Kaplan Voekler Cunningham & Frank has named Stephanie Karn, a shareholder in the firm’s Richmond office, as chairperson of the firm’s board of directors.

Karn, a veteran litigator and employment law specialist, began her new leadership role on Jan. 1. As board chair, she will be working with her fellow board members to help formulate the firm’s business strategy and facilitate KVCF’s ongoing growth initiatives.

“Becoming chair gives me an opportunity to influence the direction of the firm, and I am very excited to watch KVCF continue to grow and thrive,” Karn says. “I appreciate being able to collaborate with our attorneys and staff to facilitate solutions for our clients while cultivating an engaging workplace culture.”

In taking on the role of chair, Karn joins an elite group of women who serve in leadership roles at firms around the country. According to recent statistics from Law360, fewer than 15 percent of U.S. law firms the news organization surveyed say they have a female chairperson or managing partner.

Employment Expert

Karn, who joined KVCF in 2014, will assume the additional board responsibilities while continuing her successful practice, which focuses on employment matters, including for colleges and universities, and general litigation.

In her practice, Karn counsels clients on all aspects of employment law. She also defends employers in cases alleging sex, race, national origin, religion, age, and disability discrimination, wrongful termination, breach of contract, and non-compete issues.

She also has developed a specialized practice representing colleges and universities. For those institutions, she advises on tenure issues, academic freedom, student complaints, faculty and staff handbooks, drug testing, NCAA issues, Title IX, and reductions in force for both staff and faculty. She also serves as an outside, neutral investigator for higher education institutions and other employers, in such areas as sexual misconduct, discrimination, and harassment.

Karn’s practice covers the full breadth of employment and securities issues, including Family Medical Leave Act claims, sexual harassment, trade secret violations, whistleblower claims, breach of fiduciary duty, wrongful discharge, negligence, defamation, raiding and customer complaints.  She also routinely appears before key state and federal agencies on behalf of clients, including the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office of Civil Rights, and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

Active in the Community

A graduate of the College of William & Mary, Karn received her law degree from the University of Richmond Law School in 1995. She has been rated “AV Preeminent” under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review rating system and also has been named to Virginia Business magazine’s list of the “Legal Elite” for her labor and employment work in six of the last seven years.

In addition to her practice, Karn is a member of the Virginia and Richmond bar associations, and has given back to the legal community as an adjunct teaching higher education law at Washington and Lee University Law School, as a past chair of the Young Grad’s Council at the University of Richmond School of Law and through service in various bar committees and professional organizations.

Active in the Richmond-area community as well, Karn has served on a number of local boards and committees. She is a member of the board and immediate past chair of the Metro Richmond Crime Stoppers, and she was a longtime member of the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce’s education subcommittee.

In her free time, Karn is an avid marathoner, having completed six marathons, 19 half-marathons, and several 5ks and 10ks. She’s also a proud parent and spectator on the lacrosse field and serves as immediate past president of the Atlee High School Athletics Booster Club.