SAN DIEGO—Administrative Presiding Justice Judith McConnell has announced the appointment of Karen Harkins as the new managing attorney of the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One. She succeeds Judge Marsha Amin, who was elevated to the superior court bench in May. Harkins’s appointment took effect June 20.
“Karen Harkins’s experience in teaching, administration, and writing will serve her well as managing attorney, and we look forward to working with her,” said Administrative Presiding Justice Judith McConnell.
Harkins assumes her new duties during a dynamic time at the court with the arrival of three new justices as well as multiple attorneys and support staff. In addition to facilitating a smooth integration for recent additions at the court, Harkins will be overseeing court-wide case management, supervising central staff attorneys and judicial assistants, and performing specialized legal work. She will work closely with the justices and clerk of the court to assist them in meeting the needs of the court.
“I have enjoyed working at the court immensely, and I look forward to serving the court in this new role,” said Harkins. “I have been fortunate to work with two diligent and effective managing attorneys, and I hope to live up to their high standards. Our court is filled with an array of talented, thoughtful, and dedicated individuals who will help me ensure that we continue to fairly and efficiently administer justice for Californians.”
Harkins received her Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego, magna cum laude, where she served as the executive comments editor of the law review. She earned a Master of Education degree and teaching credentials at the University of San Diego School of Leadership and Education, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Spanish from the University of Puget Sound.
Harkins has been an attorney with the Court of Appeal since 2018, where she has served in central staff and in the chambers of Justice Richard Huffman. Prior to that, she was the assistant dean of academic success and bar preparation and an assistant professor of lawyering at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, as well as an associate at Jones Day and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. Before becoming an attorney, Harkins taught high school in the Poway Unified School District, where she is still involved as a volunteer.