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Carolyn G. Burnette


P 916-341-0404 F 916-341-0141


Carolyn G. Burnette


Carolyn G. Burnette is a principal in the Sacramento, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. In addition to more than 20 years of litigation experience, Ms. Burnette also brings to the firm a significant workplace investigation background. Her litigation and investigation cases have involved a spectrum of high-level employment law issues, including conduct alleged against executives, elected officials, attorneys and other senior personnel. Ms. Burnette also has a robust advice and counsel practice, and provides counsel to clients on complex issues such as disability/reasonable accommodation, leaves of absence, sexual harassment and whistleblower matters.

Prior to receiving her law degree, Ms. Burnette obtained over 10 years of business and contract negotiations experience. She managed large organizations which utilized both contract and regular employees. Her duties encompassed all aspects of employee relations including hiring, training, policy enforcement, discipline, termination, and compliance with employment laws. While practicing in Palo Alto, she litigated and provided advice and counsel to a variety of technology and start-up companies during the fast-paced “dot com boom.” She has authored several published articles dealing with a variety of employment issues.

While attending law school, Ms. Burnette was Assistant Copy Editor of Hastings Law News and a teaching assistant in criminal law. She received the American Jurisprudence Award in both Negotiations/Settlement and Trial Advocacy, the Moot Court Oral Argument Recognition Award, and was a nominee for Best Brief in the Appellate Advocacy/Moot Court Program. Ms. Burnette also externed at the United States District Court, Northern District of California, for the Honorable Magistrate Judge Bernard Zimmerman.


Ms. Burnette is an esteemed employment and commercial law arbitration panelist with the American Arbitration Association (AAA). She also conducts private mediations. In 2015, Ms. Burnette was selected by AAA to be a Leon Higginbotham Fellow – a program that looks to ensure the future excellence of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Fellows are chosen for their exceptional work and commitment to becoming mediation and arbitration leaders.

Ms. Burnette has a stellar record of facilitating cases to prompt and reasonable resolution through ADR, and has demonstrated respect for both sides of the bar throughout her more than 20 years of practice. She serves as a settlement attorney for the El Dorado County Superior Court ADR Program.  She also served as a mediator for the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California’s Dispute Resolution Program (2016 – 2020). She also serves as a Judge Pro Tem for Sacramento County Superior Court.

Ms. Burnette has resolved a variety of employment-related disputes through ADR. These matters have involved executives, elected officials, attorneys, boards and other senior personnel, as well as non-exempt workers from a wide range of professions. She has extensive experience working with EPLI carriers and coverage counsel. Her goal as a neutral is to bring a fresh perspective to the expanding group of diverse litigants, and to practice with respect for both sides of the bar. Ms. Burnette managed business organizations for 10 years before her legal career and also worked as a union member. This experience helped formulate a "common sense" approach to workplace issues.

Ms. Burnette’s commercial arbitration practice has stemmed from years of advising businesses of every size. She has represented a wide spectrum of industries, such as retail, agriculture, technology, hospitality, manufacturing, life sciences, logistics, medical, restaurants, construction, government and banking/financial services. Ms. Burnette has advised on a variety of business-related issues such as contract disputes, insurance, indemnity, trade secrets/non-competes, acquisitions and privacy. 

Before practicing law, Ms. Burnette obtained 10+ years of business and contract negotiations experience.  This included managing large operations for a global corporation. Ms. Burnette was responsible for securing and administering contracts and services valued at up to $32 million annually, including for commercial construction projects.  This extensive “hands on” experience formed the basis for a "common sense" approach to solving legal issues and generated a first-hand understanding of business challenges.

Ms. Burnette has had extensive training in ADR, including: the AAA Essential Mediation Skills Program (40 hours), the AAA Higginbotham Fellowship Mediation/Arbitration Program (40 hours), AAA Arbitration Fundamentals and Best Practices Program (16 hours), the AAA Award Writing and Clarity in Award Writing Courses, and the U.S. District Court – Eastern District of California Voluntary Dispute Resolution Program Training. She has a proven track record on diversity-based issues through dedicated commitment as a law office Diversity Committee Chair, a member of the Corporate Diversity Counseling Group, and as a Sacramento County Bar Association Diversity Fellowship Program committee member.

Professional Associations and Activities

  • Sacramento Bar Association
  • Sacramento County Bar Association Diversity Fellowship Committee Member
  • Wiley Manuel Bar Association
  • Women Lawyers of Sacramento

Published Works

  • “Chipping Away at the Enforceability of Class Waivers Requiring Arbitration of Employment Claims,” American Bar Association Section of Litigation ADR Newsletter, Summer 2016, Vol. 20, No. 4 (August 22, 2016) [Author]
  • "Future Wages May Be Recovered By Employees Who Detrimentally Rely on Pre-Employment Promises," The Daily Recorder (June 1, 2005) [Co-Author]
  • "U.S. Supreme Court Reins in ADA Disability Claims," The Daily Recorder 92.39 (February 27, 2002) [Co-Author]
  • "Wage Hour Questions Not Answered in the Labor Code," The Daily Recorder 92.11 (January 16, 2002) [Co-Author]
  • "Title VII Protections Expand to Include Gender Discrimination," The Daily Recorder 91.241 (December 12, 2001) [Co-Author]
  • "Employment Law Cases Pending Before the California Supreme Court," The Daily Recorder 91.182 (September 19, 2001) [Co-Author]
  • "State Has New Ways to Forfeit Exemptions from Overtime," The Daily Recorder 91.118 (June 20, 2001) [Co-Author]
  • "Employment Arbitration Agreements: Making Them Stick," Legal Resources (Wilson, Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, 1999) [Co-Author]
  • "Affirmative Action Programs: OFCCP Enforcement Agenda Update (Part 2)," ALI-ABA Course Materials Journal 22.6 (December 1998) [Co-Author]
  • "Affirmative Action Programs: OFCCP Enforcement Agenda Update (Part 1)," ALI-ABA Course Materials Journal 22.5 (October 1998) [Co-Author]