• Northwestern University School of Law (J.D., 2013) magna cum laude; Order of the Coif
  • Vanderbilt University (B.A., 2009) summa cum laude


  • Hon. Karen Nelson Moore, U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit

Heather Benzmiller is an associate in the Newport Beach office of Irell & Manella LLP, where she is a member of the litigation practice group. Ms. Benzmiller has represented clients in both civil and criminal matters in state and federal courts across the country. Her areas of practice encompass complex business disputes, securities litigation, and employment and labor actions.

Ms. Benzmiller also maintains an active pro bono practice. Among other matters, she has represented a military serviceman and his fiancee in connection with their claim that they were wrongfully evicted from their home and their possessions sold while the serviceman was stationed overseas, which ended in a favorable settlement; a veteran in his appeal of a denial of benefits for service-related disabilities, which resulted in a remand to the local Board for reconsideration; and an inmate seeking to correct his sentence that had been applied incorrectly by the Bureau of Prisons, which resulted in a correction of the sentence. Ms. Benzmiller is also a member of Women United, a leadership circle of the Orange County United Way.

Prior to joining Irell, Ms. Benzmiller was an associate at a large Chicago-based firm, where she was a member of a team retained to conduct an independent investigation into allegations that a national professional association colluded with government officials to support unethical practices in the interrogation of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay. Before that, she served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Karen Nelson Moore of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Ms. Benzmiller earned her J.D., magna cum laude, from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif. As a law student, she served as Articles Editor on the Northwestern University Law Review and participated in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court. Immediately following graduation, Ms. Benzmiller worked as a Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) Fellow for the MacArthur Justice Center, a clinic dedicated to pursuing civil rights litigation related to the criminal justice system.

Selected Publications 

D. Hoffman, D. Carter, C. Viglucci Lopez, H. Benzmiller, A. Guo, S. Latifi, and D. Craig, “Independent Review Relating to APA Ethics Guidelines, National Security Interrogations, and Torture” (July 2, 2015).

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Bar & Court Admissions

  • 2015, California
  • 2013, Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Veterans Claims
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California