Richard J. Pearl

Phone: (312) 569-1344 (312) 569-1344


Richard J. Pearl represents companies and plan fiduciaries in Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) litigation and counsels plan sponsors, internal and external fiduciaries, and others on ERISA insurance-procurement, insurance, and indemnification issues. He has worked on number of high-profile Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOPs) lawsuits, including defending clients against claims for breaches of fiduciary duties and benefits due under ERISA. He is proficient on the scope of permissible Fiduciary Liability insurance and the scope of permissible indemnification of fiduciaries under ERISA.

During the course of his career, Rick litigated many complex commercial litigation matters, including co-chairing a four-week RICO jury trial in federal court, defending nationwide class actions for retail industry clients, and leading aspects of large, multi-year litigations in the medical device and mass tort areas.

Rick is a contributor to Drinker Biddle’s Broker-Dealer Law Blog, which provides practical insights on litigation, regulatory, compliance and fiduciary issues impacting broker-dealers.

In addition to his legal practice, Rick is a CLIO-award-winning songwriter, music producer, and sound designer.


  • Defended ESOP-owned company plan sponsors and fiduciaries against ERISA claims for engaging in alleged prohibited transactions and breaches of fiduciary duties.
  • Defended ERISA plan sponsors and fiduciaries against U.S. Department of Labor and ERISA plan participant challenges to indemnification agreements and federal common-law claims for contribution and indemnification.
  • Prosecuted ‘prevailing party’ fee claim under ERISA.
  • Assisted clients across industries on methods to enhance their insurance programs and strengthen indemnification provisions.
  • Co-chaired a four-week RICO jury trial in federal court with more than 50 defendants; located, retained, prepared, and examined expert witnesses and cross-examined oppositions’ experts at trial on damages, lost-profits, and complex statistical analyses; drafted motions in limine, jury instructions, voir dire questions, and pre-trial order.
  • Developed strategy and drafted winning motions for partial summary judgment in Southern District of Ohio fraud/breach-of-contract case between medical-device manufacturers; pursued strategy.
  • Represented multi-national manufacturing company in mediation at JAMS involving a contract dispute pending in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; prepared statements and presented arguments at mediation; advised client on strategy; sole responsibility for overseeing junior associates, coordinating discovery, drafting mediation statements, and conferring directly with client contacts.
  • Defended the world's largest retailer in two consumer class actions for alleged fraudulent conduct; obtained complete dismissal of both actions.
  • Leveraged a strong relationship with opposing counsel to negotiate and finalize an extremely favorable settlement of a bet-the-company TCPA class-action.
  • Prepared for and took hundreds of depositions in asbestos and other mass-tort cases pending in various jurisdictions.


Bar Admissions

  • Illinois


  • Loyola University Chicago School of Law, J.D., 2001, Top 5 Percent
  • Northern Illinois University, B.S., 1996

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois