Skip to main content

Karen A Bower

Education Attorney at Washington, DC

5.0   2 reviews
  • State Years
    Maryland - MD 8 years
    New York - NY 25 years
    Dist. of Columbia - DC 27 years
    Pennsylvania - PA 30 years
  • Licensed for 8 years
    State MD
    Acquired 2016
    Active No misconduct found
  • Licensed for 25 years
    State NY
    Acquired 1998
    Currently Registered No misconduct found
  • Licensed for 27 years
    State DC
    Acquired 1996
    Good Standing No misconduct found
  • Licensed for 30 years
    State PA
    Acquired 1994
    Administrative Suspension No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Karen

Learn Karen’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Education
    Karen represents college students with mental illness who are facing disciplinary action, suspension, or denial of reasonable accommodations.

    31 years

  2. Civil rights
    Karen Bower's focus is mental health law in higher education. Visit for information about your rights and links to resources.

    31 years

  3. Discrimination
    Karen represents college students with mental illness who have been subjected to disability discrimination.

    31 years

I have been a trial attorney for more than 20 years. I pride myself on being a creative and zealous advocate for and trusted advisor to my clients. 

My practice focuses on representing college students who have mental illness and have been placed on leave of absence or suspension, have been charged with disciplinary action, or have been denied reasonable accommodations. 

I work with clients experiencing disability discrimination to evaluate their options and find solutions that work best for them. Whether a client decides to pursue informal advocacy, file an administrative complaint, or bring a lawsuit to vindicate their rights, I can help.

I am admitted to practice in DC and NY. My practice is limited to federal anti-discrimination law. Practice areas: Americans with Disabilities Act, campus mental health, discrimination, disability law, higher education.


The Law Office of Karen Bower
1629 K St NW Ste 300
Washington, DC, 20006-1631
Karen A Bower
1629 K St NW Ste 300
Washington, DC, 20006-1631
Hide locations

Education lawyers nearby


5.0 / 5.0
  2 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Posted by Michigan | January 17, 2017
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Karen helped me fight my powerful school against discrimination and xenophobia
In 2015, I was asked by my medical school to leave the M.D. program citing my academic under-performance. At that time, I had serious family obligations, due to which I could not fully dedicate my time at the school. I could not take time off of school either because my 'green card' application was still pending-- anything that would jeopardize my immigration status in the US would possibly affect my green card approval. Despite my numerous attempts, I had not been able to get an appointment with a physician at the medical school's student clinic. Later, I found out that the months of delay in referral to a psychiatrist was because of clerical incompetence at the clinic, who was later fired of the job. In February 2015, I was diagnosed with moderately severe depression and moderate anxiety and put on medication by a physician's assistant (PA), after I my plea to see any medical profession at the clinic. Soon after, I was able to see an actual psychiatrist due to urgent referral of the PA. The psychiatrist, after evaluating my situations, wrote a 4-page long letter to the medical school for a 'medical leave of absence'. The school took another 2 months, sending my case from committee to committee, to finally dismissing me from the school sticking to the academic under-performance reason. They made these decisions without letting me testify in person, even though I was allowed to do so before the official MLOA was submitted. This is when I was able to get a hold of Karen Bower. Under her consultation, I requested my educational records from the university, including all the communication among individuals at the medical school, relating to the decision of dismissal. It was discovered that the committees believed that I made up stories to make a case, and that they did not believe the complex situation I was under because of family and immigration issues. It was under Karen's guidance that I finally put a complaint under the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Education. Since, I am still pursuing to go to a medical school, I did not want to take it to the courts, and wanted to get it over with, I ended up signing a resolution agreement that changed my 'dismissal' to 'withdrawal' but would prevent me from applying to the same medical school again. This was the best resolution given the circumstances I was in, and I thank Karen for pushing me to make it happen. On a personal level, I want to thank you, Karen, for being there for me, when it seemed like the whole world was against me.
Read less
Posted by Nathan | September 20, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Ms. Bower got me back in school
Ms. Bower reviewed my situation and clearly explained the options and how we should proceed during every stage of my case. She kept me informed and updated on a regular basis and she was able to get me back in school when it seemed that not only would I have to transfer but that I was going to lose credits in the process. Thanks to her guidance and advocacy, my college career is back on track.
Read less
Response from Karen Bower September 21, 2016
Thank you for your review. I'm glad I was able to assist.


We have not found any cost information for this lawyer

Contact for Details


AVVO RATING 7.5 (Very Good)

Work Experience

  • Principal
  • The Law Office of Karen Bower
  • 2011 - Present
  • Senior Staff Attorney
  • Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
  • 2004 - 2011
  • Supervising Attorney/ Adjunct Clinical Law Professor
  • DC Law Students in Court
  • 2001 - 2004
  • Associate
  • The Goldsmith Law Firm
  • 1999 - 2001
  • Assistant to Court-Appointed Special Master
  • Law Office of Karen Bower
  • 1997 - 1999
  • Women's Law and Public Policy Fellow
  • ACLU National Prison Project
  • 1994 - 1997
View all work experience


  • Georgetown University Law Center
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1993

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Doe v. Hunter College
  • Settled
  • Nott v. George Washington University
  • Settled


  • Jed Foundation
  • Board of Advisors
  • 2011 - Present

Languages Spoken

  • English


  • Bazelon Center Publication
  • Campus Mental Health: Know Your Rights! (co-author)
  • 2008

Speaking Engagements

  • webinar
  • Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Students on College Campuses
  • 2011
  • NYC Higher Ed Taskforce on Student Wellness and Anti-Bullying
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in College Mental Health
  • 2011
  • Modern Challenges of Hate Speech, Safety Concerns and Mental Health Issues on University Campuses
  • Mental Health Concerns on University Campuses
  • 2011
  • Strategies for Success: Responding to Student with Mental Illness
  • Campus Mental Health: Know Your Rights
  • 2010
  • webinar
  • Mental Health Law and Compliance: Debunking the Myths and Fears
  • 2009
  • National Council for Community Behavioral Health 38th Annual Conference
  • Hiding Behind HIPAA (and FERPA): Balancing Privacy Law Fact from Fiction
  • 2008
  • Advocacy Services Statewide Conference
  • Mental Health and Access to Higher Education
  • 2008
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (0)
Given (0)
Endorse Karen
Endorsements from fellow lawyers are an important consideration for many when selecting the right attorney.
This attorney hasn't created any attorney endorsements recently on Avvo.
Washington Education Lawyer Karen A Bower
Karen A Bower
Education Attorney
Washington, DC
Licensed for 30 years