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Karen Tokarz

Charles Nagel Professor of Public Interest Law & Public Service; Professor of African & African-American Studies, Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Program Director, and Civil Rights & Community Justice Clinic

Professor Karen Tokarz is an internationally recognized expert in dispute resolution and clinical legal education. She has been named to Best Lawyers in Mediation & Alternative Dispute Resolution ever year since 2010. Her scholarship addresses public interest law issues, including clinical legal education, dispute resolution, judicial selection, and elder law. Director of the law school’s Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Program, she is past director of the school’s highly ranked Clinical Education Program. Professor Tokarz is a certified Neutral for the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, and serves on the Missouri Supreme Court ADR Commission and on the U.S. District Court ADR Advisory Committee. In 2008–09, she was a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School, based in the Program on Negotiation, and served as a Fulbright Senior Specialist at the University of Kwa Zulu-Natal in South Africa, consulting on international dispute resolution.

Professor Tokarz is the founder of the law school’s Global Public Interest Law Initiative. Over the past 17 years, she has coordinated field placements for more than 200 law students with legal aid offices, human rights organizations, and tribunals in South Africa, Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as Brazil, Chile, Panama, Cambodia, India, China, Italy, and Thailand. She also coordinates the law school’s Public Interest Law & Policy Speaker Series, now in its 21st year. Professor Tokarz is the recipient of several teaching and client advocacy awards, including Washington University’s Founders Day Distinguished Faculty Award, the Student Bar Association Experiential Professor of the Year, and the Black Law Student Association Instructor of the Year.

Professor Tokarz served on the Ferguson Commission Municipal Working Group and co-chairs the Municipal Justice subcommittee of the Missouri Supreme Court Commission on Racial & Ethnic Fairness. She is a member of the advisory committee for the National Center for State Courts National Task Force on Fines, Fees & Bail Practices, and has participated in recent conclaves on fees, fines, and bail practices at the White House, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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Tokarz Named Nagel Professor of Public Interest Law and Public Service
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  • Education
    • B.A., Webster University, 1970
    • J.D., St. Louis University, 1976
    • LL.M., University of California, Berkeley, 1985
  • Courses
    • Negotiation
    • Mediation Theory & Practice
    • Employment/Civil Rights Mediation Theory & Practice
    • Civil Rights, Community Justice & Mediation Clinic
    • International Justice & Conflict Resolution Externship
    • Human Trafficking & Labor Migration Seminar
    • Comparative Employment Law Seminar
    • Public Interest Law & Policy Seminar
    • Employment Discrimination
    • Pretrial Practice & Settlement
    • Faculty Advisor for:
  • Publications

    SSRN Author’s Page:


    • Elderlaw: Advocacy for the Aging (2 vols), with Joan Krauskopf, Robert Brown, and Alan Bogutz (Thomson West, 2nd ed. 1993, Supp. 1994-2017)

    Book Chapters

    • “A Three-Year Curriculum that Engages Law Students and Prepares Them for Practice,” in Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World (Deborah Maranville, et al., ed., 2015)
    • “Advancing Social Justice Through ADR and Clinical Legal Education in India, South Africa, and the United States,” in The Global Clinical Movement: Educating Lawyers for Social Justice (with V. Nagaraj) (Oxford University Press, 2011)
    • “Sex Discrimination in Amateur and Professional Sports,” in The Law of Professional and Amateur Sports (3 vols) (Thompson West, 2nd ed. 2002, Supp. 2003-2016)

    Recent Articles & Essays

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