Karen Harkins
Karen Harkins
Assistant Dean of Academic Success and Bar Preparation
Adjunct Professor
J.D., University of San Diego School of Law, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif;
M.Ed., University of San Diego;
B.A., University of Puget Sound
Phone: (619) 961-4381

Dean Harkins is the Assistant Dean of Academic Success and Bar Prep. She oversees the Academic Success Program, the Writing Center, and the Bar Preparation department. She has helped design an innovative and experiential Academic Success and Bar Preparation Program at TJSL that provides all students with the necessary skills and support to succeed in law school and beyond. 


Before practicing law, Dean Harkins spent more than a decade in public education in San Diego, working as a National Board Certified high school English teacher and as an instructional designer for the San Diego County Office of Education. As an instructional designer, she designed interactive online professional development training.


After law school, Dean Harkins practiced law with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and with Jones Day. Her practice centered on employment and labor law, government contracts, and trade secret matters. She advised clients regarding the California Labor Code and federal employment law, and she represented clients in areas of management employment defense, including discrimination cases, administrative matters, and general management-side civil employment litigation. She also gave regular lectures on employment law topics, including prevention of wage-hour claims, employment legislation updates, and social media policies.


Courses include:
Lawyering Skills I, Lawyering Skills II, Legal Principles



  • December 9, 2013
    On Friday, December 6 Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the Legal Writing Institute co-hosted Preparing Practice-Ready Students, a one-day...
  • TJSL Professors Represent at Prestigious Association of Academic SuppoConference
    June 11, 2013
    The ASP faculty at TJSL rocked at the Annual AASE (Association of Academic Support Educators) Conference on May 29 and 30, at UNLV, Boyd Law School,...
  • WLC is Back
    February 13, 2013
    By Samantha Morales 2L   Just in time for TJSL's Women in the Law Conference, the Women’s Law Association was officially re-charted...
  • 2013 Barristers Ball
    February 11, 2013
    TJSL students call it the “Law Prom”, but the annual Barristers Ball is always so much more than that – especially this year....
  • Fabulous Friday
    September 17, 2012
    Fridays are pretty fabulous for most of us, but at TJSL, Fridays are about to get even more fabulous.   That’s because the law school...