Katherine M. Forster

Profile
Community Involvement
Speaking Engagements
Background

Katherine M. Forster is a partner in the employment department at Munger, Tolles & Olson. Ms. Forster represents employers in class and representative actions; wage/hour and compensation disputes; trade secrets; wrongful termination, discrimination and harassment litigation; and appellate matters. In addition to her litigation practice, Ms. Forster advises employers on compliance with state and federal labor laws. She has extensive experience in the financial services, food and beverage distribution, retail, technology, communications, entertainment and media, and nonprofit sectors.

Ms. Forster has been repeatedly recognized in Chambers USA, and the Daily Journal has named her among its Top 100 Women Litigators in California. In addition, she has regularly been selected for inclusion in Southern California Super Lawyers® and in 2016 was listed among the Top 50 Women Attorneys in Southern California.

Ms. Forster has been lead defense counsel in numerous wage and hour class action lawsuits and single-plaintiff matters. She has prevailed at trial as well as on dispositive motions, defeated class certification, enforced arbitration agreements and obtained extraordinary settlements. Among other recent representations, Ms. Forster defended a major beverage distributor in several wage and hour class and representative actions, Southern California Edison against a putative class action for race discrimination, NBC Universal in a putative class action by television screenwriters alleging a pattern and practice of age discrimination by the major networks, studios and talent agencies, and Merrill Lynch in a nationwide series of putative class actions brought by stock brokers who claimed that they were entitled to premium overtime compensation and subjected to improper wage deductions.

In a recent appellate matter, Ms. Forster successfully obtained writ relief for a client that had suffered an adverse ruling below requiring the production of privileged documents. She has also successfully defended a number of rulings on appeal. She was one of the principal counsel of record in Reynolds v. Bement, 36 Cal. 4th 1075 (2005), in which the California Supreme Court held that corporate officers and directors may not be held personally liable under the California Labor Code for wage claims by corporate employees.

Key Representations

  • Merrill Lynch in its defense against a nationwide wage and hour class action by its Financial Advisors.
  • Southern California Edison in obtaining the dismissal of a putative class action alleging a pattern and practice of racial discrimination and summary judgment in a related individual action.
  • 99 Cents Only Stores in obtaining the dismissal of a putative representative action asserting the failure to provide suitable seating for retail employees.
  • Smart & Final in obtaining the dismissal of a putative class action alleging improper wage garnishment practices.
  • NBC Universal in attaining favorable settlements in two putative class actions alleging age discrimination against television writers by all the major TV networks, studios and talent agencies.

Katherine M. Forster is a partner in the employment department at Munger, Tolles & Olson. Ms. Forster represents employers in class and representative actions; wage/hour and compensation disputes; trade secrets; wrongful termination, discrimination and harassment litigation; and appellate matters. In addition to her litigation practice, Ms. Forster advises employers on compliance with state and federal labor laws. She has extensive experience in the financial services, food and beverage distribution, retail, technology, communications, entertainment and media, and nonprofit sectors.

Ms. Forster has been repeatedly recognized in Chambers USA, and the Daily Journal has named her among its Top 100 Women Litigators in California. In addition, she has regularly been selected for inclusion in Southern California Super Lawyers® and in 2016 was listed among the Top 50 Women Attorneys in Southern California.

Ms. Forster has been lead defense counsel in numerous wage and hour class action lawsuits and single-plaintiff matters. She has prevailed at trial as well as on dispositive motions, defeated class certification, enforced arbitration agreements and obtained extraordinary settlements. Among other recent representations, Ms. Forster defended a major beverage distributor in several wage and hour class and representative actions, Southern California Edison against a putative class action for race discrimination, NBC Universal in a putative class action by television screenwriters alleging a pattern and practice of age discrimination by the major networks, studios and talent agencies, and Merrill Lynch in a nationwide series of putative class actions brought by stock brokers who claimed that they were entitled to premium overtime compensation and subjected to improper wage deductions.

In a recent appellate matter, Ms. Forster successfully obtained writ relief for a client that had suffered an adverse ruling below requiring the production of privileged documents. She has also successfully defended a number of rulings on appeal. She was one of the principal counsel of record in Reynolds v. Bement, 36 Cal. 4th 1075 (2005), in which the California Supreme Court held that corporate officers and directors may not be held personally liable under the California Labor Code for wage claims by corporate employees.

Key Representations

  • Merrill Lynch in its defense against a nationwide wage and hour class action by its Financial Advisors.
  • Southern California Edison in obtaining the dismissal of a putative class action alleging a pattern and practice of racial discrimination and summary judgment in a related individual action.
  • 99 Cents Only Stores in obtaining the dismissal of a putative representative action asserting the failure to provide suitable seating for retail employees.
  • Smart & Final in obtaining the dismissal of a putative class action alleging improper wage garnishment practices.
  • NBC Universal in attaining favorable settlements in two putative class actions alleging age discrimination against television writers by all the major TV networks, studios and talent agencies.

Community Involvement

Ms. Forster is a past president of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (WLALA) and currently sits on the WLALA Foundation Board of Governors. In addition, she serves as Symposium Vice-Chair and a member of the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA) Labor and Employment Law Section. She serves on the Downtown Women’s Center board as Secretary and recently joined the Equality Council of Equality California. She was the founding chair of the LACBA/WLALA Joint Task Force on the Promotion and Retention of Women Lawyers (LACBA/ WLALA Joint Task Force) and is a longtime member of California Women Lawyers, the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association, and the Labor and Employment Law Section of the California State Bar.

Under Ms. Forster’s leadership, the LACBA/WLALA Joint Task Force organized a groundbreaking summit meeting of managing partners and practice heads from Los Angeles area law firms to share strategies for retaining and promoting women lawyers. The Joint Task Force’s work was honored in 2009 by the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations with its Outstanding Member Program Award.

Speaking Engagements

  • Employers Beware: What's Now, What's New and What's Next, Institute for Corporate Counsel
  • Trends in Wage and Hour Litigation – Perspectives from the Plaintiff and Defense Side, LACBA Labor & Employment Law Symposium
  • Navigating the Employee Leave Laws: What Happens When the Statutes Intersect, Conflict and Overlap? LACBA Labor & Employment Law Symposium
  • Eliminating Bias in the Legal Profession, Burbank and Orange County Bar Associations
  • Anatomy of the Plaintiff’s Employment Lawsuit and Cutting-Edge Employer Practices to Avoid Employment Lawsuits, LACBA
  • Nuts and Bolts of Employment Law, LACBA
  • Taking the Step to Federal Court, Federal Bar Association
  • "Tracking Diversity," Continuing the Retention and Advancement of Women in Law Firms: Fresh Perspectives for Changing Times, LACBA/WLALA Joint Task Force
  • Sexual Harassment in the Legal Profession, WLALA
  • Law Firm Leaders’ Summit: Practical Ways to Retain and Promote Women Lawyers, LACBA and WLALA

Background

Ms. Forster received her undergraduate degree in Politics from Princeton University. She obtained her law degree from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as executive senior editor of the Southern California Law Review, where she published the article Strategic Reform of Contingent Work, 74 S. Cal. L. Rev. 541 (2001). While in law school, Ms. Forster served as a legal writing instructor, president of the USC Women’s Law Association and a member of the WLALA Board of Governors.

Ms. Forster joined the firm in September 2002 after serving as a law clerk to the Honorable Edward Rafeedie of the United States District Court, Central District of California, and was elected to the partnership in December 2007.

Prior to entering law school, Ms. Forster was a project manager in the aerospace and defense industry.