Judge Robert J. Lesnick has served as the Chief Judge of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission since 2003.
Lesnick was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and graduated from All Saints School and Kolb Memorial High School in Masontown, Pennsylvania. He earned a B.A. in economics from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, graduating summa cum laude in 1974. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1977.
Lesnick began private law practice as a corporate tax attorney with the firm of Smith, Gill, Fisher & Butts in Kansas City, Missouri, representing such clients as H & R Block and Universal Press Syndicate. Beginning his Federal service in 1979, he served with the Department of Labor Office of the Solicitor, in Kansas City, Denver, and Washington, D.C., representing the Department on various issues including discrimination, labor, and mine safety and health matters. From 1990-1994 he was a Special Trial Counsel with the Treasury Department during the Savings and Loan Crisis.
Lesnick was first appointed as a United States Administrative Law Judge in 1994. Lesnick served for four years as Chief Judge of the Pittsburgh Hearing Office for the Social Security Administration. From 1999 to 2003 he served with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, hearing office.