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 nominated by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the senate to head OSC, an independent executive branch agency charged with enforcing the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Hatch Act, the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Act (USERRA) and 5 CFR 2302, which protects federal employees from adverse employment actions, including retaliation for whistleblowing, sexual orientation discrimination and nepotism.

During her term as Special Counsel, Ms. Lerner established a mediation program that has been referred to as “the gold standard” for alternative dispute resolution programs in the federal government. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Lerner taught mediation as an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University Law School. She also created alternative dispute resolution programs and trained mediators for government agencies and non-profits, and mediated cases for the U.S. District Court, 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. She practiced there from 1997 to 2011. While in private practice, Ms. Lerner served as a special master for the U.S. District Court from 2005 to 2007.

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.