People: Kate L. Birenbaum, Senior Counsel

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Kate L. Birenbaum

Senior Counsel

Houston
Direct: (713) 225-2343
Fax: (713) 225-2340
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In her practice Ms. Birenbaum advises clients on employment law matters including discrimination, harassment, retaliation and whistleblower claims, restrictive covenants, and wage and hour issues, and represents them in administrative matters as well as federal and state court litigation and arbitration.  She also represents clients in complex litigation matters, and has been involved in the defense of class actions brought under Title VII, as well as collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Ms. Birenbaum is Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  In 2012-2016 Texas Monthly Magazine recognized Ms. Birenbaum as a "Super Lawyer" in the area of "Employment Litigation: Defense."
 
In 2009, Ms. Birenbaum co-first chaired two employment jury trials, a week-long state court trial involving claims of trade secret theft, and a week-long federal district court trial involving claims of race discrimination and retaliation.  In 2012, Ms. Birenbaum co-first-chaired a two day arbitration involving an alleged breach of an employment agreement.  In 2016, Ms. Birenbaum co-first-chaired a four day jury trial in federal court involving claims of race and gender discrimination and retaliation.
 
Prior to joining Seyfarth, Ms. Birenbaum practiced almost exclusively in the employment arena, representing individuals under various federal and state employment and labor laws.  Ms. Birenbaum also worked as a consultant to certain underwriters for Lloyd’s of London, assessing intellectual property risk. 
In her practice Ms. Birenbaum advises clients on employment law matters including discrimination, harassment, retaliation and whistleblower claims, restrictive covenants, and wage and hour issues, and represents them in administrative matters as well as federal and state court litigation and arbitration.  She also represents clients in complex litigation matters, and has been involved in the defense of class actions brought under Title VII, as well as collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Ms. Birenbaum is Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  In 2012-2016 Texas Monthly Magazine recognized Ms. Birenbaum as a "Super Lawyer" in the area of "Employment Litigation: Defense."
 
In 2009, Ms. Birenbaum co-first chaired two employment jury trials, a week-long state court trial involving claims of trade secret theft, and a week-long federal district court trial involving claims of race discrimination and retaliation.  In 2012, Ms. Birenbaum co-first-chaired a two day arbitration involving an alleged breach of an employment agreement.  In 2016, Ms. Birenbaum co-first-chaired a four day jury trial in federal court involving claims of race and gender discrimination and retaliation.
 
Prior to joining Seyfarth, Ms. Birenbaum practiced almost exclusively in the employment arena, representing individuals under various federal and state employment and labor laws.  Ms. Birenbaum also worked as a consultant to certain underwriters for Lloyd’s of London, assessing intellectual property risk. 

Education

  • J.D., University of Houston Law Center (1993)
  • B.A., Smith College (1990)
  • Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt

Admissions

  • Texas

Courts

  • U.S. District Court for the Southern, Western, Northern, and Eastern Districts of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals of the Fifth Circuit

Representative Engagements

  • Obtained complete defense verdict in race and gender discrimination jury trial on behalf of manufacturer in federal court (2016)
  • Obtained summary judgment in defamation and discrimination case on behalf of financial institution in state court  (2016)
  • Conducted extensive investigation into employee complaints, including whistleblower complaints, on behalf of medical products company (2015)
  • Obtained summary judgment in race discrimination and retaliation case on behalf of national manufacturer in federal court (2014)
  • Obtained summary judgment in race discrimination and retaliation case on behalf of national retailer in federal court (2014)
  • Negotiated favorable resolution following Department of Labor investigation regarding potential overtime violations for wholesaler (2013)
  • Negotiated favorable resolution in FINRA arbitration involving claims of defamation and other state law torts on behalf of financial institution (2013)
  • Obtained summary judgment in national origin and race discrimination case on behalf of financial institution in federal court (2012)
  • Obtained summary judgment in disability discrimination case on behalf of national manufacturer in federal court (2010)
  • Successfully overturned plaintiff’s verdict in race discrimination and retaliation case against national correctional facility company, following four day jury trial in federal court (2009)
  • Negotiated favorable result in post-trial mediation after co-first chairing three day federal court jury trial representing prisoner pro bono in civil rights matter (2009)
  • Achieved favorable verdict in trade secret theft case representing national equipment rental company, after four day jury trial in state court (2009) 
  • Obtained summary judgment in age discrimination case on behalf of national air-conditioning and heating company in federal court (2008)
  • Obtained judgment including permanent injunction granted on behalf of financial institution in tortious interference with contract claim in state court (2008)
  • Successfully negotiated resolution of Title VII retaliation claims on behalf of national hotel chain (2008)
  • Successfully defeated attempt by plaintiff to avoid settlement agreement following resolution of race discrimination claim in federal court (2008)
  • Obtained judgment including permanent injunction on behalf of financial institution in tortious interference with contract claim in federal court (2007)
  • Received summary judgment in putative class action alleging deceptive trade practices claims against national retailer (2007)

