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Karen Dunn Discusses Career Path, Charlottesville Trial on Original Jurisdiction Podcast

November 15, 2023

In a wide-ranging interview with David Lat on the November 15 episode of Original Jurisdiction, Litigation Department Co-Chair Karen Dunn discussed her unconventional career path, the new HBO Original documentary on the Charlottesville trial, No Accident, and many other topics.

Karen traces her path from working in television news to becoming Senator Hillary Clinton’s press secretary to going to law school, clerking in the Supreme Court, preparing President Barack Obama for his 2012 debates, and eventually moving into private practice and becoming Litigation Department co-chair in October. Karen also discusses Paul, Weiss’s landmark trial victory in Sines v. Kessler and why No Accident, which documents the four-year litigation, is a crucial tool for the viewers to understand the full extent of the insidiousness of the white supremacist movement.

“It’s a real wake-up call about the white supremacist movement in America—how organized they are, how coordinated they are,” she says. “It shows their tactics and their motivations, and I think it will equip people for whatever is going to come down road.”

Karen also offers words of advice to more junior lawyers.

“One thing I always tell them is to start from a place of ‘yes,’” she says. “I firmly believe that the opposite of ‘yes’ is not ‘no’; it’s fear, at least in a professional context. The people I’ve seen who have the greatest amount of growth and the greatest enjoyment of the job are the people who shove fear aside and take on the things that they think they can’t do. Start from a place of ‘yes’; the more you think you can’t do something, the more you should say ‘yes’ to doing it.”

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