Ruth Anne Collins Michels


Ruth Michels joined Ogletree Deakins in 2000, and practices exclusively in the area of employee benefits law.  She represents clients in the areas of qualified retirement plans, health and welfare plans, nonqualified deferred compensation plans, qualified domestic relations orders, ERISA, COBRA administration, and compliance with other federal laws relating to employee benefits matters.  She assists clients in the design and drafting of plans.  She advises clients with regard to the legal requirements for operating and administering plans, and prepares and submits filings to the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor. 

In addition, Ruth has assisted numerous clients with compliance with the HIPAA privacy regulations and has a recognized expertise in the application of this complex area of the law to employers and health plans.

Prior to joining Ogletree Deakins, Ruth worked at Air Quality Sciences, Inc. in employee benefits and as a manager of their reporting department and quality system.  She served as the documentation coordinator and internal auditor trainer with respect to AQS’s ISO9002 certification.  This real-world experience has been invaluable in understanding clients’ need for a legally-compliant yet practical solution to issues with retirement and health/welfare plan design and interpretation.



Ruth’s practice focuses on assisting clients in ensuring their retirement and health/welfare plans remain compliant with the myriad tax laws and new health care reform requirements. 

Ruth provides guidance regarding the corrections of errors in retirement plan administration through submissions under the IRS correction program for tax-qualified retirement plans.  These submissions have included corrections relating to failed discrimination tests and failures to timely amend retirement plans for changes in the law.

Ruth and others in the benefits practice group have made numerous presentations regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 to keep clients abreast of this ever-changing landscape of new regulations.  Ruth has also advised clients regarding compliance with the new requirements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including the nondiscrimination rules under Section 105(h) of the Internal Revenue Code which will become applicable to fully-insured group health plans.

Education and Honors


J.D., cum laude, Georgia State University College of Law, 2000
B.S.B.A., Central Michigan University, 1990

Honors and Awards: 
  • Georgia Super Lawyers “Rising Star” (2006, 2007, and 2009)

Professional Activities

Professional Activities: 
  • Atlanta Bar Association
  • State Bar of Georgia
  • Worldwide Employee Benefits Network (WEB) (Secretary of Atlanta Chapter, 2005-2006)
  • Women in Pensions
  • Managing a Workforce in 2015 - "The Affordable Care Act – Are You Ready for 2015?" - Scottsdale - October 3, 2014
  • Construction Financial Management Association - "Are You Ready? The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Employer-Sponsored Health Plans" - Atlanta - May 15, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies - "Fiduciary Duties, Plan Fees and Increase Potential Liability Exposure" - New Orleans - May 10, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins' Atlanta Office - "FAQs on Health Care Reform - What's on Your Mind?" - Atlanta - April 4, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Webinar - "They're Baaack: What the Latest HIPAA Regulations Mean For Employer Health Plans" - March 14, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins' Pittsburgh Office - "FAQs on Health Care Reform - What's on Your Mind?" - Pittsburgh - March 7, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins' Tampa Office - "ERISA Fiduciary Risks: How to Keep Your Retirement Plans Compliant and Your Fiduciaries Out of Court" - Tampa - February 13, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Wellness Pland and HIPAA, GINA, EEOC And Health Reform: Putting It All Together" - Chicago - May 13, 2011
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Benefit Plan Fiduciary Compliance And Fee Disclosure Requirements - The Changing Rules" - Chicago - May 12, 2011
  • Worldwide Employee Benefits Network -- Benefits Boot Camp - "Retirement Plans" - Atlanta - April 2011
  • Ogletree Deakins Breakfast Briefing - "Top 10 Tips for Keeping Your Plans Compliant and Your Fiduciaries Out of Court" - April 2011
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "Health Care Reform Update – Are Your Ready?" - Pittsburgh - October 2010
  • Arizona SHRM Annual Conference - "Healthcare Reform: A Strategic Perspective" - Phoenix - August 2010
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Deferred Compensation Plan – Correcting Document and Operational Failures" - Las Vegas - May 2010
  • Worldwide Employee Benefits Network -- Benefits Boot Camp - "Health Plans (overview)" - Atlanta - March 2010

In The News

Published Works: