Karen Thalacker

Author, 'The New Lawyer's Handbook: 101 Things They Don't Teach You in Law School'

Karen Thalacker is a lifelong Iowan. She contributes to the Huffington Post on matters related to the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice. As a voice from middle America, she offers solid legal commentary with a touch of humor and the sensible perspective of a hands-on wife and mother. She can also provide knitting advice – something the Huff Post’s other legal commentators simply can’t do.

Karen is a graduate of Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, and Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa. She began her legal career as an Assistant County Attorney where she prosecuted criminal cases including the first contested stalking case in the State of Iowa. Karen is currently an attorney with the law firm of Gallagher, Langlas, and Gallagher. She has a general practice and represents clients on the following matters: domestic relations/family law, civil litigation, and personal injury. She also serves as a judicial magistrate for Bremer County. Karen is a member of the Bremer County Bar Association and the Iowa State Bar Association and is admitted to practice in state and federal courts in Iowa.

Since 1997, Karen has been a Lecturer in Public Law at Wartburg College, teaching courses in Business Law and Constitutional Law. Additional legal contributions at Wartburg include presenting televised commentaries on the history of the Supreme Court and also the Court under Chief Justice John Roberts. She has participated in panel discussions including First Amendment issues and freedom of the press. Karen has also provided legal commentary on Iowa Public Television's "The Iowa Journal." Her featured guest opinions on the Constitution and the election and on cuts to judicial budgets have been published in the Des Moines Register.

Karen’s book "The New Lawyer's Handbook: 101 Things They Don't Teach You in Law School" (Sourcebooks 2009) explains the ins-and-outs of practicing law to students and new practitioners while tackling tough issues in a fun and engaging way. In calling the book a “necessary read,” The National Jurist said this about “The New Lawyer’s Handbook”: [It] should actually be called “The Answer to Every Question You’re Afraid to Ask an Actual Lawyer (Especially One Who Employs You.)”

Karen is the author of two award-winning knitting books for children: “Knitting with Gigi” (Martingale & Co. 2007) and “Gigi Knits ... and Purls” (Martingale & Co. 2008). One of her proudest moments was winning Best of Show in Hand Knitting at the Iowa State Fair. (If you think lawyers are tough, you should meet competitive knitters.)

She is active in her community including serving eleven years on the Waverly Health Center Board of Trustees. Karen has been named a Friend of Education by the Waverly-Shell Rock Community School District and she also received a key to the city for efforts on behalf of victims of domestic violence. She has served as President of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and also chair of the school board at St. Paul’s Lutheran School.

Karen and her husband Pete have four active and entertaining children. Karen can be reached at