Karen C. Lefton

Sr. Counsel

Karen helps employers eliminate employee drama, improve productivity and increase their bottom line. Her practice caters especially to businesses that have outgrown their in-house human resources expertise and find themselves daunted by the myriad of complex regulations and statutes they encounter. She often acts as their outside general counsel, providing sound, creative advice that enables them to grow their revenues and focus on their core missions.

Karen has substantial experience crafting creative, constructive and lawful solutions to challenges in the workplace. She has expertise in Title VII, ADA, FMLA, USERRA, FLSA, and avoiding harassment based on gender, race, religion, disability, national origin and sexual preference. She is routinely successful in defending clients in all forums, including before the EEOC and the NLRB.

Her clients include private and public employers in a broad range of industries, such as publishing, hospitality, manufacturing, construction, health care, finance, social services, education, packaging, and personnel placement.

Karen is a seasoned labor negotiator and has broad experience negotiating complex concessionary collective bargaining agreements, resolving grievances and prevailing at arbitration. She has successfully arbitrated numerous contract interpretation and disciplinary cases. If clients are currently union-free, she helps them remain that way. If clients have a union, she works to ensure that they maintain the greatest amount of flexibility and resolve conflicts creatively.

A former journalist and media company General Counsel, Karen developed a special expertise in First Amendment issues, including public access, public records, prior restraint, defamation, and privacy. She has successfully represented media clients in state and federal courts.

  • Miami University, B.A. in English and Political Science, 1978
  • The University of Akron School of Law, The University of Akron, J.D., 1984
  • Ashland University, EMBA, Business Administration and Management
Bar Admissions
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Supreme Court of Ohio
  • U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio
Professional Activities and Recognition
  • Ohio SuperLawyer, 2016 – 2022
  • Graduate and Distinguished Leader Award Winner, Leadership Akron, 2013
  • Member, Summit County Public Defender’s Commission, 2011 – present
  • Member, Ohio Bar Association, member, 1997 – present
  • Member, Akron Bar Association Foundation, Board of Governors, 2011 – 2015
Civic/Charitable Activities and Associations
  • Chair, Stark State College Board of Trustees, 2021 – Present
  • Founding Member, WUTGNA (Women Up To No Good Again)
  • Member, Akron Rotary
  • Member, Greater Akron Chamber Small Business Council
  • Past Board Member, Akron Roundtable
  • Past Board Member, Goodwill, Inc.
  • Past Board Member, Project Learn, Inc.
  • Past Board Member, Women’s Endowment Fund Advisory Board
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