Written by National Association of Women Judges|November 01, 2017|News


Karen G. Johnson-McKewan, an Intellectual Property partner in Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s San Francisco office, is a trial lawyer with thirty-two years of experience. She  concentrates her practice on complex intellectual property and commercial litigation for technology and consumer products companies.  Karen served as Orrick’s San Francisco Office Leader from 2005-2008. She was named one of the 100 “Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business,” by the San Francisco Business Times in 2007 and 2009; and “Forever Influential” in 2010.  Karen was also named one of the “Top Women Litigators” by the Daily Journal (California), in 2010. 

Karen has significant experience litigating and trying particularly intricate cases where simplifying complex technology issues is invaluable, and in finding creative solutions to client problems that lie at the intersection of multiple legal disciplines.  Her engagements have involved matters in technology, internet, media, financial, e-commerce, retail, software and gaming industries in a diverse set of courts and multiple arbitral bodies.  She has led intellectual property and complex commercial  litigation teams for companies such as Oracle, NVIDIA, Netflix, VMWare and Levi Strauss & Co. 

Karen joined the NAWJ Resource Board in 2005, and served as co-chair from 2006 to 2009.  Among her many accomplishments during this period, Karen secured Forster-Long, Inc.’s partnership in producing a statistical summary of gender ratios of the judiciary in every state of the country.  In 2011, Karen assumed the responsibilities of co-chair of the Resource Board for a second time and, together with Elaine Metlin, Esq., played a critical role in moving NAWJ forward.  She continues to serve as co-chair of the Resource Board, along with Cathy Winter.  Karen also served as vice-chair of NAWJ’s California Coordinating Committee for the Informed Voters-Fair Judges Project (IVP) in that project’s first year. 

Orrick provided substantial resources for the IVP in the form of generous financial contributions and pro bono work of its attorneys, who preserved NAWJ’s tax-exempt status and the independence of IVP’s Intellectual property. 

In 2015, Karen received NAWJ’s Florence K. Murray Award for Leadership.

NAWJ appreciates Karen Johnson-McKewan’s dedication for the past twelve years and commitment to further NAWJ’s mission to ensure “Equal Access to Justice for All.”


For more information about the National Association of Women Judges contact Marie Komisar at

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