OAKLAND, Calif., May 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorneys Felicia Medina and Jennifer Orthwein today announced the opening of Medina Orthwein LLP, a civil rights and public interest law firm, at 1322 Webster Street, Suite 200, Oakland, CA. (www.medinaorthwein.com).
"Medina Orthwein's mission is to expose systems that foster cultures of discrimination, exploitation and harm and hold them accountable," said Medina. "We will leverage our experience in individual and class action litigation to fight employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and wage and hour violations, as well as combat civil rights violations within the criminal justice system. An area that I have long desired to take on more prominently in my legal career."
Medina is a fierce advocate for social justice who has led some of the country's most significant class action and individual employment cases relating to race, gender, sexual orientation, and other protected classifications. Most recently, she helped close a one of a kind pre-suit gender discrimination class action settlement against Qualcomm that is pending approval in federal court. She has successfully represented clients from all walks of life, including service employees, working mothers, C-Suite executives, and sales employees with wage and hour, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, whistleblower and wrongful termination claims.
Her experience extends to a variety of industries, including STEM, big law, pharmaceuticals, finance, defense, manufacturing, retail, entertainment and professional services. She has worked on more than 20 class actions and has secured millions of dollars in damages and programmatic relief measures for her clients via pre-suit negotiations and litigation.
Using an intersectional approach to practice, Medina and Orthwein have combined their extensive experience defending targeted and marginalized individuals and groups who may identify with more than one protected classification. Medina Orthwein LLP will focus on enforcing and expanding protections for those targeted and marginalized by corporations and government entities. The firm is 100% queer woman owned.
"The ultimate aim of our firm is to dismantle the systems sustained by racial and gender injustice by ensuring the voices and rights of those most impacted by inequity are heard and able to fight power with power," said Orthwein. "We envision having a significant impact on the lives of people who may not have access to the effective legal representation required to prevail in pre-suit negotiations and in the courts."
Orthwein transitioned from a career as a forensic psychologist to focus on legal and policy issues related to transgender and gender variant individuals, particularly those impacted by the criminal justice system. She helped launch and served as pro bono senior counsel for the Detention Project at the Transgender Law Center, as well as assisted in representing California prisoners in Quine and Norsworthy, whose cases were the impetus for access to gender-affirming surgery and expression for transgender and gender variant individuals in California prisons.
She previously maintained a successful legal and psychological consulting practice providing expert witness services to attorneys, with a focus on assisting attorneys representing transgender people in the criminal justice system and prison. She has co-authored publications related to practitioner liability in cases of suicide in the community and in prison, and gender bias in the California criminal justice system.
Orthwein is also a co-principal investigator for the Transgender Research Consortium, which aims to provide empirical evidence on the impact of discrimination on transgender people's physical and mental health and to use this data to provide recommendations to inform public policy, education, training, and clinical practice.
Prior to forming Medina Orthwein, Medina was the Managing Partner of the San Francisco office of Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP – making her one of the few queer women of color to hold a leadership position in a national law firm. Before that, she was an Associate at Morrison & Foerster, LLP. In 2015, Medina was named the "Most Powerful and Influential Woman" by the National Diversity Council, and as a "Rising Star" by Law360. In 2014, Law360 honored her as a "Minority Power Broker." She graduated from Yale Law School in 2006.
Orthwein received a J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Palo Alto University. She served as a Law Clerk at the National Center for Lesbian Rights during law school and subsequently completed her training and began a career as a psychologist working in the California correctional system. She did her pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the California Correctional Medical Facility (CMF).
Both Medina and Orthwein are both board members of the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, the Bay Area's LGBT lawyers' association. Orthwein is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Palo Alto University. Medina also serves on the Boards of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Bar Association of San Francisco's Justice and Diversity Center, and Legal Aid at Work.
SOURCE Medina Orthwein LLP