Meet new BOG member Karen Denise Wilson

Gov. Karen Denise Wilson
“I ran for the BOG because I wanted to be an active participant and facilitator of efforts to increase diversity.”

We’d like to introduce you to the new members of the WSBA Board of Governors. Today we feature At-large Governor Karen Denise Wilson. Wilson began serving a three-year term on Oct. 1, 2013. She is currently a deputy public defender with the Skagit County Public Defender’s office. Wilson is a 2012 alumna of the Washington Leadership Institute and attended law school at Tulane University, in New Orleans.

Wilson’s goals as governor include bringing a diverse and underrepresented perspective to the WSBA Board of Governors and fostering relationships that create opportunities for collaborative action toward the goal of equality in legal representation. She welcomes communication and input from all WSBA members (but no lawyer jokes, please).

Why did you run for the BOG?

I ran for the BOG because I wanted to be an active participant and facilitator of efforts to increase diversity, both within WSBA and throughout the legal profession in Washington. I strongly believe different backgrounds and experiences working together create a more innovative and productive bar.

Why did you decide to pursue a legal career?

The seed was planted when I researched and wrote my report on Thurgood Marshall during Black History Month in my fourth-grade social studies class.  A brief career in banking sidetracked me for a few years, but a legal career has always been the goal since childhood.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of being an attorney?

My favorite is trial. My least favorite would be lawyer jokes.

Outside of your legal career, what is important to you?

My passions are music and travel (preferably to a destination with warm blue-green water).

If you weren’t a lawyer, you’d be…

Looking for a career that gives me the same level of satisfaction. It would likely involve a paycheck for traveling. Does that exist?

What is (in your opinion) the best place in Washington state? 

For me, the “best place” was my dining room table at my first Kirkland apartment when I arrived in Washington. From my table, I could look out past Lake Washington, past the Seattle skyline, and see the sun setting behind the Olympic Mountains. It was a panoramic scenic view of all the things I loved about Washington. What is even more amazing is how many dining-room or living-room windows in this state have different, but equally stunning, views.

How would you like to stay in touch with the members you represent?

I welcome communication from members in any format most convenient and comfortable from them: email, letters, phone, or in person. I look forward to spending time interacting with the various minority bar associations. I plan to provide periodic updates on the WSBA website and/or NWSidebar on the Board’s activities. I encourage members to contact me anytime.

Karen Denise can be reached at or 360-336-9405.