Biography

A committed advocate and creative problem solver, Karen focuses her practice in the areas of utilities, zoning and land use, telecommunications and administrative law. Karen represents numerous privately-owned and municipal water and wastewater companies, natural gas companies and telecommunications companies in regulatory matters before the North Carolina Utilities Commission and in the purchase, sale and construction of facilities.

She also regularly represents telecommunications clients before state governmental agencies, permitting officials and local zoning boards throughout North Carolina, as well as in appeals in state and federal courts. She frequently appears before boards of commissioners and city and town councils to obtain rezonings, special use and conditional permits, ordinance interpretations and variances. Additionally, Karen defends complaints and handles hearings for professionals before administrative agencies, including the North Carolina Medical Board, the North Carolina Real Estate Commission, the North Carolina Board of Electrical Contractors and the State Revenue Department.

Before Fox Rothschild

Karen was a partner at Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP, which combined with Fox Rothschild in 2018. She began her legal career as a law clerk at the North Carolina Court of Appeals. 

Beyond Fox Rothschild

Karen is involved with her three sons’ school and sporting activities, and is a competitive runner, cyclist and triathlete. 

Karen is an active member of the Raleigh community. She is a current member of the Board of Directors and serves as the Treasurer for the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters. Karen also serves as a chairperson on the Raleigh Board of Adjustment and is on the Board of Directors of the Raleigh Area Masters Swim

She is a past Vice Chair and former Board member of WakeUP Wake County, a non-partisan non-profit organization that represents taxpayers and is a voice for people who believe they need to plan well for growth, development and healthy, vibrant communities in Wake County. She also served as the Chair of the Water Committee for WakeUP and volunteered her time for the Wake County Guardian ad Litem program.

Representative Matters

Water/Wastewater

  • Regulatory approvals for new water and wastewater facilities and transfer of facilities to private companies and municipalities
  • Preparation and negotiation of Asset Purchase Agreements
  • Approvals for rate increases

Telecommunications

  • Permits for numerous wireless communications facilities and networks throughout the state
  • Appeals in state and appellate courts

Land Use and Zoning

  • Local government approvals for land development projects throughout the state, including rezonings, special use and conditional use permits, conditional rezonings and variances
  • Appeals in state and appellate courts

Administrative

  • Complaint proceedings and contested hearings before professional licensing boards and agencies
  • Complaint proceedings before the North Carolina Utilities Commission

Client Resources

Karen is a regular contributor to the Elements for Growth Blog which provides news, information and resources about infrastructure and economic development in the Southeast.

Honors & Awards

  • Named to "The Best Lawyers in America" list for Land Use & Zoning Law in North Carolina by Best Lawyers (2019,2020)