Karen Clemes is an amazing woman. She received her BA and MA degrees from BYU and her JD from California Western, where she graduated first in her class. She externed for the U.S. District Court and also clerked for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Her main practice areas are litigation and employment law, where she defends employment cases and provides preventative counseling and training to employers in both Utah and California. She is currently practicing in Ballard Spahr's Salt Lake City, Utah office. She previously was a Partner in the Employment group of Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps in California.
Before joining Ballard Spahr, she was the Director of the Human Resources Legal Division and Chief Standards (Ethics) Officer for the LDS Church.
I asked her what it was like to work for the Church in a legal capacity. She responded:
I really enjoyed working for the LDS Church. I was the first woman who served in an in-house legal counsel role for the Church, so I'd like to think that I provided a fresh perspective on various issues. I found this role very rewarding and challenging in that I tackled many difficult issues on a daily basis. I loved learning about the employment side of this complex multinational organization and assisting various departments and managers globally in meeting their goals and contributing to the Church's mission. My favorite part of working for the Church was rubbing shoulders with so many coworkers who were hard working, talented, and inspired in so many ways.
She has also been very involved with the JRCLS. She is a former chair of the San Diego Chapter and is currently serving as one of four Vice-chairs for the JRCLS on the Chapter Relations Council. She represents the Americas West region.