Profile

Karen focuses her practice on high-profile civil litigation and trials as well as crisis management—helping her clients solve their biggest problems both in and out of the courtroom. She has received broad recognition for her work, including being named one of the National Law Journal’s Outstanding Women Lawyers, Litigator of the Week by both The American Lawyer and Global Competition Review, one of 10 Most Compelling Women in Washington D.C. by Elle magazine, one of the top 250 Women in Litigation by Benchmark Litigation, and one of America's 500 Leading Lawyers by Lawdragon.

Karen is an accomplished trial lawyer and courtroom advocate. Within one year, together with BSF partner Bill Isaacson, she won significant jury verdicts for two of America’s top technology companies. The following year, she successfully argued summary judgment resulting in victory for another prominent technology company in a high-stakes case. That same year, Karen and her co-counsel won a two-year pro bono legal battle in local and federal courts to enforce Washington D.C.’s Local Budget Autonomy Act.

As a crisis management expert and trusted advisor to public figures and top executives, Karen specializes in confronting high-stakes legal problems that require her to contend simultaneously with the law, the media, and the government. Her work preparing candidates for debates has received extensive media coverage. And Karen brings those same skills to bear when she prepares company executives for congressional hearings, depositions, and trial testimony.

Prior to joining the firm, Karen served in all three branches of government. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, she tried to jury verdict numerous multi-defendant cases and led complex investigations. She served as Associate White House Counsel, representing the Executive Office of the President in congressional investigations and overseeing litigation. Earlier in her career, Karen was a law clerk to Judge Merrick B. Garland of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and to Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court.  She has also been a consultant to the television show House of Cards.

Experience

Karen's representative matters include:

  • Served as co-lead trial counsel in a high-profile antitrust case in the portable music industry for a top technology company, winning a defense verdict from the jury in a class action seeking $1 billion
  • Served as co-lead trial counsel in a three and a half week jury trial in the District of Nevada for plaintiff Oracle, which resulted in a $50 million verdict – later increased to $124 million in a judgment – against Rimini Street and its CEO for copyright infringement and state law computer fraud violations
  • Successfully argued summary judgment in favor of defendant Beats Electronics in a fraud and securities suit brought by Monster and its CEO in California state court
  • Assisted a high profile technology company in an effort to counsel individuals affected by President Trump’s first immigration EO. This effort resulted in numerous family reunions
  • Provided strategic and legal counsel to C-suite executives and in-house counsel at a large, multinational company confronting simultaneous federal and state investigations, class action litigation, congressional inquiries, and constant media scrutiny
  • Prepared top executives of major U.S. companies for testimony before Congress, provided strategic guidance and counsel in navigating congressional inquiries
  • Represented a high profile witness in the course of several investigations by the Department of Justice, an agency Inspector General, and a congressional committee
  • Served as co-lead counsel, pro bono, in a lawsuit brought by the District of Columbia Council against the District’s mayor and CFO to enforce the Local Budget Autonomy Act. After two years of litigation in both the federal and local courts, the Budget Autonomy Act was found to be a lawful amendment to the District Charter that must be enforced

Publications & Presentations

Kate Stith & Karen Dunn, A Second Chance for Sentencing Reform: Establishing a Sentencing Agency in the Judicial Branch, 58 STAN. L. REV. 217 (2005)

Education

  • Yale Law School, J.D.
  • Brown University, B.A., magna cum laude, Political Science

Admissions

Bars

  • New York
  • District of Columbia

Awards and Associations

Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America, 2017

Elle Magazine 10 Most Compelling Women in Washington, 2016

The National Law Journal Outstanding Women Lawyers, 2015 

American Lawyer Litigator of the Week, December 18, 2014

Global Competition Review Litigator of the Week, December 17, 2014

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) SHIELD Award, 2014

Government Service

Assistant United States Attorney, Eastern District of Virginia 

Associate Counsel to the President, The White House

Communications Director to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton 

Press and Legislative Aide to Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey

Clerkships

  • Justice Stephen G. Breyer, U.S. Supreme Court
  • Hon. Merrick B. Garland, U.S. Court of Appeals: D.C. Circuit