“Together: Class actions level the playing field. They are an agent of change and a potent tool to remedy injustice.”


ADAM T. KLEIN is Managing Partner of Outten & Golden LLP, and founded the firm’s class action practice area. His practice focuses on the prosecution of class actions and impact litigation relating to race, gender, and immigration-based statutory discrimination. In addition, Mr. Klein has extensive experience litigating race and restorative justice cases concerning the criminal justice system and resulting collateral consequences in the workplace and in other contexts. Mr. Klein currently serves as lead or co-lead plaintiffs’ counsel in numerous major class action lawsuits involving discrimination claims in the financial services industry, the high tech industry, and challenges to the use of credit and criminal history records for employment decisions. Mr. Klein is co-lead plaintiffs’ class counsel in a gender discrimination lawsuit challenging employment practices at Goldman Sachs. Mr. Klein is also lead counsel in a recently filed major class action filed against Washington State and all 39 counties within that state on behalf of tens of thousands of people with unconstitutional felony drug convictions and related offenses seeking the restitution of LFOs (fines and fees) and other forms of relief relating to the collateral consequences of those convictions.  

Mr. Klein is lead class counsel in a now concluded lawsuit against the Census Bureau, which was filed in affiliation with a consortium of civil-rights organizations challenging the use of arrest and criminal history records as a screen for employment for 850,000 applicants. In 2016, the parties reached a landmark settlement with the federal government that requires the Census Bureau to reform its hiring practices for the 2020 decennial census as well as creating a class-member Records Assistance Project housed at the Cornell University ILR School and in coordination with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The Census Bureau legal team led by Mr. Klein won the Public Justice 2017 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award.  
In addition, Mr. Klein serves as co-lead plaintiffs’ class counsel in now settled nationwide discrimination class action lawsuits against Smith Barney (gender – Amochaev v. Smith Barney), Bank of America/Merrill Lynch (gender – Calibuso v. Bank of America), and Morgan Stanley (race – Jaffe v. Morgan Stanley).  Each settlement provides class members with substantial monetary relief and creates systematic changes to company practices. Mr. Klein also served as co-lead plaintiffs’ class counsel in a “glass ceiling” gender discrimination class action against MetLife, based on discrimination in promotions and compensation, which resulted in a settlement that created beneficial changes in the company.

Mr. Klein is the immediate past Co-Chair of the Executive Board of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. For numerous years, Mr. Klein has been selected as one of the Lawdragon 500 leading lawyers in America as well as Best Lawyers in America, New York’s Super Lawyers – Manhattan Edition, and as a member of the Hall of Fame in the Legal 500. Mr. Klein is a Fellow of the College of Labor & Employment Lawyers. Mr. Klein received his undergraduate degree from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University in 1987 and his law degree from Hofstra University in 1990.


(*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.)

Bar Admission and Professional Activity

  • Mr. Klein is admitted to practice law only in New York.
  • Mr. Klein is admitted to the following federal courts: The United States District Courts for the Southern District of New York, Eastern District of New York; and Western District of New York; and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the Ninth Circuit, and the Eleventh Circuit.
  • Co-Chair, Executive Committee of the Lawyers™ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Member, National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) and former co-chair of its Class Action Committee, and he served on the Executive Board of NELA™s New York Affiliate (NELA/NY) from 2000 to 2006.
  • Served on the Executive Board of the Employee Rights Section of the American Trial Lawyers Association (now AAJ).
  • Member, American Bar Association, where he served as the Plaintiffs’ Co-Chair of the Committee on Technology and Federal Law Clerks Training Program, and is a member of the Committees on Equal Employment Opportunity and Employee Rights and Responsibilities of the Section of Labor and Employment Law and the Class Action and Derivative Suits Committee of the Section of Litigation.
  • Adam Klein has been appointed to the New York State Bar Association’s blue-ribbon Task Force on Advancing Diversity.  The Task Force will develop strategies for universities and businesses after the recent Supreme Court ruling declaring affirmative action policies at universities unlawful.  The Task Force includes the chairs of prominent law firms, members of the judiciary, general counsels of preeminent businesses, and representatives of academia.
  • Past Plaintiffs™ Co-Chair of the largest committee within the Labor and Employment Section “ the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee.
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
  • Member, Advisory Boards of the Labor and Employment Law Program and the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations for Cornell University
  • Member, Advisory Board of the National Wage and Hour Clearinghouse

Video & Podcasts

March 28, 2023

Outten & Golden LLP partner Adam T. Klein – For years AT&T and companies like it have buried fine print in service contracts that says the customer can’t participate in class action lawsuits but instead must use binding arbitration.