Presentations

  • “Employment Law Update,” Summer Conference, Texas Higher Education Human Resource Association, San Antonio, Texas (June 14, 2016)
  • "Employment Law Traps For The Unwary: Agencies Are Getting Busy," "Back to School" CLE Symposium, Houston Chapter of the American Corporate Counsel Association, Houston, Texas (August 21, 2014)
  • "Ethics @ Work CLE and Holiday Happy Hour at The Tasting Room," Seyfarth Shaw Happy Hour, Houston, Texas (December 5, 2013)
  • "Wage/Hour Compliance:  Preventative Measures and Best Practices,” Houston Chapter of the American Corporate Counsel Association, Houston, Texas (September 11, 2012)
  • "Looking Back and Looking Forward: 2011 Roundup and 2012 Predictions for Employers," Seyfarth Shaw Breakfast Briefing, Houston, Texas (April 11, 2012)
  • “The Top 10 Mistakes That Employers Make,” Houston Ship Channel – Human Resources Group, Houston, Texas (September 15, 2011)
  • “Large Scale Employment Litigation: the EEOC’s Systemic Discrimination Initiative and Employment Class Actions,” Houston Chapter of the American Corporate Counsel Association, Houston, Texas (April 12, 2011)
  • "An Employer’s Guide To Healthcare Reform," Houston Chapter of the Labor & Employment Committee of the American Corporate Counsel Association, Houston, Texas (May 6, 2010)
  • "Efforts by the Obama Administration Affecting Employment Law," Houston Chapter of the Labor & Employment Committee of the American Corporate Counsel Association, Houston, Texas (November 19, 2009)
  • "The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009," Houston Chapter of the Labor & Employment Committee of the American Corporate Counsel Association, Houston, Texas (May 14, 2009)
  • “Changes to the Family Medical Leave Act in 2009,” Seyfarth Shaw Breakfast Briefing, Houston, Texas (November 18, 2008)
  • “Ten Things Every Lawyer Should Know About Employment Law,” Houston Bar Association, Houston, Texas (September 29, 2006)
  • “Steering Clear of Common Costly Mistakes Made When Conducting Workplace Investigations,” Council on Education in Management, Houston, Texas (September 7, 2006)
  • “Employee Handbooks and Document Retention,” Seyfarth Shaw Compliance Boot Camp, Houston, Texas (August 29, 2006)
  •  “Preventing Mismanagement and Improper Denial of Intermittent and Reduced Schedule Leave,” Texas FMLA Update 2005 (January 25, 2005)

Publications

Recognition

  • In 2009, Ms. Birenbaum and her colleagues received the Seyfarth Shaw Pro Bono Team Award.  She assisted in the representation of a Texas prisoner alleging violations of his civil rights, and co-first chaired a three-day trial in federal district court on his behalf.  She also received an Honorable Mention for Seyfarth Shaw Pro Bono Associate of the Year for her work in this matter
  • In 2012-2016 Texas Monthly Magazine recognized Ms. Birenbaum as a "Super Lawyer" in the area of "Employment Litigation: Defense."

 

Unless otherwise indicated, this attorney is not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.