Karen Thompson Headshot


Senior Staff Attorney


Legal Department

Karen Thompson is a Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU-NJ. Karen works on civil rights and constitutional issues, with a particular focus on racial inequality. She litigates in trial and appellate courts and advocates in an array of venues, including state agencies, school districts and municipalities.

Prior to joining the ACLU of New Jersey, she was a senior staff attorney at the Innocence Project, where she successfully represented clients in post-conviction and appellate proceedings, winning several motions for DNA testing and vacating the wrongful convictions of clients in Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. Karen was previously the Director of Scholarship Programs at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, where she advanced and modernized the programs for students interested in pursuing racial equity and social justice. As an associate at Morrison & Foerster and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, she represented criminal defendants and asylum seekers as part of her rigorous pro bono practice.

Karen holds a B.A. in English and African-American studies from Carleton College, a M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University, and a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law. Karen started with the ACLU in May 2019.