Judge Karen H. Abrams (Ret.) is currently engaged in private mediation, arbitration and neutral case evaluation of civil litigation including Family Law, Personal Injury, Real and Personal Property disputes, as well as Administrative Law matters, Land Use, Corporate, Partnership and Limited Liability Company issues. Judge Abrams is also recalled as a Senior Judge sitting in the Circuit Courts of the Southern Maryland and Prince George’s Counties.

Judge Abrams served as a Circuit Court Judge for St. Mary’s County (7th Judicial Circuit of Maryland) from October 2002 to March 2018. From November 2005 until her retirement in March 2018, she served as Administrative Judge of that Court which duties encompassed the management of the physical and functional aspects of the Court.

Prior to her appointment to the Circuit Court Bench, Judge Abrams practiced law for over 20 years during which she gained very diverse and thorough experience in a wide variety of cases involving land use, zoning and other real estate matters family law, estates and trusts, motor torts, professional liability, as well as corporate and administrative law matters. Judge Abrams’ clients included the St. Mary’s County Board of Education, the St. Mary’s County Board of Elections, the St. Mary’s County Alcohol Beverage Board, the St. Mary’s Nursing Center, the St. Mary’s Home for the Elderly and the Town of Leonardtown.

As a result of her education and experience as a lawyer, Circuit Court Judge and Administrative Judge, Judge Abrams brings extensive legal and practical real-world knowledge and experience to her mediation, arbitration and neutral evaluation of cases, both privately as well as for the Trial Courts and the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

 

Judge, Circuit Court for St. Mary’s County, Maryland

  • October 2002 to March 2018
  • Administrative Judge, November 2005 to March 2018
  • Currently Senior Judge

JUDICIAL ASSOCIATIONS

  • Founder and presiding Judge of the St. Mary’s County Adult Substance Abuse Recovery Court, 2009 to 2019.
  • Circuit Court Judges’ Association

EDUCATION

  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology- George Washington University – 1969
  • Columbus School of Law – Catholic University of America – (JD) 1979

PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT

  • Social Worker – Charles County Department of Social Services, 1970 – 1971
  • Employment Counselor – Work Incentive Program for Southern Maryland Tri-County area, 1971-1973
  • Foster Care & Protective Services Social Worker – St. Mary’s County Department of Social Services, 1973-1976
  • Law Clerk – Briscoe, Kenney & Kaminetz, 1977-1979
  • Associate Attorney – Briscoe, Kenney & Kaminetz, 1980-1983
  • Private attorney, sole practitioner, 1983 – 2002

Nature of practice as an attorney: land use, zoning and other real estate matters, defense of traffic and
criminal offenses, contracts, collections, motor torts, corporate and administrative matters, domestic
and family law matters, estates and trusts. Represented many private and corporate clients over 23 years of practice, as well as the St. Mary’s County Board of Education, the St. Mary’s County Board of Elections, the St. Mary’s County Alcohol Beverage Board, St. Mary’s Nursing Center, St. Mary’s Home for the Elderly, and the Town of Leonardtown.

BAR ASSOCIATIONS

  • American Bar Association
  • Maryland State Bar Association
  • St. Mary’s County Bar Association
  • Women’s Bar Association of Maryland
  • Maryland Bar Foundation

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

  • Founder and Presiding Judge of St. Mary’s County Adult Substance Abuse Recovery Court, 2009-2019
  • Recipient of The Daily Record’s Leadership in Law Award (2003)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from St. Mary’s County Women’s Commission (2019)

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES PRIOR TO JUDICIAL APPOINTMENT

  • Member, Secretary, Board of Directors, United Way of St. Mary’s County
  • Member, President, Board of Directors, St. Mary’s Nursing Center Foundation
  • Member, Board of Directors, Calvert Marine Museum & Calvert Marine Museum Society
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Historic St. Mary’s City Foundation
  • Trustee, Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust

PROFESSIONAL LICENSES AND ASSOCIATIONS

  • Member, American Bar Association (1979 to present)
  • Member, Maryland State Bar Association (1979 to present)
  • Member, St. Mary’s County Bar Association (1979 to present, Past President, 1983)
  • Member, Women’s Bar Association of Maryland (1980 to present)
  • Fellow, Maryland Bar Foundation (1999 to present)
  • Former Member, Circuit Court Judges Association
  • Character Committee, Maryland Bar for St. Mary’s County, Maryland (1997 to 2002)
  • Inquiry Committee for the Attorney Grievance Committee (1997 to 2002)
  • Seventh Circuit Trial Courts Judicial Nominating Commission
  • Maryland School Board Attorneys’ Association (1986 to 2002)
  • Mary’s County Family Violence Coordinating Council

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

  • Rotary Club of Leonardtown
  • Rotary Club of Charlotte Hall
  • Rotary Club of Lexington Park
  • Lions Club of Leonardtown
  • Seventh District Optimists Club
  • NAACP of St. Mary’s County
  • Retired Federal Employees Association

VOLUNTEER LEGAL ACTIVITIES

  • Member of the Seventh Circuit Trial Courts Judicial Nominating Commission
  • Conference of Circuit Court Judges
  • Inquiry Committee of the Attorney Grievance Commission
  • Public Defender Regional Advisory Board
  • Attorney Character Committee for St. Mary’s County
  • Maryland Council of School Board Attorneys

FORMER TEACHING AND FACULTY POSITIONS AND EXPERIENCE

  • Instructor, Paralegal Studies, College of Southern Maryland