Carolyn Lerner was appointed Chief Circuit Mediator for the U.S. Courts of the D.C. Circuit in September 2017. Prior to her selection, she headed the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) from 2011 until her term ended in 2017. Ms. Lerner was unanimously confirmed by the senate to head OSC, an independent executive branch agency that protects whistleblowers and provides oversight of federal agencies to curb government waste, fraud and abuse. OSC also enforces the Hatch Act, as well as the laws prohibiting employment discrimination, nepotism, and discrimination on the basis of military service. Ms. Lerner frequently testified before congress on oversight investigations and good government initiatives.

Ms. Lerner is an adjunct professor of mediation at Georgetown University Law School, and previously taught at George Washington University Law School. During her term as Special Counsel, Ms. Lerner established a mediation program that has been recognized as “the gold standard” for alternative dispute resolution programs in the federal government. She has created alternative dispute resolution programs and trained mediators for government agencies and non-profits. Ms. Lerner mediated cases for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the D.C. Human Relations Commission.

Ms. Lerner was a founding partner of the civil rights and employment law firm Heller, Huron, Chertkof, Lerner, Simon & Salzman where she practiced from 1997 to 2011. While in private practice, Ms. Lerner served as a special master for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in a sexual harassment and retaliation class action against the D.C. Department of Corrections.

Ms. Lerner earned her Bachelor’s degree from the Honors College at the University of Michigan and her J.D. from New York University Law School, where she was a Root-Tilden public interest scholar. After law school, Ms. Lerner clerked for Chief Judge Julian Cook, Jr., of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.