The National Labor Relations Board today announced the appointment of six new Administrative Law Judges (ALJs): Lisa Friedheim-Weis, Sarah Karpinen, Susannah Merritt, Renée McKinney, Gladys Rebekah Ramirez, and Michael Silverstein. The new judges were chosen after a rigorous vetting process that saw over 200 applicants.

Judge Lisa Friedheim-Weis is currently a field attorney for Region 13-Chicago, where she has worked for the majority of the past 26 years, leaving briefly to work at a law firm before returning to the Board. Judge Friedheim-Weis received her bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois, where she graduated cum laude.

Judge Sarah Karpinen returns to the Board after most recently being an Associate General Counsel for the United Auto Workers in Detroit. Previously, she worked as a Trial Attorney in Region 7-Detroit for 13 years. In the interim, Judge Karpinen served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan and as an attorney in the U.S. Office of Special Counsel in its Midwest Field Office. Judge Karpinen received her bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College, her master’s degree in labor studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and her Juris Doctor from Wayne State University Law School, where she was the editor-in-chief of the Wayne Law Review.

Judge Susannah Merritt returns to the Board after spending the last eight years as an Administrative Law Judge for the Social Security Administration in Philadelphia. Previously she worked for the Board, first in its Office of Representation Appeals, and then as a Trial Attorney in Region 19-Seattle. Judge Merritt received her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College, her master’s degree from the University of Virginia, and her Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University.

Judge Renée McKinney is currently the Regional Attorney in Region 6-Pittsburgh. She has worked at the Board for the past 15 years, working in various Agency departments since she was first hired as an Honors Attorney in the Office of the General Counsel. She has also served as a Trial Attorney in Region 13-Chicago and Region 7-Detroit, and was promoted to Supervisory Attorney in Region 6 before her current appointment. Judge McKinney received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan and her Juris Doctor degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Judge Gladys Rebekah Ramirez returns to the Board after working in the private sector for five years, most recently as a senior labor and employment counsel for a Fortune 100 corporation in Chicago, and before that, practicing labor and employment law with an AM Law 100 law firm in Indianapolis. Previously, Judge Ramirez spent 17 years as trial counsel for the Board in Region 25-Indianapolis. Judge Ramirez received her bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from the University of Puerto Rico, her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Puerto Rico law school and her L.L.M. from Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

Judge Michael Silverstein is currently a Field Attorney for Region 22-Newark. Judge Silverstein has worked for the Board for 20 years after starting as a Field Attorney in Region 7-Detroit and then transferring to Region 22-Newark where he has served for the past 14 years. Judge Silverstein received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and his Juris Doctor degree from Boston University.

These hires will bring the total number of Agency ALJs to 36. As the Agency has experienced a significant increase in the number of unfair labor practice cases in the last year, it has seen a corresponding increase in the number of cases waiting for trial before an ALJ. The addition of new judges to the Division of Judges will help alleviate backlog and expedite consideration of unfair labor practice cases.

“We are thrilled to welcome these much needed and highly qualified new judges to the Division of Judges,” said Board Chairman Lauren McFerran. “As unfair labor practice charges continue to increase, we are thankful for the ability to hire additional judges this year and are grateful for their service to the Agency and this country.”

“Administrative Law Judges serve a crucial role at the Agency, and their importance has only been underscored as we see a sharp increase in cases going to hearing,” said Chief Administrative Law Judge Robert A. Giannasi. “We’re looking forward to having the new judges join the Division of Judges, as they have shown a dedication to effectuating the National Labor Relations Act and will continue to uphold the mission the Act in their new roles.”

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