Issued January 23, 2017
WASHINGTON—SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry announced Monday that the union’s current Deputy General Counsel Nicole G. Berner has been named General Counsel, effective Feb. 1. She succeeds current General Counsel Judy Scott, who is retiring from the union after serving in that role since 1997.
“Nicole Berner has been a valuable advocate for the rights of working Americans throughout her decade-long tenure at SEIU,” said Henry. “She has a sharp legal mind, and is unfailingly dedicated to ensuring all working families have the opportunity to get ahead and join together in strong organizations to have a say at work and in their communities. Nicole is already a valued leader in the SEIU legal department and there’s no one better to step into this role at such a crucial time for our nation.
“On behalf of SEIU’s two million members, I want to thank Judy Scott for her lifelong dedication to working people,” Henry continued. “She has been a trusted advisor and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to call her a colleague. I know Nicole will build, and expand, on the foundation she has laid down.” Scott will remain a partner with the law firm of James & Hoffman.
Since joining SEIU’s legal department in 2006, Berner has represented the union in a broad range of legal matters, including healthcare, wages for fast-food workers, the right to vote and marriage equality. Before coming to SEIU, she served as staff attorney for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and an associate at the Washington, D.C. office of Jenner & Block. Berner clerked for the distinguished Honorable Judge Betty Fletcher on the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and Chief Judge Thelton Henderson of the Northern District of California. Berner received her law degree from the University of California Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law in 1996 where she concurrently completed a Master’s Degree in Public Policy at Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy. She lives in Takoma Park, Md. with her wife and their three sons.