Morgan Lewis

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01/02/12 Litigation Department of the Year, The American Lawyer
Morgan Lewis's Labor and Employment Litigation group is awarded The American Lawyer's "Litigation Department of the Year" award for 2012.
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Photo of  Brian T. Ortelere

practice accolades

Labor & Employment

The American Lawyer Magazine's Litigation Department of the Year – Labor and Employment Law Finalist 2004, Winner 2006, Finalist 2008, Finalist 2010, and Finalist 2012

Listed in the highest tier for National Labor and Employment Practice in Chambers USA 2014

Ranked in the top tier by The Legal 500 for Labor and Employment Litigation, ERISA Litigation, Labor-Management Relations, and Workplace and Employment Counseling (2014)

Named Employment Practice Group of the Year by Law360 (2014)

Named a top 5 firm for employment in BTI's Litigation Outlook 2014 report

Ranked, National Tier 1: Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management, and Litigation – Labor & Employment by U.S. News and Best Lawyers (2011-2012) 

Ranked #1 for "Most Prestigious" Labor and Employment Practice, Vault 2012 Associate Survey

ERISA/Employee Benefits Litigation

Listed in the highest tier for National ERISA Litigation Practice in Chambers USA 2014

Ranked in Tier 1 for ERISA Litigation by The Legal 500 United States (2014)

honors + affiliations

Member, Advisory Board of BNA's ERISA Compliance & Enforcement Library

Listed, The Best Lawyers in America (2005–2011)

Listed, Pennsylvania Super Lawyer (2004–2010)

Listed, Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2006–2014)

Noted in The Legal 500 for Employment and Labor (2012–2014)

Noted in The Legal 500 for Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation—ERISA Litigation (2012–2014)

Noted in The Legal 500 for Labor and Employment—ERISA Litigation (2012–2014)

Listed as Recognized, Dispute Resolution, PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook 2008

bar admissions

  • Pennsylvania
  • New York

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
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Brian T. Ortelere

1701 Market St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2921
United States
Phone: +1.215.963.5150
Fax: +1.215.963.5001
New York
101 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10178-0060
United States
Phone: +1.212.309.6850
Fax: +1.212.309.6001

Brian T. Ortelere is a partner in Morgan Lewis's Labor and Employment Practice and is co-chair of the ERISA Litigation Practice. Mr. Ortelere's practice covers the full range of employee benefit defense litigation matters, including a number of ERISA class actions. He regularly defends class action claims challenging the administration of 401(k) savings plans, cash balance plans and ESOPs. With his victory in Wright v. Oregon Metallurgical (Allegheny Technologies), 360 F. 3d 1090 (9th Cir. 2004), Mr. Ortelere became the first lawyer in the nation to successfully defeat "stock drop" claims on a motion to dismiss, and to successfully defend the judgment in the United States Court of Appeals. He also successfully tried the infamous Unisys Savings Plan matter, the first application of ERISA section 404(c) at trial.

Mr. Ortelere has spoken on benefits topics and ERISA litigation before a variety of audiences, including the Employment Law Institute; Strafford Publications; the LEXIS/NEXIS ERISA Conference (Boston, MA); the Law Education Institute; the National CLE Conference (Vail, Colorado); the West Legalworks ERISA Litigation Conference; and the Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He also frequently addresses MBA students at the Wharton School. From 1987 to 1988, Mr. Ortelere served as a law clerk to Judge William D. Hutchinson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. 

From 2006 through 2014, Mr. Ortelere was named one of the leading U.S. lawyers for the firm's ERISA practice in Chambers USA, based on the views of clients, peers, and other industry professionals. Chambers USA notes that clients consider him "articulate and savvy." Mr. Ortelere is also listed as a "Leading Lawyer" in The Legal 500's 2014 edition, which quotes sources describing Mr. Ortelere as "phenomenal," "exceptionally bright," "a fantastic litigator," and "very knowledgeable."

Mr. Ortelere is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and New York and before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits, and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.


  • College of William & Mary, 1986, J.D.
  • Muhlenberg College, 1983, A.B.