Play Video
March 28, 2023

Adam T. Klein, partner of Outten & Golden LLP, speaking about the firm and potential clients working with the firm for the first time.

Play Video
January 31, 2023

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) held a public hearing to examine the use of automated systems, including artificial intelligence (AI), in employment decisions. Increasingly, employers are using automated systems to make employment decisions, including the recruitment, hiring, monitoring, and firing of workers. During the hearing, the Commission heard from witnesses ranging from computer scientists, civil rights advocates, legal experts, industrial-organizational psychologist, and employer representatives. This hearing continues the work of the EEOC’s AI and Algorithmic Fairness Initiative, an agency-wide initiative to ensure that the use of software, including AI and other emerging technologies used in hiring and other employment decisions, comply with the federal civil rights laws that the EEOC enforces.

Play Video
February 28, 2010

Adam T. Klein – The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a massive class action on behalf of 1.5 million female Wal-Mart employees, saying there was no way a single court proceeding could determine whether they were all victims of sex discrimination.

Play Video
July 2, 2018

In this episode, you can hear Matt Steinberg’s recent NYC panel discussion moderated by Solon Barocas, Ph. D. (Cornell University Assistant Professor & Co-Founder of Fairness, Accountability + Transparency in Machine Learning) and featuring panelists Adam Klein (Deputy Managing Partner – Outten & Golden); Eric Dunleavy, Ph.D. (Director of Personnel Selection & Litigation Support Services – DCI Consulting) and Kelly Trindel, Ph.D. (Head of Science + Diversity Analytics).


Speaking Engagements



  • Panelist: “Managing Partner Conference Series: Managing Partner Response to COVID-19,” Managing Partners’ Forum of the New York State Bar Association


  • Speaker: “Impact Analysis: When To Use It & The Statistics To Support It,” National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), NELA 2017 Annual Convention, San Antonio, TX


  • Speaker: “Deep Diving Equal Pay,” American Bar Association, Section of Labor & Employment, National Conference on Equal Employment Opportunity Law, Austin, TX


  • Speaker: “Class and Collective Actions — Rapid Fire Case Law Update,” National CLE Conference – Labor & Employment, Vail, CO
  • Speaker: “Title VII Class Certification—Issues Certification and Targeting Specific Employment Practices Post Dukes and Comcast,” ABA Labor & Employment Section, National Conference on Equal Employment Opportunity Law, Miami Beach, FL
  • Faculty: “The Boundaries of the Employment Relationship: Who is an Employee? Who is the Employer?,” NYU Labor & Employment Law, Institute of Judicial Administration, NYU University School of Law, Eighteenth Annual NYU Workshop on Employment Law for Federal Judges, New York, NY
  • Speaker: “Judge and Magistrate Judge Class and Collective Actions — What is Viable and What is Not?,” Law Education Institute, National CLE Conference, Vail, CO


  • Speaker: “Challenges to Subjective Selection Systems; ‘Pattern or Practice’ Promotion and Pay Claims in Higher-Level Jobs,” New York University, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act After 50 Years, NYU 67th Annual Conference on Labor, New York, NY
  • Panelist: “Your Day in Court?: The Undermining of Access to Justice,” American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) Convention, Washington, DC
  • Speaker: “Legal issues and Safeguards Associated with Performance Evaluation Programs,” BA Section of Labor and Employment Law, 8th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference, Los Angeles, CA


