Judge Elaine D. Kaplan was appointed Judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims on November 1, 2013. Judge Kaplan joined the court after serving as the Acting Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Prior to being designated Acting Director in April 2013, she had served as OPM's General Counsel, a position to which she was appointed in 2009.
Judge Kaplan began her legal career in the Solicitor's Office of the U.S. Department of Labor, first in the Employee Benefits Division and then in the Division of Special Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation. Between 1984 and 1998, she litigated and supervised the litigation of cases at all levels of the federal court system as an attorney at the National Treasury Employees Union, an organization to which she returned in 2004 as Senior Deputy General Counsel.
In 1998, Judge Kaplan was nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate to serve a five-year term as the head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, an independent agency whose mission is to protect the merit-based civil service.
From 2003 to 2004, Judge Kaplan was "of counsel" to Bernabei and Katz, a nationally recognized plaintiff's side employment law and civil rights firm.
Judge Kaplan has appeared frequently at national and international conferences to speak on issues related to the merit-based civil service and 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.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Judge Kaplan earned a J.D., cum laude, from Georgetown University in 1979, and a bachelor's degree in history from the State University of New York in Binghamton in 1976.