Karen Oakes was raised as an Army officer’s daughter — living in various areas of the United States and Panama. Ms. Oakes was born in Michigan and has lived in Georgia, California, South Carolina, Virginia, and Idaho. While living in California as a young adult, she married and began her family. The family expanded dramatically in 1984 when three nieces/nephew were added to the family.
During her third year of law school, Ms. Oakes was selected for a national position with the American Bar Association/Law Student Division as the student director of the national Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program funded by the American Bar Association/Tax Section. During her third year of law school, Ms. Oakes traveled to over 13 conferences of student leaders and encouraged and trained those student leaders to return to their law schools and begin low income taxpayer assistance programs at their law schools. Ms. Oakes graduated with her juris doctorate in 1998 and relocated yet again—this time to Klamath Falls, Oregon.
In 1998, Ms. Oakes accepted the position of law clerk to the five circuit court judges of Klamath County and one circuit court judge of Lake County. In 1999, Ms. Oakes began work as a deputy district attorney at the Klamath County District Attorney’s Office, specializing in domestic violence prosecution. prosecution. Also in 1999, Ms. Oakes began teaching at the Oregon Institute of Technology as an adjunct professor in the paralegal studies program.
During a county budget crisis in 2001, Ms. Oakes’s position was laid off and she began her private practice in September 2001, as a general practice legal services office. From 2001 through 2004, the cases handled by the office were mostly family law, estate planning and landlord-tenant (representing tenants). Currently, the practice is a consumer protection firm, exclusively handling bankruptcy cases, FDCPA cases, and estate planning.