  • Panelist: “Employment Discrimination,” Hofstra, Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal 30th Anniversary Reception and Symposium, New York, NY
  • Speaker: “Gender Pay Disparity: 50 Years after the Equal Pay Act,” ABA Labor & Employment Section, 7th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference, New Orleans, LA
  • Panelist: “Compensation and Discrimination/Equal Pay Issues in the Financial Services Sector,” ELA, Third Transatlantic Conference, London, England
  • Moderator: “Advanced Class Action Topics,” ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law, National Conference on Equal Employment Opportunity Law, Savannah, GA
  • Lecturer: “Managing Wage & Hour Risks,” Practicing Law Institute, New York, NY


  • Lecturer: “Managing Wage & Hour Risks,” Practising Law Institute, New York, NY


  • Speaker: “Reacting to the Changing American Workforce and Workplace, Part I: Lifestyle Behaviors & Relationships,” The 13th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute, Washington, DC
  • Speaker: “Class and Collective Actions Update,” National CLE Conference – Labor & Employment, Vail, CO
  • Speaker: “Cross-Border Class Action Litigation,” As the World Turns: Perspectives on International Labor and Employment Law, New York, NY
  • Speaker: “Making the Call Whether to Settle: Assessing Damages, Settlement Structure, Administration and More,” American Conference Institute, 7th National Advanced Forum on Wage Hour Claims and Class Actions, New York, NY
  • Speaker: “Criminal History, Bad Credit Scores, and Hiring Discrimination: Title VII and the Use of Criminal Records and Credit History as Hiring Criteria,” The American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law and the ABA Center for Continuing Legal Education, Teleconference
  • Speaker: “Evidence Issues/Use of Experts,” Center for Labor and Employment Law, Twelfth Annual NYU Workshop on Employment Law for Federal Judges, New York, NY

Articles & Publications

Out of Prison, Out of a Job: “Ban the Box” Movement Seeks an End to Employers’ Insidious Use of Criminal Background Checks to Reject Qualified Applicants

70 million Americans - one in every three adults in the United States - has a criminal record of some sort. for many of these people, however, the cost of their crimes imposes a death sentence on their ability to find work. The impact is far reaching. According to...

Racial Discrimination from the Time of “The Butler’s Child” until Now

In The Butler's Child, Outten & Golden Senior Counsel Lewis Steel describes his career spent seeking racial justice as a civil rights lawyer. The book, to be released on June 14th, is a fascinating chronicle of many landmark cases, and a fitting reminder of the...

ABA Commission on Women in the Profession Honors Wendi S. Lazar With Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award

Outten & Golden LLP is proud to announce that the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession bestowed its Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award on our esteemed partner Wendi S. Lazar. 

The Brent Award is considered one of the most prestigious awards the ABA confers. Past Brent Award honorees include the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  

Use Of Statistical Evidence In Complex Wage Litigation

Adam T. Klein and Tarik F. Ajami. Statistical evidence has taken its place as a core class of evidence in complex employment cases. Yet despite the centrality of statistics in the field, there is precious little caselaw addressing the use of expert statistical evidence in complex wage-and-hour litigation. However, as a growing number of practitioners have recognized, class and collective wage-and-hour litigation is as well-suited or better-suited for the use of statistical experts as are Title VII and other employment actions.


Off-The-Clock Claims From The Employee’s Perspective

Employment law attorney Adam T. Klein, and Sean Farhang. Chapter 8 from Compensation, Work Hours and Benefits: Proceedings of the New York 57th Annual Conference on Labor edited by Hirsch, Samuel Estreicher 05/05/2009

In this paper we discuss legal issues relevant to off-the-clock wage and hour claims. By “off-the-clock” claims we refer to claims alleging that the defendant failed to pay an employee for work time which was compensable under relevant wage and hour law. Our primary focus is application of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to off-the-clock claims.


Mandatory Arbitration of Employment Class Action Disputes: From the Perspective of Plaintiffs’ Counsel

Co-Authored by Adam T. Klein and Nantiya Ruan, 776 PLI/Lit. 255, 2008

Employer Credit-History Checks And Criminal Record Checks Of Job Applicants For Hiring Decisions: The Illegality Under Title VII Disparate Impact Doctrine

Adam T. Klein, ReNika Moore, and Professor Scott A. Moss, May 3, 2007.

