3 Things about Karen Desoto That You Should Know


She Is a Thorough Professional

Karen’s career includes practicing law, appearing on TV as a legal analyst for NBC News, a university professor, and the co-founder of the Institute for Dispute Resolution. This combined with her fervent local activism in her community has received notice more than once, with her winning praise and awards throughout — named top 50 most influential in Hudson County, Attorney of the Year, honored by the NAACP, and many more.

She Has the Knowledge Backed By Qualifications

Karen DeSoto holds a Juris Doctorate and a Masters of Law in Trial Advocacy from the Beasley School of Law at Temple University.

Her Experience in the Field Is Worth Appreciating

After graduation, Karen served as a public defender and then prosecutor, before becoming a part of the private sector. By the year 2000, she established the Center for Legal Justice – a law firm focusing on civil rights, employment discrimination, and election law.  In 2001, she became the first woman, first Hispanic and the youngest person to be ever appointed as Chief Corporate Counsel for the city of Jersey City, New Jersey.

A Quick Look at Some of the Achievements of the IDR

Karen Desoto - Legal Analyst

The New Jersey City University’s Institute for Dispute Resolution is an entity of the University Business School. The Institute aims to promote international negotiation and mediation techniques to manage disputes in cross-border commercial, investor-state and general conflict resolution forums. Co-founded by Karen DeSoto and David Weiss, the Institute’s mission is to promote New Jersey as a place to conduct cross border disputes.

Contribution to New Jersey Initiative

The Institute’s contribution to New Jersey was an initiative that they contributed to that was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie on February 7, 2017. The New Jersey International Arbitration, Mediation, and Conciliation Act allows certain nonprofits in the state to organize alternative dispute resolution centers, which would facilitate the resolution of international business and trade disputes through arbitration, mediation or conciliation instead of long legal battles.

Garnering Attention in the CDRC (Consensual Dispute Resolution) Mediation Competition in Vienna

A team of students from the IDR made their mark during the Institute’s first year attending the CDRC (Consensual Dispute Resolution) Mediation Competition in Vienna, Austria. Leman Kaifa and Paola Andrea won an Award for Best Opening Statements, making the Institute proud of their hard work.

Participation in the 12th Annual International Commercial Mediation Competition in Paris, France

Justin Davis, Kaylee Saltos, and Leman Kaifa represented NJCU at this year’s 12th Annual International Commercial Mediation Competition in Paris, France. Out of the sixty-six schools that were chosen to participate in the competition from across the globe, NJCU was the only business school to be chosen from the United States.

How the Students at IDR Are Excelling With the Right Guidance

LawThe youth of any country are their future. And when the students are trained well, they are bound to excel – giving us a promising future ahead of us. This is something that the faculty at the Institute for Dispute Resolution understands quite well.

With the right guidance and coaching from law experts like Karen DeSoto, who is also the co-founder and co-director of the Institute, the students are accomplishing laurels one after the other. IDR keeps outshining others with the caliber, skills and training of its coaches.

Leman Kaifa, who was a part of the NJCU team that won “Most Effective Opening Address” honors at the Vienna competition (Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition) last year, is a political science major who also represented NJCU at this year’s 12th Annual International Commercial Mediation Competition in Paris, France — along with Justin Davis and Kaylee Saltos.

It is important to note that while hundreds of schools applied for participating in the 12th Annual International Commercial Mediation Competition, only sixty-six were chosen, and NJCU was the only business school chosen from the United States.

In the competition, the students participated in [a week-long] mock mediation sessions that provided them practical learning experience. They interacted with other students — as well as professionals — to gain a better understanding of international mediation practices.

The team was coached by Karen DeSoto and Christian Corrales. DeSoto, is also the founder of the Center of Legal Justice. She was the youngest lawyer (and first woman, and first Hispanic) to ever be appointed as Chief Counsel for the city of Jersey City, New Jersey. During her tenure as an attorney, she served as a public defender, a prosecutor, in private practice, and has since 2010 been an on-air legal analyst for many news shows, now under contract for NBC News.