Diane M. Soubly is Of Counsel based in Butzel’s Ann Arbor office practicing in the areas of labor and employment law and litigation, ERISA and employee benefits law and litigation, Native American law, and appellate litigation.
Diane is the lead Co-Editor-in-Chief of the 1700-page second edition of the Bloomberg Law Workplace Harassment Law treatise (2018) and its on-line Update in progress. She is the Contributing Editor to the Benefits Law Journal. She also served as Chapter Monitor (Chapter 20 – Sexual and Other Forms of Harassment) and Senior Reviewer (Chapter 43 – Alternate Dispute Resolution) of the 2020 edition of the ABA/Bloomberg Law Employment Discrimination Law treatise.
Diane is one of a select few attorneys nationally who have been elected Fellows of both the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, and she is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation (limited to 1% of lawyers licensed in each jurisdiction).
Included in Best Lawyers for many years, Diane is a member of the Michigan and Illinois bars, and she has been recognized as a Super Lawyer in both Illinois and Michigan.
With over 35 years of experience, Diane is a member of the bar of the United States Supreme Court and the First, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Eleventh Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal. She is an adjunct professor of law at Chicago-Kent College of Law, for which she developed four courses: Employee Benefits Law and Litigation, Workplace Harassment Law, and Privacy Rights in Employment for its nationally recognized Labor and Employment certification program, as well as Native American Law.
She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School (1980, magna cum laude) and holds a PhD in English Literature (1981, with distinction), an MA (1971, with distinction), and a B.A. (1970, with honors, Phi Beta Kappa) from Wayne State University.
Labor and Employment Law:
A member of Michigan’s Michigan Institute for Continuing Legal Education Labor and Employment Law Advisory Board for ten years, Diane served as a chapter author for ICLE’s Employment Law for Michigan Lawyers publication for 15 years. Diane also served on the Personnel Policies Task Force appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court to develop policies on sexual harassment and family and medical leave for law firms and judicial officers.
In several different capacities, Diane has served as an investigator in highly sensitive personnel investigations (including workplace harassment and financial misconduct investigations), and she has been tapped as a mediator and an arbitrator in private disputes and in cases for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In her role as Deputy General Counsel, Litigation for a national bank, she also oversaw the Labor and Employment attorneys within the Legal Department. At the request of her General Counsel after she returned to private practice, Diane interviewed with the Chair of the EEOC during the administration of President George W. Bush and made the short list of candidates for General Counsel of the agency.
As a labor and employment law litigator, Diane has represented private, public (including schools, institutions of higher education, and municipalities), and non-profit employers in all facets of labor and employment litigation and counseling, including:
- individual and class claims under federal and state discrimination laws, involving various statuses such as age, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity.
- trade secret violations and violations of non-compete and non-disclosure covenants under state and federal law (including RICO and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act)
- individual and class claims under federal and state wage and hour laws,
- claims for wrongful discharge, breach of employment contract and related tort claims,
- individual and class claims for public policy discharge, and
- scientific misconduct claims.
Employee Benefits Law and Litigation:
In 2007, Diane was invited onto the Board of Directors of the American Benefits Council (2007-2010). She also served on the Council’s Legal Affairs Committee evaluating requests for amicus briefs (2007-2014).
In her role as Deputy General Counsel, Litigation for a national bank, she also oversaw Employee Benefits lawyers within the Legal Department.
As an ERISA litigator, Diane has successfully represented employers, fiduciaries, executives, trustees, plans, and plan sponsors in all facets of ERISA litigation, including individual and ERISA class actions involving:
- retiree benefits,
- imprudent investments (including stock drop issues),
- excessive fees,
- pension miscalculations,
- cash balance plan conversions,
- violations of ERISA's anti-cutback rule,
- violations of ERISA §510,
- discriminatory plan design,
- various fiduciary breaches,
- executive compensation disputes, including SERPs,
- delinquent contributions,
- withdrawal liability, and
- trustee disputes.
Diane has designed welfare benefit plans, severance pay plans, and voluntary and involuntary reduction-in-force plans and has reviewed plans and summary plan descriptions both for compliance and for pre-litigation avoidance. She has written extensively and has conducted webinars on the “nuts and bolts” of the Affordable Care Act.
Native American Law:
Diane is a member of the firm’s Tribal Law Specialty Practice and has attended government-to-government consultations on missing and murdered indigenous women. She has counseled Native American tribes on a variety of issues relating to:
- labor and employment,
- tribal governmental and commercial employee benefit plans,
- health care services,
- the Affordable Care Act,
- 340B audits,
- service provider contracts,
- land-to-trust submissions,
- housing development (including mitigation wetlands),
- economic diversification,
- casino gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and related litigation and contracts,
- tribal sovereignty,
- federal preemption,
- disputes with non-tribal members,
- various tribal ordinances and constitutional provisions, and
- on-line gaming (including sports betting) legislation and regulations.
As an appellate lawyer, Diane has joined cases at the post-trial level and has obtained successful reversals on appeal. She has also protected favorable results on appeal.
She has authored amicus briefs for national associations (including The Chamber of Commerce of the United States, the American Benefits Council, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Equal Employment Advisory Committee, and the HR Policy Association).
In the marriage equality cases culminating in the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision in 2015, she filed sixteen amicus briefs on behalf of 18 of the nation’s leading constitutional law scholars in five different federal circuits and in the US Supreme Court.
All Related Practice Areas
Wayne State University 1971, M.A.
Wayne State University 1981, Ph.D.
University of Michigan Law School 1980, J.D.
Wayne State University 1970, B.A.
- Supreme Court of the United States
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan
Awards & Recognitions
Awards & Recognitions
Listed in Best Lawyers in America for Lawyer of the Year- Employee Benefits - ERISA Law, 2023
Michigan Super Lawyers - Employee Benefits, 2023
Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
Fellow, College of Employee Benefits Counsel
The Best Lawyers in America - Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, Employment Law – Management, Litigation – ERISA, 2024
Illinois Super Lawyers
DBusiness Top Lawyers in Metro Detroit
News & Events
- Firm News, 9.6.2023
- Firm News, 8.23.2023
- Firm News, 11.15.2022
- Firm News, 8.18.2022
- Firm News, 8.12.2022
Alerts & Publications
- Client Alert, 8.17.2022
- Client Alert, 1.5.2022