The legality under Title VII of employer use of credit-history checks as a job criterion or investigative tool is a question best answered in several parts. First, are employee credit-history checks a sufficiently widespread practice to merit the issuance of written guidance by the EEOC? Second, are employee credit-history checks an employment practice that has a disproportionately negative impact on African-Americans (and other protected groups as well)? Third, are employee credit-history checks a practice that is job-related and consistent with business necessity? Fourth, and perhaps most broadly, would barring the use of employee credit-history information in determining employment suitability comport with the goals and purposes of Title VII? Each question will be answered in turn...


The DOL’s New FLSA White Collar Exemption Regulations and Working with the DOL on FLSA Actions

Adam T. Klein, Mark R. Humowiecki, Tarik F. Ajami, and Cara E. Greene, Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal, Vol 10, No. 2, Winter 2006.

Eight-Minute Electronic Discovery

Adam T. Klein, Esq. Tarik F. Ajami, Esq. Douglas C. James, Esq. Rachel Wilhelm, 2006

Technophobes, relax: electronic discovery is, at its core, just discovery. And being discovery, it is fundamentally the process of locating, reviewing, and producing materials that are not privileged and that are reasonably likely to lead to evidence admissible at trial. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). But today, virtually every document on the planet is generated and stored in some kind of digital format. The practical effect of this is that plaintiffs and defendants alike are, perhaps unknowingly, sitting atop a mountain of invisible documents, many of which may well be discoverable in the event of litigation.


Use Of ADR Procedures To Resolve Complex Employment Discrimination Litigation From A Plaintiff’s Perspective: No Thanks

Authored by Adam T. Klein, Tarik F. Ajami and Mark R. Humowiecki, 2004. Arbitration of employment discrimination claims – be it a hybrid like “med/arb” and “arb/med” or pure arbitration – at least from a plaintiff’s perspective, offers no real advantages. To the contrary, it appears that the two main objectives of “cram-down” arbitration of employment disputes are (1) to discourage the filing of these claims in the first place and (2) to eliminate the possibility of class action litigation. Once forced into arbitration, the claimant is at a distinct disadvantage due to inequities in information access relative to the employer, the lack of public transparency, the lack of meaningful appellate review, and the “repeat player” dynamic. 

When Outsourcing Cheats Workers

By Adam T. Klein, Esq. and Mark R. Humowiecki, Esq. A paper on corporate outsourcing and how it cheats workers.

More than 60 years after the passage of federal minimum wage and overtime laws, hundreds of West African immigrants were working twelve hours a day, seven days per week, for as little as $1.25 per hour, at New York City’s largest retail grocery stores and pharmacies. How could well-known, multi-billion dollar companies, such as Duane Reade, A&P, and Gristede’s, so openly and egregiously violate the law? Welcome to “outsourcing”— a corporate practice touted by business visionaries as a way of focusing on core competencies and producing efficiencies, but also a tried and true means of lowering labor costs, escaping liability for employment law violations, and blocking labor organizing efforts, all achieved by avoiding a formal employment relationship with outsourced workers.


Advanced Litigation Issues Under the Fair Labor Standards Act

Co-authored by Adam T. Klein and Nantiya Ruan, American Bar Association Conference for Section on Labor & Employment (Summer 2003)

Contingent Worker Abuses: The Class Action Remedy

Adam T. Klein and Scott Moss, Employee Rights Quarterly, Winter 2000.

Awards & Recognition

  • 2008 – 2024: Best Lawyers – Employment Law – Individuals
  • 2012-2024: Best Lawyers – Litigation – Labor and Employment
  • 2018 – 2024: Best Lawyers – Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs
  • 2021: Best Lawyers’ Lawyer of the Year
  • 2021: Legal 500 Hall of Fame
  • 2007-2023: Super Lawyers – Super Lawyer
  • 2019-2022: Legal 500 United States Recommended Labor and Employment Lawyer
  • 2020: Benchmark Litigation Labor & Employment Star, 3rd edition of Benchmark Litigation, Labor & Employment
  • 2018-2021: Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers
  • 2012-2018, 2021 – 2023: Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America
  • 2023: Lawdragon 500 Civil Rights & Plaintiff Employment Lawyer