Elaine Kaplan was appointed as Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on April 15, 2013. She served as OPM's General Counsel from March 17, 2009 to April 14, 2013, before taking over from then-Director John Berry at the end of his four-year term. As General Counsel, Kaplan has provided legal and policy advice regarding all aspects of Federal personnel management to Director Berry and to officials across the Executive Branch.
Kaplan began her legal career in the Solicitor's Office of the U.S. Department of Labor, first in the Employee Benefits Division, and later in the Division of Special Appellate and Supreme Court litigation. Most recently, she served as Senior Deputy General Counsel for the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents the interests of more than 150,000 Federal employees nationwide. In this position and during her initial tenure with NTEU from 1984 to 1998, she litigated and supervised the litigation of cases at all levels of the Federal court system.
In 1998, Kaplan was appointed by President Bill Clinton and unanimously confirmed by the Senate to serve as the head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, an independent agency whose mission is to protect the merit-based Federal Service by, among other things, investigating and prosecuting complaints alleging the commission of prohibited personnel practices, including whistleblower reprisal. After completing a successful five-year term at OSC in 2003, she became "of counsel" to Bernabei and Katz, a nationally recognized plaintiff's side employment law and civil rights firm. Kaplan re-joined NTEU in 2004.
Kaplan has appeared frequently at national and international conferences to speak on issues related to the merit-based Federal Service and on whistleblower protection; she has authored several articles on these and related subjects. Between 2004 and 2011, she was a member of the adjunct faculty of American University's School of Public Administration, teaching graduate-level classes covering legal issues that arise in the context of public administration, with an emphasis on constitutional law. She also served on President Barack Obama's transition team as an agency review team leader in the Government Operations Group.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Kaplan earned a J.D., Cum Laude, from Georgetown University Law Center in 1979. She received a bachelor's degree in History from the State University of New York in Binghamton in 1976.