Brian L. Lerner

Brian L. Lerner
Chair, Labor & Employment

Brian L. Lerner is a Board Certified Specialist in Labor and Employment Law, one of only approximately 200 certified by The Florida Bar. Brian has litigated cases at all stages and in all types of forums—including administrative proceedings before government agencies, injunction hearings, bench trials and jury trials in state and federal courts, and final arbitration hearings.

Brian has litigated cases in a number of jurisdictions beyond Florida, including California, Colorado, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and in London, Vienna, Buenos Aires, and Tokyo. Brian strives to implement strategies designed to achieve the client’s desired results—whether early resolution, aggressive litigation, or resolution by trial. Brian is rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating.

Brian’s employment litigation experience includes representing individuals and employers in investigating, prosecuting, and defending the following:

  • EEOC charges of discrimination;

  • discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and whistleblower claims;

  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claims;

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claims;

  • Collective and class actions brought for wage and overtime violations under local, state, and federal laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA);

  • Contract disputes including claims for breaches of employment agreements, severance agreements, change of control agreements, non-compete agreements, non-solicitation agreements, and confidentiality and trade secret agreements.

Brian also has counseled individuals and employers regarding and negotiated on their behalf employment agreements, severance agreements, and other contractual arrangements. Brian has drafted and reviewed employee handbooks, conducted audits of company employment practices and policies, consulted on workforce reductions, conducted internal investigations for companies and as a third-party neutral investigator, provided training to executives, managers, and other employees in regard to employment practices, equal employment opportunity, and diversity, and day-to-day counseling on workplace issues.

Brian has been quoted in major publications such as
the Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun Sentinel, South Florida Business Journal, and Daily Business Review, the National Law Journal, and the Legal Times on various legal topics. He also is a frequent lecturer and author.




Representative Experience

  • Represented client in a case involving claims of gender identity (transgender) discrimination and harassment, retaliation, and breach of contract. Successfully obtained summary judgment as to the discrimination, harassment, and breach of contract claims and then successfully obtained directed verdict on the retaliation claim at trial in what may be considered one of the first trials in Florida on transgender employment issues.

  • Represented client in connection with allegations of independent contractor misclassification in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, successfully obtaining partial summary judgment and then successfully obtaining a jury verdict after a seven-day federal jury trial.

  • Represented pro bono client in a five-day federal jury trial involving claims of disability discrimination and retaliation against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The jury awarded significant monetary damages to the pro bono client and the court awarded permanent injunctive relief for the pro bono client. The case was selected by the Daily Business Review as its “Most Effective Lawyers Pro Bono Case of the Year”.

  • Represented national mortgage lending institution, three affiliates, and three high-level executives in obtaining partial summary judgment and then an arbitration defense award after a five-day AAA domestic arbitration final hearing in a matter alleging sexual harassment, retaliation, breach of contract, defamation, negligence, and tortious interference.

  • Represented international financial institution in a two-week state court bench trial where the plaintiff, a former officer of the institution, sought statutory indemnification for the alleged millions of dollars incurred in defending herself against criminal charges of money laundering.

  • Represented client in an eight-day state court jury trial involving claims of sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of the Florida Civil Rights Act (Florida’s equivalent to Title VII).

Honors & Recognitions

  • Board Certified Specialist, Labor and Employment Law, THE FLORIDA BAR


  • Band 3, Labor and Employment: Florida, CHAMBERS USA, 2010-2021

  • Top Lawyer, FLORIDA SUPER LAWYERS, 2015-2021

  • Florida Legal Elite, Labor and Employment, FLORIDA TREND, 2014-2020

  • Top Lawyer, Labor and Employment, SOUTH FLORIDA LEGAL GUIDE, 2014-2020

  • South Florida Top Rated Lawyers, LEGAL LEADERS, 2019

  • Abogados Destacados del Sur de la Florida – Laboral y Empleo, REVISTAS ABOGADOS, 2013

  • Rising Star, FLORIDA SUPER LAWYERS, 2009

  • Top Up and Comer, SOUTH FLORIDA LEGAL GUIDE, 2009-12

  • Florida Legal Elite Up and Comer, FLORIDA TREND, 2008

  • Lawyer of the Month, LAWYERS TO THE RESCUE, June 2010

  • Most Effective Lawyers, Pro Bono Case of the Year, DAILY BUSINESS REVIEW, 2007


Professional & Community Activities

  • The Florida Bar

    • Executive Council Member, Labor and Employment Section

      • Volunteer of the Year, 2017, 2018, and 2019​

    • Co-Chair, Website Subcommittee, Labor and Employment Section

    • Co-Chair, Social Media/Advertising Subcommittee, Labor and Employment Section

    • Former Chair, Grievance Committee

  • Federal Bar Association

    • Broward County Chapter, Past President

    • Broward County Chapter, Board of Directors Member

    • Broward County Chapter, Former Chair, Pro Bono Committee

    • Broward County Chapter, Former Chair, Media Relations/Social Media Committee

  • Legal Aid Service of Broward County

    • Past Secretary

    • Former Member, Board of Directors

  • ​Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida

    • Past Secretary

    • Former Member, Board of Directors


    • Labor & Employment PAC

      • PAC Co-Chair

      • Former Co-Chair, PAC Events Subcommittee

    • Co-Chair, Driving Diversity & Leadership Conference, 2020​

  • Broward County Bar Association

    • Co-Chair, Employment & Labor Law Section

  • Human Resource Association of Broward County

    • Former Director, Legislative Affairs​

  • Young President’s Club, Mount Sinai Medical Center Foundation, Member


  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) Trial Skills Programs, Florida Regional Trial Skills Program, 2012-16


  • University of Miami School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude

