illinois 60015.

Mental Health & Attorney Wellness

Study after study suggests that lawyers aren’t happy. Continued unhappiness impacts performance, relationships, and physical health. That’s the bad news. The good news is that research proven interventions exist that increase happiness without requiring a radical change in circumstances. Even a slight increase in happiness has a lasting impact on both your current performance and resilience, not to mention, happier just feels better. This program will quickly, efficiently, and practically explain why happiness matters and offer tools you can use today to work, lead, and live happier.

Rebecca Morrison, Aldie VA

Law Practice Management

Law firms must operate more efficiently to ensure they can deliver high-quality services, handle more volume and maintain a profit margin in today’s climate of rate pressure and rising costs. Understanding Key Performance Indicators and law firm analytics concerning financial, operational and client service data are key to mastering law firm performance management. This presentation will address methods to collect information necessary for evaluating key areas of performance, identify tools and techniques to analyze data and generate action items and more.

Brian Kennel, PerformLaw, New Orleans, LA
Jan Sander, PerformLaw, New Orleans, LA
Sean Kennel, PerformLaw, New Orleans, LA

Hotel and Travel Information

A limited number of discounted hotel rooms have been made available at the Hilton Nashville Downtown, 121 4th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37201. Take advantage of the group rate of $289.00 Single/Double in one of two ways:

  • Reserve your Room Online
  • Contact the hotel directly at 615.620.1000 and mention DRI Life, Health, Disability and ERISA Claims Seminar.

The hotel block is limited and rooms and rates are available on a first-come, first-served basis. You must make reservations by April 19, 2022 to be eligible for the hotel’s group rate. Requests for reservations made after that date are subject to room and rate availability. A small portion of your room rate offsets the costs of the seminar.

Travel Discounts: DRI is pleased to announce that discounted air fares are available on various major air carriers for DRI seminar attendees. To receive these discounts, please contact Direct Travel Ltd., DRI’s official travel provider, at 800.840.0908. If you would like to have access to the DRI online travel booking tool, you must complete a Business Travel Profile form at www.dt.com. Within 24 business hours, you will receive information on accessing the system.

CLE Information

Earn up to 12.00 hours of continuing legal education hours, including 1 hour of ethics credit from this seminar.

Life, Health, Disability & ERISA CLE Grid (PDF)


DRI's Life, Health, Disability, and ERISA Seminar is proudly sponsored by:

Bodman Attorneys & Counselors
Burke Williams & Sorensen LLP
Carlton Fields Celebrating 120 Years
CM&N Chittenden Murday & Novotny LLC Dentons Sirote Faegre Drinker Funk & Bolton Gordon & Rees Scully Mansukhani
Lathrop GPM
Nelson Mullins
NJL Nilan Johnson Lewis Ogletree Deakins
Robinson + Cole
Rumberger | Kirk
Wilson Elser

If you would like to contact DRI about seminar sponsorship opportunities, including pricing, or to reserve a spot, please go to Advertising and Sponsorship.

DRI Cares

Oasis Youth Community Action HandsOn Nashville

DRI is delighted to support the Oasis Center through Hands-On Nashville, who strives to help at-risk youth. Join colleagues for an engaging, on-site service project to help assemble personal hygiene kits and write short notes of encouragement for at-risk youth. Make a difference in Nashville while you’re there! Contact Julie Wall with questions.

Event Terms

Read the Event Terms including DRI’s Cancellation and Refund Policy

In-House Counsel and Claims Executives Initiatives

Read the In-House Counsel and Claims Executives Initiatives for DRI Seminars

Contact Us

If you have any questions or concerns regarding DRI programs, please contact DRI Customer Service at 312.795.1101 or custservice@dri.org.