Carolyn Lerner

Special Counsel

The Honorable Carolyn N. Lerner heads the United States Office of Special Counsel. Her five-year term began in June 2011. Prior to her appointment as Special Counsel, Ms. Lerner was a partner in the Washington, D.C., civil rights and employment law firm Heller, Huron, Chertkof, Lerner, Simon & Salzman, where she represented individuals in discrimination and employment matters, as well as non-profit organizations on a wide variety of issues. She previously served as the federal court appointed monitor of the consent decree in Neal v. D.C. Department of Corrections, a sexual harassment and retaliation class action.


Before to becoming Special Counsel, Ms. Lerner taught mediation as an adjunct professor at George Washington University School of Law, and was mediator for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and the D.C. Office of Human Rights. When she was in private practice, Ms. Lerner was featured in Best Lawyers in America, with a specialty of civil rights law, and was one of Washingtonian magazine’s top employment lawyers.


Ms. Lerner earned her undergraduate degree from the honors program at the University of Michigan with high distinction and was selected to be a Truman Scholar. She earned her law degree from New York University (NYU) School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Snow public interest scholar. After law school, she served for two years as a law clerk to the Honorable Julian Abele Cook, Jr., Chief U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan.