Felicia medina

Medina Portrait.jpg

Felicia Medina is a Founding Partner of Medina Orthwein LLP, a public interest law firm specializing in employment and civil rights individual and class action cases.  Under her leadership, the firm has set itself apart in terms of the expertise and successes it has amassed litigating against major corporations in the equal pay, Title IX, discrimination, harassment, and whistleblower contexts. 

Felicia has led some of the country’s most significant employment cases relating to race, gender, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation, as well as wage and hour collectives. She recently secured a $19.5 million pre-suit settlement against Qualcomm, Inc. on behalf of female tech employees in a pay and promotion class action (Pan et al. v. Qualcomm), and successfully resolved a gender discrimination and harassment lawsuit on behalf of a Hollywood executive against Viacom, Inc. and Black Entertainment Television (Mashariki v. Viacom, BET).

Medina has successfully represented clients from all walks of life, including C-Suite executives, working mothers and parents, and sales and service employees with discrimination, harassment, retaliation, whistleblower, and wrongful termination claims.  She regularly consults with clients on an individual and confidential basis.  Her expertise extends to a variety of industries, including entertainment, legal services,  pharmaceuticals, bio-tech, finance, manufacturing, and retail.  She has worked on over twenty five class actions and has secured millions of dollars in settlements, damages, and programmatic relief measures for her clients.

In her early years as a plaintiff lawyer, Felicia quickly stood out as top in the field by helping secure the largest employment gender discrimination verdict in U.S. history in Velez v. Novartis. The presiding federal judge described the case as having been “brilliantly tried.” After the seven-week trial and historic $250 million verdict, Felicia and her prior firm obtained a court-approved settlement of $175 million on behalf of 6,000 women with pay, promotion, and caregiver claims.

After the Novartis trial, Felicia quickly rose through the ranks from Associate to Managing Partner in Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP’s San Francisco office, an office she opened, becoming one of the few queer women of color in a leadership position in a national law firm. After becoming a partner, Felicia secured an $8.2 million gender discrimination class action settlement with Daiichi Sankyo, the first case to be conditionally certified under the Equal Pay Act in the Ninth Circuit and settled several, significant multi-party and individual pre-suit matters.

Felicia maintains a robust appellate practice. In Sandquist v. Lebo Automotive et al., Felicia represented a former Sales Manager in a class action alleging rampant race discrimination at John Elway’s Manhattan Beach Toyota. However, before the Court addressed Mr. Sandquist’s claims, the litigation became focused on the interpretation of the company’s arbitration agreement. In 2014, Felicia won a reversal of the trial court’s 2012 order dismissing Sandquist’s class claims with prejudice. Defendants appealed and in July 2016, the Supreme Court of California sided with Felicia’s team after oral arguments were presented to the Supreme Court of California. In 2010, Medina also successfully argued a sixth circuit appeal in Barrett v. Whirlpool, a race harassment case.

Medina regularly speaks on impact litigation strategy, race and gender justice, sexual harassment, and equal pay issues. She has been honored as a 2018 San Francisco Business Times OUTstanding Voices recipient, 2017 Daily Journal Leading Labor and Employment Attorneys in California; a 2016 National LGBT Bar Association – Best LGBT Lawyer Under 40; a 2015 National Diversity Council Most Powerful/Influential Woman; and a Law360 2014 Minority Power Broker.  

She is currently the Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the National Center of Lesbian Rights (NLCR) and on the boards of FAIR, an organization that awards scholarships to diverse law students seeking to do employment law, and BALIF, the Bay Area’s LGBTQI bar association. 

Prior to entering plaintiff side work, Medina graduated from Yale Law School in 2006 and then joined Morrison & Foerster LLP.  She can be reached at fmedina@medinaorthwein.com.


  • 2018 San Francisco Business Times OUTstanding Voices Award Recipient

  • 2018 Minority Bar Coalition Unity Award Recipient

  • 2017 Daily Journal Leading Labor and Employment Attorneys in California

  • 2016 National LGBT Bar Association “Best LGBT Lawyer Under 40”

  • 2016 SuperLawyers Northern California “Rising Star”

  • 2015 National Diversity Council “Most Powerful and Influential Woman”

  • 2015 Law360 “Rising Star”

  • 2014 Law360 “Minority Power Broker”

Volunteer Work

  • Co-Chair, National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)

  • Prior Board Member, Bar Association of San Francisco’s Justice and Diversity Center (JDC)

  • Prior Board Member, Legal Aid at Work

  • Board Member, Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF), the nation's oldest and largest association of LGBT professionals in law.