Karen Mathis' ability to convert ideas into action has been described as "remarkable." That adjective may be applied to her entire career.
As president and principal in the Denver law firm Hall & Mathis, Karen Mathis practices law in the areas of business, estate planning, and trusts. Her professional contributions to the American Bar Association, as well as regional legal associations are numerous. When in July 2000, she assumed the two-year post of Chair of the ABA's House of Delegates, the Association's policy-making body, she was only the second woman to do so in the Association's 125 year history.
A past chair of the ABA Commission on Women, she was instrumental in launching a legal advocacy project to help breast cancer patients. "The goal of our breast cancer advocacy project is to empower breast cancer patients, to help them make informed decisions about their medical coverage," explained Mathis. "Many women learn of their rights, or decide to appeal denial of [insurance] coverage, after it is too late to beneficially affect their chance of survival."
As a participant in the ABA program "Dialogue of Freedom," Karen Mathis' activities extend into the classroom as she conducts dialogues with high school students on issues related to law, American values, and living in a democratic society. In September 2002, she helped announce the ABA initiative "Tolerance Through Education." The program has modules geared for different levels, from elementary school to high school. According to Mathis, "In today's post-September 11 world, it's more critical than ever that children learn to embrace diversity and respect the differences in others."
Mathis currently serves as Chair of the ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section with more than 22,000 members. She has served on The American Law Institute-American Bar Association Executive Committee and its Commission of Continuing Professional Education. She is a past chair of the ABA Membership Committee and, for four years, she served on the Board of Editors of the ABA Journal, including service as Chair of the Journal's Production and Technology Committee.
Karen Mathis is an internationally sought after speaker on the topic of the status of American women in the field of law. She has spoken throughout the United States and Canada, at the United Kingdom's Women Lawyer's Conference, and at the International Bar Association Barcelona meeting in 1999. She is a member of the Women's Forum of Colorado, and since 1991 has been a member of the prestigious International Women's Forum. She was appointed by Colorado's governor to serve as a board member of the Colorado Office of Childcare Resources and Referral Agencies.
She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Denver in 1972. In 1975, she received her law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law. The School of Law awarded Karen Mathis the 1992 Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement as a practitioner and an honorary Order of the Coif in 2002. She has been honored by the Denver and Colorado Bar Associations as the State's outstanding lawyer.
Today, Siena College honors Karen Mathis with the degree of Doctor of Laws. A distinguished member of the legal profession, she serves as an example that it is possible to live both a successful professional life and a noble life of service to others.