Outten & Golden, a leading plaintiffs-side employment law firm, has elevated longtime class action litigator Adam Klein to become its managing partner after years of stewardship from founding partner Wayne Outten.
The law firm announced the leadership transition in a statement Monday, saying Klein assumed his new role Jan. 1. Although Outten is leaving the managing partner position, he will move into a chairman role at the firm he co-founded in 1998 alongside now-retired partner Anne Golden. Outten will also continue practicing law as a co-leader of the firm’s executives and professionals and whistleblower retaliation practices, and he’ll continue to serve on the firm’s executive committee.
“Adam’s elevation is part of an orderly transition that we have been planning for some time,” Outten said in a statement. “It has been my great pleasure and privilege to lead this firm during its first 20 years. We all have the utmost faith and confidence in Adam as he leads us into the next two decades.”
Klein, who has been at Outten & Golden for more than 19 years, started the firm’s class and collective action practice and was one of the first five lawyers to join the firm. Since then, he has served as a lead litigator on a number of the firm’s highest-profile class actions, including discrimination cases against big players in the financial services and technology sectors, such as Goldman Sachs & Co. and Microsoft Corp., and a recent lawsuit against the U.S. Census Bureau.
For the Census case, Klein served as lead counsel for a class of job applicants who challenged the agency’s use of arrest and criminal history records as an employment screen. The suit in 2016 led to a $15 million settlement that also required the agency to change its hiring policies, and which was hailed by civil rights groups that supported the litigation.
Klein said in an interview Monday that he has worked closely alongside Outten for the better part of two decades and will be able to draw on that experience as managing partner.
“It’s healthy for the organization to have a change in leadership,” Klein said. “I have a different perspective, of course, but I’ve also been here.”
In the new role, Klein said, he’ll prioritize maintaining the firm’s “mission-driven” approach to representing employees in a range of different areas. Sticking to that mission and the firm’s values has paid dividends in the form of expert lawyers who tend to remain at Outten & Golden for long periods of time, he added. Klein said he wants to leverage and build upon that expertise as he leads the firm.
“This is a talent driven profession,” said Klein. “We’re really focused on hiring people who align with our firm culture and values.”
He also said he’ll place an emphasis on taking advantage of technologies, such as artificial intelligence, that have impacted the practice of law and made tasks such as document review and management more efficient. Those types of changes, said Klein, can be a “great equalizer” for plaintiffs lawyers like him and his firm as they square off in court against well-resourced corporate defense lawyers.
Beyond Klein’s elevation to the managing partner role, the leadership change will also see Laurence Moy, co-chair of the firm’s financial services practice, move into a deputy managing partner position. Separately, the firm in July brought on board Sloane Levy, a lawyer and businesswoman, to serve as Outten & Golden’s first ever chief operating officer. The high-level changes are part of a broader initiative at the firm known as “O&G 2.0,” which laid out a succession plan for the firm.
News of the leadership transition also comes close on the heels of another announcement from Outten & Golden, which last week said it would collaborate with veteran transgender rights litigator Jillian Weiss to pursue LGBT discrimination cases. A former executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, Weiss stepped into an of counsel role as part of the coordinated efforts with Outten & Golden.