When Wayne Outten began practicing employment law some 25 years ago, “employment law was in its early stages,” says Mr. Outten, managing partner of Manhattan-based Outten & Golden. “Now it’s a well-known practice area that has eclipsed traditional labor law.” Mr. Outten is not entirely comfortable being called a pioneer. “It’s partly true,” he says, “but many people have built the field into what it is today.”
He’s certainly in good company at the firm that he – with Anne Golden – formed in September 1998. Today, Outten & Golden boasts 22 attorneys in its New York and Stamford, Connecticut offices and may top 25 by year-end. “We’re expanding steadily, but we’re a niche practice and will remain that way,” Mr. Outten says.
From the beginning, the firm’s mission has been clear: to help employees navigate the often-murky waters of employment law. In the firm’s short history, it has taken on some of the country’s most prominent employers in discrimination cases and a wide range of other employment matters -- with excellent results. These include working with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in achieving a $54 million settlement with Morgan Stanley in a gender discrimination case in 2004. Mr. Outten and Ms. Golden are joined by partner Gary Phelan and counsel Lewis Steel in being named four of “The Best Lawyers in America,” a surprising achievement for a firm the size of Outten & Golden.
“We engage in problem solving,” Mr. Outten says. “With respect to our individual clients, we don’t just run out and immediately file lawsuits. Instead, we analyze our clients’ wants, needs, and interests and try to help them through counseling, coaching, and negotiating – and, of course, we litigate aggressively to protect their rights, when appropriate.” The focus on client service is a hallmark of the firm.
Outten & Golden also stands out in its ability not only to represent individual employees but also to prosecute major employment class actions. The firm is litigating a number of high-profile discrimination and wage-and-hour class actions against employers such as Wal-Mart, Smith Barney, JP Morgan Chase, and A&P.
The firm’s practice groups include Contracts and Compensation, led by Mr. Outten and Wendi Lazar; Securities and Financial Services Industry, led by Laurence Moy; Sexual Harassment, led by Kathleen Peratis and Allegra Fishel; Disability, Pregnancy, and Leaves, led by Mr. Phelan; Class and Collective Actions, led by Adam Klein; and Discrimination and Retaliation, led by Ms. Golden.