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Gretchen Suzanne Obrist

Class action Attorney at Seattle, WA

5.0   3 reviews
  • Licensed for 17 years
    State WA
    Acquired 2005
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Gretchen

Learn Gretchen’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Class action
    Experienced class action litigator with nationwide practice focusing on ERISA litigation and consumer protection, including mortgage modification and consumer products cases.

  2. Employee benefits
    Specializing in ERISA fiduciary breach and prohibited transactions claims in the context of company stock collapses, excessive fees, and undisclosed fees affecting the value of 401(k) investment options.

  3. Litigation

  4. Appeals

  5. Civil rights

Gretchen Obrist provides her clients with a clear voice in complex cases. Gretchen is a member of Keller Rohrback’s nationally recognized Complex Litigation Group whose work as a dedicated advocate dates back two decades to her role at a nonprofit organization focused on impact litigation.

With her work as a law clerk and as a litigator, Gretchen has significant experience with a broad range of federal cases at all stages. Her nationwide practice focuses on Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) fiduciary breach and prohibited transaction cases. Gretchen’s work has helped curtail excessive and conflict-ridden fees in the multi-trillion dollar retirement savings industry and provide recourse to retirement plan participants and beneficiaries who have faced pension reductions, misrepresentations, and other unfair practices related to their retirement plan benefits. Gretchen’s ERISA experience includes a successful appeal to the Eighth Circuit in Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. reversing dismissal of the lead plaintiff’s excessive fee case, significant contributions to cases challenging cash balance pension plan conversions by Washington Mutual and JPMorgan, and representation of the employees who lost nearly all of their ESOP savings with the collapse of Bear Stearns.

More recently, Gretchen has been instrumental in the firm’s litigation against pharmacy benefit managers, drug manufacturers, and other entities whose business practices have driven up the cost of prescription drugs for ERISA welfare plan participants, as well as Medicare plan and ACA/individual plan members, and the uninsured.

Gretchen’s breadth of practice extends to consumer protection and financial fraud claims, civil rights issues, and qui tam relator representation. She has played a key role in class action and multi-district cases arising out of the collapse of the mortgage securities industry and the residential mortgage modification and foreclosure crisis, including several ERISA actions and a consumer MDL against JPMorgan Chase.

Prior to joining Keller Rohrback, Gretchen served as a law clerk to the Honorable John C. Coughenour, U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Washington. Before obtaining her law degree, she worked at a public defender’s office, the Nebraska Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Coalition, and the Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest—where she recently was profiled for Nebraska Appleseed’s 20th Anniversary celebration as an innovator in the organization’s earliest days.

Gretchen is a Plaintiff Co-Chair of the ABA Employee Benefits Committee’s Fiduciary Responsibility Subcommittee and a Chapter Editor for Employee Benefits Law (Jeffrey Lewis et al. eds., 3d ed. BNA 2012; Ivelisse Berio LeBeau, 4th ed. BNA 2017). She frequently speaks at conferences and CLEs, is quoted in pension-related publications, and has published a number of articles related to her practice areas.

Contact Gretchen

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Keller Rohrback L.L.P.
1201 3rd Avenue,
Suite 3200
Seattle, WA, 98101-3052


5.0 / 5.0
  3 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
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1 Star
Posted by Lloyd | April 22, 2014
Successfully forced debt collectors to pay damages and expunge a disputed debt
Due to the unparalleled professionalism displayed by Mrs. Obrist, I have had a 20+ year old debt, long thought to be over and forgotten, permanently expunged. She and her team also forced the debt collectors to pay damages for using illegal tactics and failing to comply with fair debt collection practices. Gretchen kept me abreast of the process every step of the way, and made sure I understood everything that was going on from the initial complaint to the actual settlement. Words cannot express how greatly I have valued Gretchen and her team’s council, or how grateful I am for their hard work and dedication.
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Posted by Jeremy | December 18, 2012
A friend you can count on to stand up for you from the beginning
Working with Gretchen was like working with a close friend. From the very beginning of my case, she kept me well informed about the happenings of my case. The case was approximately four years long and she maintained the strong care and concern she had on day one. She was very quick to answer my countless questions I had during the four-year process. Gretchen always had an open mind to new ideas in how to present the case that I enjoyed. She works with tremendous Associates that really exemplify her strong character and dedication in doing what is right for the client. The case started about 2008 and finished in 2012.
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Posted by Laura | November 20, 2012
Creative and tenacious litigator
I received truly exemplary representation from Gretchen Obrist. She is thoughtful, thorough, able to think big and see the whole picture, but attentive to detail; a superb and strategic drafter of briefs, and unfailingly patient and calm in a crazy and frustrating legal proceeding. Her work was pro bono, and despite the fact that she was busy with other matters, she treated this assignment with the same professionalism as her work for other clients. She stayed at work well into the evening to finalize briefs, making sure they were in perfect order (and they always were). This was my first experience as in house counsel working with outside counsel. I doubt I will ever experience a higher level of professionalism and talent.
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Contact for Details


