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TOP 100 WOMEN LITIGATORS IN 2010-Katherine M. Forster
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Katherine M. Forster
Los Angeles
Law Firm: Munger, Tolles & Olson
Practice Area: Labor and employment
Years in Practice: 9
Law School: USC Gould School of Law

Last Year, Katherine Forster successfully argued to dismiss a putative class action against 99 Cents Only Stores over claims that the discount retailer’s cashiers were not provided with suitable seats in violation of the labor code.  Although the plaintiffs sued several other retail chains alleging the same claims, Forster’s client was the only one to win.  Forster also negotiated settlements in two nationwide class actions against a financial services firms for alleged unpaid overtime and a major beverage distributor for off-the-clock work.  In both cases, the plaintiffs agreed to settle individual claims instead of bringing a collective action.  In January, a court preliminarily approved a settlement agreement Forster helped negotiate on behalf of NBC Universal in a class action involving claims by screenwriters that major networks, studios and talent agencies discriminated against employees because of their age.  She is also representing Merrill Lynch in several class action lawsuits brought by stock brokers claiming they were improperly paid, and is defending Southern California Edison in wage and hour class action.  New to her plate are work with Wachovia Corp. on class actions involving overtime pay and missed meal and rest periods, and Verizon Wireless in a single plaintiff race and gender discrimination and retaliation case.

Pretrial Ritual: Other than making sure her haircut, nails and suits are in good shape, Forster insists she is not a creature of habit.

Biggest Career Break: Getting the chance to play a key role in two major cases as a junior associate at Munger: Reynolds v. Bement, in which the states high court held that corporate officers may not be held personally liable for wage claims by corporate employees; and developing case strategy in a wage and hour class action against 99 Cents Only Stores.