Meet Karen Desoto, a Clear and Decisive Voice

Court-adjourns-trial-of-ex-Bank-PHB-Spring-Bank-MDs-over-N125bn-fraud-till-March-22You may have seen her years ago on Court TV, or in recent years on CNN Headline News, Fox News, ABC News, or MSNBC (on shows like NBC News or The TODAY Show) providing insights on high-profile legal cases in the news. Karen Desoto’s career is more than what you see on TV.

Different facets of Karen DeSoto

Karen Desoto has been a lifelong vocal advocate for civil rights as a practicing attorney.  She represented many cases pro bono to give legal voice [and defence] to those that were the victims of employment discrimination. She remains active in the community fighting for equal rights, and in 2015 was honored by the NAACP [alongside Senator Cunningham and four others] for her good works. The Hudson Reporter named her to their Top 50 Most Influential People of Hudson County, NJ, calling her ‘a force to be reckoned with.

Ms. DeSoto worked hard for every achievement she attained. She put herself through college, graduating the Beasley School of Law (Temple University) with a Juris Doctorate and Masters of Law & Trial Advocacy.

Fresh out of college she began her career as a public defender, then a prosecutor, segueing into private practice where she founded the Center for Legal Justice. By early 2000’s she became the first woman, first Hispanic, and youngest attorney to ever be appointed Chief Corporate Counsel for the city of Jersey City, New Jersey.

Karen appeared as a guest speaker at local colleges and community centers whenever time allowed. Several years back she was named to the list of Hispanics on The Move in the magazine Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, and was named Attorney of the Year for the Puerto Rican Day Parade by the Heritage Foundation.

Since 2015 Karen has shifted her attentions. While she continues to appear on television as a legal analyst, the rest of her attention is focused on her work at the Institute for Dispute Resolution, an initiative (she co-founded) at the School of Business (New Jersey City University), as a professor at the university and co-director of the Institute she is highly-engaged with students.  And she continues to serve as a coach for the students that travel overseas and compete in international mediation competitions on behalf of the Institute.

Karen, when she is not working, gives her time to her family and her community.

You can learn more about Karen Desoto at, Karen Desoto, info,


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.


Why The IDR Has Become a Promising Institute in New Jersey?

The NJCU’s Institute for Dispute Resolution has brought a ray of hope for the people of New Jersey. Co-founded and co-directed by Karen DeSoto and DKaren Desotoavid Weiss, the Institute not only provides exceptional learning in the field of international negotiation and mediation, but also plays a crucial role through their applied research department in affecting policy.

Recently, the Garden State got a new law which has made it a lot friendlier toward international businesses than what it was before, and the credit goes to the IDR for proposing this legislation to the state Legislature. This legislation, which is known as the International Arbitration, Mediation and Conciliation Act, was signed into law by the New Jersey governor, Chris Christie on February 7, 2017. The law is surely a boon for business owners who want to avoid lengthy legal battles, and is going to make the state a booming hub for businesses.

Steven Fulop, Jersey City’s Mayor recently said, “Our geographic location is really advantageous. We’re in proximity to the biggest media market in the world, huge financial services. If you’re going to have a global footprint, you’re going to have a presence generally in Manhattan. What we’ve tried to do over the past couple years is kind of make it a seamless transition from our waterfront all the way to Manhattan and we’ve attracted some really great corporations moving from elsewhere here.”

By contributing towards the development of this much-needed law, the Institute for Dispute Resolution is all set to change the face of business and trade in NJ.


3 Things That Makes A Good TV Legal Analyst

This is a curious world that we live in. Most of us are happy to learn new things and gain information on various subjects. As a matter of fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to state that many of us are on the constant lookout for expert views.

So, for those who are searching for those brainy people in the legal world who can give valuable insights to their TV audience on the latest legal matters, here are some simple tips to follow!


Look At The 3 E’s: Education, Experience & Expertise

You can never undermine the importance of education when it comes to the law. A legal analyst can’t share insights without a strong understanding of the law itself. And while that education is important, they must also be able to interpret that law and its application to the case at hand. The law has a lot of jargon, legal-ese as it were, so look for an analyst that can break it down into layman’s terms.

Find And Follow

Most on air commentators have a digital footprint. Legal analysts are no different. Most have a website and various social media pages to engage and interact with their followers. If you were to review the website of , an on air legal analyst for NBC News. you’d see that she has appeared on many TV shows to discuss high profile cases; this include the Conrad Murray case (regarding the death of Michael Jackson), the Boston Marathon bombing, and many others. She also maintains professional profiles on Facebook, G+, Linkedin and Twitter.


Remember – ‘Communication’ Is The Key!

 Breaking down and converting legal jargon into everyday English and, presenting a clear and concise explanation of what is happening, what could happen — and why –, is what makes a good news show legal analyst.

3 Reasons Why Karen Desoto Is A Woman To Admire


Karen DeSoto has built a reputation of a woman of knowledge, grit, and energy. She has a storied career that includes lawyer, television personality., professor, advocate, and mentor.

She was the youngest lawyer, the first woman and first hispanic to ever be named Chief Corporate Counsel for the city of Jersey City, NJ.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons we think she is a woman to admire.

We Admire Her For Continuously Contributing Towards Her Community

 Be it as a mentor, as an activist, or a vocal advocate who practices law in the areas of civil rights, workplace discrimination rights, election and criminal law, Karen Desoto has taken on many pro bono and/or contingency cases to stand for those that had no voice alone. She is both caring and fierce, earning honors like Humanitarian of the Year; Top 50 Most Influential (list), Attorney of the Year; Top 50 Hispanics on the Move (list), and one of six honored recently by the NAACP (Jersey City Chapter).

We Admire Her For Her Spirit To Spread The Knowledge That She Has Gained

 Together with David Weiss she co-founded the Institute for Dispute Resolution at New Jersey City University, where she serves as the Institute’s  co-director, and as a professor. She has long given back to young people, as a guest speaker at colleges and community centers in the area, and as a coach for the Institute students who she works with in preparation for for international mock trials and other competitions they attend and participate in.

We Admire Her For Her Passion

Karen Desoto is also a  legal analyst for NBC News, appearing on air to provide legal insight for high profile cases in the news. Through the years Ms. Desoto has appeared on NBC News, The Today Show, MSNBC, Fox News, ABC News, CNN, and Headline News.