  • University of Michigan, B.A., with distinction

Bar Admissions


  • All Florida state courts

  • District of Columbia

  • United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

  • United States District Court, Southern, Middle and Northern Districts of Florida

Professional Background

  • Kim Vaughan Lerner LLP, Chair, Labor and Employment

  • Hogan & Hartson LLP (now Hogan Lovells US LLP), Partner

  • Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Associate

  • Steel Hector & Davis LLP (now Squire Patton Boggs), Associate

Related Articles & Speeches

  • Contributing Author, “Midwinter Meeting Report of the Subcommittee on the Family and Medical Leave Act,” American Bar Association, 2004-2020

  • Chapter Editor, “Family and Medical Leave Act, Second Edition,” American Bar Association, Bloomberg BNA Books, 2017

  • Chapter Editor, “Family and Medical Leave Act, 2015 Cumulative Supplement, American Bar Association, Bloomberg BNA Books

  • Contributing Author, “The Family and Medical Leave Act,” Treatise Cumulative Supplements, American Bar Association, BNA Books, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2013

  • Contributing Author, “Business Torts: A Fifty-State Guide,” 2008, 2009, and 2010 Editions, Wolters Kluwer Law & Business, Aspen Publishers, Contributing Author, 2008-10

  • Speaker, "Chamber Chat Series - Lunch with Lawyers", Broward County Black Chamber of Commerce", August 11, 2020

  • Interview, "Employment Attorney: Offensive Social Media Posts Can Get You Fired", NBC6 South Florida, June 5, 2020

  • Moderator, "The 2020 Election: The Workplace Issues Shaping The Election And The Future For Employers", Driving Diversity & Leadership Conference, National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF), February 24, 2020

  • Panelist, “Federal Practice Preview Series: Labor & Employment,” NSU Shepard Broad College of Law, November 8, 2019

  • Author/Speaker, "Common Law Employment Claims" 19th Labor and Employment Law Annual Update and Certification Review, January 17, 2019

  • Author/Speaker, “NAMWOLF, M.E.: Autopsies of Failed Investigations,” 2018 Annual Meeting, National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF), September 27, 2018

  • Author/Speaker, “You Don’t Have To Be Bill Gates To Use Technology In A Case,” “Effectively Litigating Employment Cases From Inception Through Trial,” The Florida Bar Labor & Employment Law Section, September 14, 2018

  • Author, “Common Law Employment Claims” 18th Labor and Employment Law Annual Update and Certification Review, January 18, 2018

  • Program Co-Chair, “Effectively Litigating Employment Cases From Inception Through Trial,” The Florida Bar Labor & Employment Law Section, August 18, 2017

  • Moderator, “6th Annual Legal Seminar,” Human Resource Association of Broward County, May 10, 2017

  • Speaker, “FLSA and Wage Claims,” Basic Labor and Employment 2017, The Florida Bar, April 28, 2017

  • Moderator, “Labor & Employment Practice Area Committee CLE: Headline News,” 2017 Business Meeting, National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF), February 13, 2017

  • “5 Things Restaurants Need To Know About New Overtime Laws,” Insureon, Food for Thought Blog, June 9, 2016

  • Author, “New Labor Department Overtime Rules to Have Widespread Impact,” Daily Business Review, May 19, 2016

  • Speaker, “The Sixth Sense: Six Common Scenarios and How to Analyze Them Without Calling a Lawyer,” HRABC’s 5th Annual Legal Seminar, Human Resources Association of Broward County, May 6, 2016

  • Radio Guest, “Labor & Employment Law: Employer Rights,” The Legal News & Review, WBZT 1230 AM, December 18, 2015

  • “Dade Medical College hit with class action lawsuit by former employees after sudden closure,” South Florida Business Journal, November 4, 2015

  • Speaker, “Executive H.R. Panel – Driving Change and Innovation While Boosting Team Engagement,” The South Florida Executive Roundtable, October 7, 2015

  • Opening Statement/Closing Argument, “To Kill or Not to Kill – The Trial Lawyer,” 2015 Annual Meeting, National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF), September 17, 2015

  • Panelist, “HR Matters & Insights – HR, Labor & Employment and the Bottom Line,” The South Florida Association for Financial Professionals, May 20, 2015

  • “Foreclosure Firm Butler & Hosch Shuts Down,” Daily Business Review, May 18, 2015

  • “Kim Vaughan Lerner LLP Addresses the Pitfalls of Using Independent Contractors in Lieu of Employees,” NALA, January 6, 2015

  • Panelist, “2013 Grievance Committee Institute,” The Florida Bar, May 23, 2013

  • Panelist, “Diversity Week: Employment Discrimination,” University of Miami School of Law, January 31, 2013

  • Speaker, “The Department of Labor’s Growing Interest in Targeting YOU for FLSA Violations,” Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk + The Human Equation, June 16, 2010

  • Speaker, “Practical and Legal Considerations When Implementing Recession-Based Employment Decisions,” Practising Law Institute, April 8, 2010

  • “Risque Business: Sexual Harassment Via Text, E-mail Hitting Workplace,” South Florida Sun-Sentinel, August 20, 2009

  • “Personal Devices Pose New Sexual Harassment Issues At Work,” South Florida Sun-Sentinel, reprinted in the Orlando Sentinel (08.19.2009), the Miami Herald (08.25.2009), the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (08.30.2009), and the Columbus Dispatch (10.25.2009)

  • “Double-edged Axe: As Employers Lay Off Workers En Masse, The Newly Unemployed Are Turning Around And Suing Them,” Daily Business Review, August 4, 2008

  • “Balancing Act: Rules Could Change For Taking Time Off,” Miami Herald, March 12, 2008

  • Author, “Family Leave Act Faces Overhaul,” Miami Herald, February 18, 2008