Outten & Golden LLP, the nation's largest firm representing workers in litigation against their employers and in transactional matters such as employment contracts, on Monday announced it has opened an office in San Francisco's financial district.
The 36-attorney firm's new location, which opened Monday, is led by former Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP partner Jahan C. Sagafi, who told Law360 on Tuesday that Outten & Golden decided to expand its reach into California because of the high demand for executive compensation lawyers there and the state's strong employee rights laws.
California's "robust protections for workers" create greater opportunities to defend employee rights through the filing of not only federal but also state law claims, according to Sagafi.
"In other large states that don't have those kinds of laws, the remedies available to employees are much weaker, and there may be less litigation," Sagafi told Law360. "In some people's minds that is a good thing. But often, no litigation means no justice."
The firm's third location was also launched to provide an office for fourth-year associate Jen Liu, who started off at Outten's headquarters in New York but, since the Stanford Law and Business School graduate returned to California two years ago to be closer to family, she has been working from home. She and Sagafi will comprise Outten & Golden San Francisco's branch while the firm searches for two more associates to staff the office.
Its attorneys will represent executives, professionals and other employees in the city, Silicon Valley and beyond on in transactional and litigation matters in all industries, with a particular concentration on the financial services and technology sectors.
Sagafi, who had worked for Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein for 11 years, joined Outten & Golden about eight weeks ago to lead the new office, seeking a new challenge where he would have a management opportunity and could become more familiar with transactional work, he said.
Sagafi has represented workers asserting wage-and-hour claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state laws, and he has helped them recover more than $100 million. He has also prosecuted nationwide race and gender discrimination cases against retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and other well-known companies.
Sagafi's clients have also included consumers in cases challenging discrimination in automobile financing, allegedly improper billing by telephone companies and other deceptive and unfair business practices.
Outten & Golden managing partner Wayne N. Outten called Sagafi "a great fit for our firm."
"He is an extraordinary lawyer and is very involved in the legal community in San Francisco and nationwide,” Outten said in a statement. "[W]e are excited about the opportunity to do more work in California and the Pacific Rim."
Outten & Golden represents employees, executives and partners worldwide in matters involving employment, separation and expatriate agreements and for its representation of employees in class actions, individual suits and arbitrations over wage-and-hour, discrimination and retaliation claims, breaches of contract and restrictive covenants.