Karen Smolar is the Managing  Director of the Criminal Practice in the Southern Region.  For the last four years she served ss the Training Director, developing  and conducting   innovative trial training programs for every public defender and court-appointed attorney representing the indigent accused statewide. Karen serves  a member of the agency’s Anti-Racism Team, and is lead on its DEI Recruitment Sub-Committee.

Karen spent her three previous decades representing the indigent accused in New York City, including twenty years of dedicated work at The Bronx Defenders. Karen spent a decade as that organization’s criminal Trial Chief.

Since 2017, Karen has also been the coDean at the National Criminal Defense College, America’s preeminent trial training school for criminal defense practitioners. Prior to her appointment as Dean, Karen had served for a decade on the College’s faculty as a presenter, lecturer, and small-group leader. Her work at the College allows her to develop and implement creative programming and pedagogy to train lawyers from around the country and beyond. Since her Deanship began, Karen has been especially proud of both the College’s successful efforts to diversify its faculty, staff, and participants as well as the College curriculum’s new emphasis on racial and social justice.

Karen is currently an Adjunct Professor of Law at Roger Williams University School of Law in Rhode Island, where she is a sought-after Trial Advocacy Instructor.