New York, NY - The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Labor and Employment Law Section honored Wayne N. Outten, Founding Partner of Outten & Golden LLP, with its Lifetime Achievement Award at the Section's Annual Meeting on January 20, 2023.
Mr. Outten is only the fifth person to receive the award and the first recipient representing employees.
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes attorneys who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of labor and employment law through their practice, writing, teaching, or with public service. When he was presented the honor, Louis P. DiLorenzo, past chair of the Labor and Employment Law Section, said, "When describing why we selected Wayne for this award, a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson comes to mind. Emerson once said (and I paraphrase), 'every great institution is the lengthened shadow of a great person. That person's character determines the character of the organization.' I don't think I've heard any quote that fits anybody better than that quote fits Wayne and his contributions to numerous organizations, especially Outten & Golden."
Throughout his career, Mr. Outten has been a leading advocate for the rights of employees. He has fought against discrimination, harassment, and retaliation against employees; successfully advocated for thousands of employees using litigation, negotiation, and problem-solving approaches; and has been a tireless supporter of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. Also, Mr. Outten is the author of a book on employee rights and has written many book chapters, articles, and papers on labor and employment law. He has also shared his wisdom and insights as a speaker at hundreds of conferences and seminars.
A trailblazer in the area of employee rights, Mr. Outten has played critical roles in founding, building, and leading numerous organizations, including the National Employment Lawyers Association, the National Employment Lawyers Association of New York, the American Bar Association's Section of Labor & Employment Law, the College of Labor & Employment Lawyers, the NYSBA's Labor & Employment Law Section, and Workplace Fairness (a charitable and educational nonprofit) – all in addition to founding and leading Outten & Golden, the nation's premier employee-side employment law firm.
Handing the award to Mr. Outten, Mr. DiLorenzo remarked, "Mae West once said, 'you only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.'; Wayne has done certainly done it right in the labor and employment law area."
Accepting the award, Mr. Outten said, "I want to address and to emphasize the importance of organizations in our lives and our profession, and the importance and value of our actively participating in and contributing to such organizations, especially bar associations…. I recognize that this award is not based on my accomplishments as a practicing lawyer but is based primarily on my contributions to various organizations in the field of employment law, especially bar associations and my firm. It is through such organizations that I have multiplied my impact on the law and on people's lives many times – far more than I could ever have accomplished on my own. And that multiplication effect will continue long after I'm gone."
Adam Klein, the Managing Partner at Outten & Golden, commented that: “I am delighted that Wayne received this prestigious award from the New York State Bar Association Labor and Employment Section in recognition of his leadership, vision, and compassion for others in our field. He is a champion of civil rights and improving the profession. Congratulations and well done.”
The NYSBA Labor and Employment Law Section's Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Mr. Outten at the NYSBA Labor and Employment Law Section's Annual Meeting on January 20, 2023.