Karen Kalzer

Top rated Schools & Education attorney in Seattle, Washington

Helsell Fetterman LLP
Karen Kalzer
Helsell Fetterman LLP

Practice Areas: Schools & Education, Employment Litigation, Employment & Labor

Licensed in Washington since: 1995

Education: Seattle University School of Law

Languages Spoken: English, French

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2020 - 2023

Helsell Fetterman LLP

800 5th Ave
Suite 4200
Seattle, WA 98104 Phone: 206-689-2125 Email: Karen Kalzer Visit website


High octane attorney and analytical thinker with experience in litigation management, risk analysis and strategic planning. Emotionally intelligent leader with heightened ability to bring individuals with diverse strengths together to achieve strategic organizational, legal and economic goals. I enjoy maintaining high levels of communication and problem solving in a fast paced environment. Supervise all aspects of long-term complex and interrelated litigations. Set ethical and professional standards for accomplishing client’s goals. Mentor, lead, allocate work among and evaluate team. Install high morale under high pressure circumstances.

First Admitted: 1995, Washington

Professional Webpage: https://www.helsell.com/helsell-attorney/karen-kalzer/

Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Committee Chair- Religious & Non Profit - CLM  
  • Washington Law & Politics - Rising Star
Educational Background:
  • Certified Litigation Management Professional -Litigation Management Institute at Columbia University School of Law

    , 2011
  • Certified Claims Professional - Claims and Litigation Management Alliance

    , 2017
Special Licenses/Certifications:
  • Certified Litigation Management Practioner - Claims & Litigation Management Alliance/Litigation Management Institute, 2011
  • Certified Claims Professional - CLM , 2019
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Explorer West Middle School - Vice President - Board of Trustees Northwest Hope & Healing - Board of Directors O'Dea High School - Board Member, 2012
Representative Clients:
  • Star Rentals Inc., 2019
  • Ocosta School District, 2019
  • Church of God in Christ

  • Sourcing System International

    , 2018
  • Orcas Distributing

    , 2018
  • Piroshky Piroshky

    , 2018
  • Ballmer Giving

    , 2018
  • Pacific Northwest Conference United Methodist Church

    , 2018
  • Northwest Association of Independent Schools

    , 2018
  • Catholic Community Services of Western Washington

    , 2018
  • Corporation of the Catholic Archbishop of Seattle

    , 2018
Verdicts/Settlements (Case Results):
  • Resolved sexual misconduct and wage dispute lawsuit for school district on highly favorable terms., 2019
  • BBJS v. Sanchez/Smith Just - Multi day binding arbitration re covenant not to compete.  Plaintiff recoverd less than settment offer., 2013
  • Resolved Non Compete/Trade Secrets litigation on favorable terms after oppsong party had obtained temporary injunction on less than 48 hour notice. 

    , 2018
  • Resolved employment racial discrimination and retaliation claim against independent school without litigation. 

    , 2018
  • Resolved high profile racial bullying case on behalf of school district without incurring significant litigation costs or ongoing media exposure.

    , 2018
  • Rosas v. Seattle Archdiocese.The plaintiff alleged that he was entitled to minimum wages under state and federal law.  Ms. Kalzer obtained CR 12(b)6 dismissal of the claims under First Amendment grounds and successfully defended in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.R.L.K. v. Spencer AirMs. Kalzer was hired by three different carriers to defend this volatile litigation with multi-million dollar exposure.  Ms. Kalzer settled the matter for a six-figure amount without the client submitting to any significant discovery.Four Jane Does v. ConfidentialThis client hired Ms. Kalzer after two years of expensive litigation by another defense firm had polarized the parties with no meaningful settlement negotiations.  Within 90 days Ms. Kalzer settled the claims of childhood rape in accord with the litigation budget and settlement authority.Jane Doe v. EldredgeThis client hired Ms. Kalzer mid-litigation once the plaintiff sought a $10 million pre-judgment writ of attachment.  After Ms. Kalzer appeared and argued the motion, the court denied the writ.  Ms. Kalzer ultimately settled the matter under far more favorable terms for the defendant.Biteman et al v. Seattle ArchdioceseMs. Kalzer developed the discovery and pretrial strategy in this matter, which resulted in settlement of two of four claims prior to trial.  After less than two weeks of trial with Ms. Kalzer and Mike Patterson, the two remaining plaintiffs chose to settle their claims for the amounts offered months before trial.37 plaintiffs v. Puyallup School District.Ms. Kalzer led the discovery in this civil rights litigation and filed 37 motions for summary judgment in one day, bringing plaintiffs to the negotiating table and resulting in settlement.
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Examination of liability issues impicated by microaggressions towards employees and students., Presenter, Microaggression: Liability by a Thousand Cuts, Independent Schools, 2020
  • Panelist for annual conference reviewing litigation results for religious and non profit entitites. 

    , Panelist, Verdicts and Settlements for Religious Entitities and Non Profits, Religious And Non Profits, 2018
  • Risk issues and litigation concerns to be examined when drafting a business continuity plan for responding to crisis. 

    , Author/Presenter, Business Continuity Planning, National Association of Independent Schools, Independent Schools, 2018
  • Analyzing the opinions of the COurt and its impact on claims professionals.

    , Author, SCOTUS Watch, 2018
  • A review of litigation related decisions of the 2012 term., Supreme Court Watch, Claims Litigation Management, 2013
  • An examination of the effects of recent US Supreme Court decisions on issues of employment in communities of faith., Author, A Separation Maintained, Claims Management Magazine - March 2012 Cover Story, 2012
  • A review of employment protections falling under Family Responsitbility Discrimination, Author, Respecting the Work Life Balance, Claims And Lititgation Management Alliance
Industry Groups:
  • Communities Of Faith
  • Executive Compensation
  • Independent Schools
  • Non-Profits
  • Small Business

Office location for Karen Kalzer

800 5th Ave
Suite 4200
Seattle, WA 98104


4 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2020 - 2023

Attorney resources for Karen Kalzer

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