Attorney Karen Kruse
Based in Seattle, Washington, employment law attorney Karen Kruse has dedicated her professional career to helping employers prevent or resolve workplace issues. She has been privileged to work with all types of businesses and organizations, from the smallest enterprises, owned by individuals or families, to mid‑sized regional organizations, to large national or multi‑national corporations. She has served clients in all economic sectors (private, nonprofit and public).
Whatever the context, Karen collaborates with clients to address their legal needs in ways that are consistent with their business goals.
Karen founded Karen Kruse Law, PLLC, in 2016, after decades of practicing management‑side employment law at two national law firms. At her own firm, Karen continues to serve as a workplace law advisor and advocate, partnering with her clients to promote employment law compliance and to prevent or resolve employment related disputes on a broad range of issues.
When counseling employers, Karen applies her extensive hands‑on experience to formulate advice about all phases of the employment relationship: from contracts, policies and employee handbooks, to internal investigations and training, to employment separations and post-employment issues.
Karen's experience litigating employment and labor cases is centered in the federal and state courts throughout Washington. She has appeared in federal and state trial courts in Western and Eastern Washington, as well as Divisions One and Three of the Washington Court of Appeals, the Washington Supreme Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In addition, Karen at times has received permission to appear in federal cases in other states, such as Oregon, Montana and Alaska. As an advocate, Karen has handled a wide variety of workplace law disputes, including single‑employee charges or lawsuits, multiple‑plaintiff litigation, and class or collective actions.
Karen's work for her clients is informed by her own practical experience in what was then called "personnel and labor relations," gained during several years' employment with the State of Alaska. There, she was deeply involved in the state government's relationship with its far‑flung workforce, who performed an extensive range of governmental services: transportation, public safety and corrections, fish, wildlife and natural resources management, social services, and more. Karen's work for Alaska included representing the State in collective bargaining with several different labor unions, economic analyses of proposed CBAs, grievance investigation and handling, presenting cases to labor arbitrators, drafting personnel rules and policies, and advising State managers about how to address employee performance, conduct and other issues.
University of Washington School of Law | Seattle, WA
Juris Doctor, with high honors
- Order of the Coif (third in law school class rankings)
- Editor, Washington Law Review
- Mary Ellen Krug Scholarship (for interest and proficiency in labor and employment law)
University of Alaska at Juneau | Juneau, AK
Bachelor of Liberal Arts, magna cum laude
Ninth Circuit Clerkship | Seattle, WA
One‑year appellate clerkship for the Honorable Eugene A. Wright, who was then a Senior Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Washington State Bar Association (WSBA), 1990
AV Preeminent rating from Martindale‑Hubbell
Washington Super Lawyers, 2010
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American Bar Association
Labor & Employment Section
Solo, Small Firm & General Practice Section
WSBA Labor & Employment Law Section
WSBA Solo and Small Practice Section
King County Bar Association
Labor & Employment Law Section
Federal Bar Association
Western District of Washington