Karen Harkins
Karen Harkins
Assistant Professor of Lawyering
Assistant Dean Academic Success & Bar Preparation
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



  • Alumni Association Hosts Bar Support Breakfast
    July 30, 2015
    On Saturday, July 25, 2015, the Thomas Jefferson Alumni Association hosted a breakfast on the 5th floor in the student lounge for alumni studying for...
  • April 3, 2015
    This year’s Barristers Ball held at Petco Park on Saturday, March 28 was a huge success.   “The venue was absolutely breathtaking,...
  • 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...