Karen M. Hardwick, Esq.
Karen Hardwick is a versatile attorney appointed as General Counsel of the University of the District of Columbia in March of 2016. She brings to UDC her nearly 30-year proven track record of solving complex legal problems for both public and private enterprises.
Karen served most recently as the City Attorney and General Counsel for the City of Annapolis, Maryland, the historic municipal corporation with a $99 million operating budget and $88 million capital improvement program. As an active member of the mayoral cabinet during her tenure, she helped the city leadership manage changes in city governance, labor and employment, public finance, public works and related legal matters and disputes.
Earlier in her career, Karen was named the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the District of Columbia’s Anacostia Waterfront Development Corporation. Working for the quasi-public enterprise in those capacities, she led the negotiations of an array of complex corporate transactions, crafted optimal legal solutions to mitigate high-stakes policy and operating risks, and provided integral legal and policy support to the board of directors.
Karen launched her legal career as an associate at Hogan and Hartson (known now as Hogan Lovells), where she was distinguished as the firm’s first African-American woman to rise up through the ranks to be promoted into equity partnership. Her practice at Hogan focused on high-stakes commercial litigation and complex investigations for companies in the commercial real estate, technology and insurance industries.
As Karen rose to prominence in the District of Columbia legal community, she was tapped by the mayor to join the board of directors for the National Capital Revitalization Corporation (NCRC) and, eventually, appointed to take over as board chair. Under Karen’s leadership, NCRC spearheaded a number of iconic economic development initiatives in the District, including the award-winning revitalization of the Columbia Heights neighborhood. As a result of her success with NCRC, Karen was honored with awards from the District of Columbia Chamber of Commerce and the Building Industry Association.
Throughout her career, Karen has been a visible leader of the local business community and not-for-profit initiatives. She has served as a Vice-Chair of the Board of the District of Columbia Chamber of Commerce, as programmatic co-chair for Leadership Greater Washington, and Vice-Chair of the National Black Child Development Institute. Karen continues almost a decade of service as Vice-President of the Washington Children’s Foundation, a not-for-profit organization focused on preventing child abuse and funding wrap-around services for victims of child abuse.
Karen is a 1988 graduate of the Harvard Law School and a 1985 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Engineering. She lives with her husband in the District and Annapolis, and has served several terms on the Vestry of Washington’s oldest church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Rock Creek Parish.