AVVO RATING 9.3 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Attorney
  • Keller Rohrback, LLP
  • 2007 - Present
  • Law Clerk
  • U.S. Dist. Court, W.D. Wash., Hon. John C. Coughenour
  • 2005 - 2007
  • Senior Certified Law Clerk
  • Lancaster County Office Of The Public Defender
  • 2004 - 2004
  • Editor-in-Chief
  • Nebraska Law Review
  • 2004 - 2005
  • Law Clerk / Intern
  • Nebraska Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Coalition
  • 2003 - 2003
  • Paralegal / Intake & Outreach Coordinator
  • Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest
  • 1998 - 2000
View all work experience


  • University of Nebraska College of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor, With High Distinction, Order of the Coif
  • 2005
  • University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • BS - Bachelor of Science, With Distinction, UNL Honors Program
  • 1999

Legal Cases

  • Santomenno v. Transamerica Life Ins. Co., No. 12-2782, 2013 WL 603901 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 19, 2013)
  • Favorable decision on Defendants' Motions to Dismiss ERISA claims, finding that Plaintiffs adequately pleaded Defendant Transamerica's fiduciary status and alleged plausible claims for fiduciary breach and prohibited transactions.
  • Buus et al. v. WaMu Pension Plan et al., No. 07-0903 (W.D. Wash.)
  • Class certification in 2008. Favorable settlement with final court approval in 2010. Keller Rohrback was appointed lead class counsel.
  • In re Bear Stearns Cos. ERISA Litig., MDL No. 1963 (S.D.N.Y)
  • Favorable settlement with final court approval in 2012. Keller Rohrback was appointed co-lead class counsel.
View all legal cases


  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington
  • Admitted to Practice
  • 2011 - Present
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • Admitted to Practice
  • 2011 - Present
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • Admitted to Practice
  • 2011 - Present
  • The William L. Dwyer American Inn of Court
  • Member
  • 2010 - Present
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • Admitted to Practice
  • 2010 - Present
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • Admitted to Practice
  • 2008 - Present
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • Admitted to Practice
  • 2008 - Present
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
  • Admitted to Practice
  • 2007 - Present
  • King County Bar Association
  • Member
  • N/A
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Member
  • N/A
  • American Bar Association, Litigation Section
  • Member
  • N/A
  • American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, Puget Sound Lawyer Chapter
  • Member
  • N/A
  • American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section, Employee Benefits Committee
  • Member
  • N/A
  • The William L. Dwyer American Inn of Court
  • Member
  • N/A
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Rising Star
  • Washington Super Lawyers
  • 2010
  • Outstanding Law Student Award
  • National Association of Women Lawyers
  • 2005
  • Theodore C. Sorensen Fellow (2004–2005)
  • Theodore C. Sorensen / University of Nebraska College of Law
  • 2004
  • Robert G. Simmons Law Practice Award (first place)
  • University of Nebraska College of Law
  • 2004
View all awards


  • Washington Appleseed
  • Contributing editor and writer for the Foreclosure Manual for Judges: A Reference Guide to Foreclosure Law in Washington State
  • 2013
  • Nebraska Law Review
  • The Nebraska Supreme Court Lets Its Probation Department Off the Hook in Bartunek v. State: “No Duty” as a Non-Response to Violence Against Women and Identifiable Victims
  • 2004
View all publications

Speaking Engagements

  • ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law
  • Prescription Drug Program Trends and Litigation
  • 2018
  • Western Pension & Benefits Council Spring Seminar
  • Litigation Issues in Health and Retirement Plans: a Plantiff’s Class Action Attorney’s Perspective
  • 2017
  • National Institute on ERISA Litigation
  • Fiduciary Litigation Update
  • 2017
  • ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, Employee Benefits Committee
  • Will Class Actions Live After This Supreme Court Term?
  • 2016
  • Western Pension & Benefits Council, 2014 Spring Seminar, Seattle, WA
  • What’s New in Fiduciary Litigation?
  • 2014
  • American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section, Employee Benefits Committee, Midwinter Meeting, Savannah, GA
  • Update on ERISA Fee Litigation and the Impact of the Regulations
  • 2011
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (2)
Given (1)
Endorse Gretchen
Litigation Attorney | Jan 13
Relationship: Co-worker
"Gretchen works extremely hard for her clients and is a pleasure to work with."
Employee benefits Attorney | Jan 03
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Gretchen is smart and experienced. It would be hard to find a lawyer who will work harder to get her client the best result possible."
Seattle Class action Lawyer Gretchen Suzanne Obrist
Gretchen Suzanne Obrist
Class action Attorney
Seattle, WA
Licensed for 17 years