Professor of law in the Washington University School of Law since 1987, Karen Tokarz is an internationally recognized expert in dispute resolution and clinical legal education. In 2008, she was named the inaugural Charles Nagel Professor of Public Interest Law and Policy at the law school.
Professor Tokarz’s scholarship addresses a broad range of public interest law and policy issues, including civil rights, international human rights, mediation, and women’s legal history. Director of the law school’s Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Program, Professor Tokarz has been named to Best Lawyers in America in the field of Mediation every year since 2010. In fall 2019, she was inducted as a Distinguished Fellow in the International Academy of Mediators. Past director of the school’s highly ranked Clinical Education Program, she currently serves as director of the Civil Rights, Community Justice & Mediation Clinic.
Professor Tokarz was instrumental in the development of the law school’s Public Interest Law & Policy Speakers Series and the reincarnation of the Washington University Journal of Law & Policy, both in 1999. She continues to serve as the coordinator for the speaker series and the faculty advisor for the Journal.
Founder of the law school’s Global Public Interest Law Fellows Program, Professor Tokarz has coordinated field placements for more than 200 law students with legal aid offices, human rights organizations, and tribunals in countries in Africa, South America, Europe, and Asia for more than 15 years. She has served as a Fulbright Senior Specialist at the University of Kwa Zulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, consulting on international dispute resolution.
Professor Tokarz has received several teaching and client advocacy awards, including Washington University’s Distinguished Faculty Award at Founders Day 2005, 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 Courts & Governance 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, and Bail Practices.
A 1970 graduate of Webster University in St. Louis with a major in social and behavioral science, Professor Tokarz received her Juris Doctor degree from Saint Louis University in 1976 and a graduate law degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1985.
- B.A., Webster University, 1970
- J.D., St. Louis University, 1976
- LL.M., University of California, Berkeley, 1985
- 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:
- Elderlaw: Advocacy for the Aging (2 vols), with Joan Krauskopf, Robert Brown, and Alan Bogutz (Thomson West, 2nd ed. 1993, Supp. 1994-2017)
- “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
- “Not Just Ferguson: A Growing Imperative to Reform (or Abolish?) Our Nation’s Municipal Courts,” (forthcoming)
- Law School Clinic and Community Legal Services Providers Collaborate to Advance the Remedy of Implied Warranty of Habitability in Missouri (with Zachary Schmook), 53 Washington University Journal of Law & Policy 169 (2017) (with Zachary Schmook)
- Introduction, New Directions in Public Policy, Clinical Education, and Dispute Resolution, 52 Washington University Journal of Law & Policy 1 (2016)
- Introduction: “New Directions in Community Lawyering, Social Entrepreneurship & Dispute Resolution” (with Geetha Rao Sant), 48 Washington University Journal of Law & Policy 1 (2015)
- Introduction: “New Directions in Global Dispute Resolution” (with Leila Nadya Sadat), 45 Washington University Journal of Law & Policy 1 (2014)
- “Legal Education at a Crossroads: Innovation, Integration, and Pluralism Required!” (with Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, Peggy Maisel, Robert Seibel), 43 Washington University Journal of Law & Policy 11 (2013)
- “Foreclosure Mediation Programs: A Crucial and Effective Response by States, Cities, and Courts to the Foreclosure Crisis” (with Kim Kirn and Justin Vail), 59 The St. Louis Bar Journal 28 (2012)
- Introduction: “New Directions in ADR and Negotiation” (with Rebecca Hollander-Blumoff), 39 Washington University Journal of Law & Policy 1 (2012)
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