Karen Coolman Amlong

Karen Coolman Amlong

Location:
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Phone:
954-519-2235
Email:

I was born on August 26, the anniversary of the day that women won the right to vote. Being politically active and an advocate for women's rights came naturally. A legacy or destiny.

I started college with no thought of becoming an employment discrimination lawyer. As an award-winning high-school artist (National First Prize in the "Hallmark Cards High School Talent Search") I won a full scholarship to Michigan State University, from which I graduated (magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) with an ever-so-useful degree in Art History.

My radicalizing experience for a born-on-the-26-of-August woman was not so much of an epiphany as a reality check: getting passed over for promotion in my first job out of college in favor of a man because you'll get married, get pregnant and quit. Women in the 70s were supposed to have husbands, babies and homes not careers. I sensed that I'd been discriminated against, but didn't know what to do about it. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was relatively young. Few lawyers brought gender discrimination suits. (The only reason that women had been included in the Act was because a segregationist opponent sponsored a floor amendment, thinking that including women would create enough baggage to sink it.)

So, I somehow was drawn to an organizational meeting for a Fort Lauderdale chapter of the National Organization for Women and its message of equality catapulted me into driving around the state for a couple of years in a 1960 Oldsmobile with two babies in tow to organize NOW chapters across the state. NOW honored me by electing me to its National Board of Directors in 1972. I lobbied in Tallahassee for the Equal Rights Amendment in 1973 and 1974. A male legislator told me that no one like you' could ever get elected. I did, in 1974 (at age 27), as the first woman from Broward County, Florida, to serve in the Florida House of Representatives. My campaign slogan during that Watergate/watershed year: It's time.

One term in the Florida House was enough. I retired from politics and went to law school, graduating and becoming a lawyer in 1979.

In 1982, I married my now-partner and soul mate Bill Amlong (a former Miami Herald reporter I had met while I was in Tallahassee but that's another story). We started our little mom and pop law firm that year, struggling like most small businesses do. I did (and still do) a lot of family law; while Bill did a little bit of everything at the beginning.

He started litigating the discrimination cases that my former NOW colleagues referred to us, which got us started in employment rights. We are still a mom and pop law firm, although we have grown far beyond our initial vision and now concentrate primarily on workers' rights. We've done well. I won Florida's first significant sexual harassment judgment. Stockett v. Tolin, 791 F. Supp. 1536 (S.D. Fla. 1992). Bill won a Supreme Court case that changed the contours of sexual harassment litigation.

Since Stockett, I have tried dozens of other cases about sexual harassment and gender discrimination. I have practiced more than 25 years. I am AV Peer Review Rated* through Martindale-Hubbell and rated 10 by AVVO. I have lectured extensively on employment law, discrimination and sexual harassment on local, state, national and international levels. I teach at the Florida Bar Labor & Employment Section's intensive trial skills program.

I love what I do. I believe in women. I believe in people being judged on what they can do, not on things they can't change like their genders, their races or their ages.

We have an amazing group of people in our law firm with an incredible collection of talents and passion for what they do. We seek out the non-traditional. That is our strength.

Think about it.

 

Year Joined Firm

  • 1982

Areas of Practice

  • Civil Rights Litigation
  • Child Custody Litigation
  • Divorce Litigation
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Sex Discrimination/Gender Discrimination
  • Age Discrimination
  • Whistleblower and Retaliation
  • Employment Contract Litigation
  • Non-Compete Litigation
  • Administrative Litigation
  • Professional Licensing and Disciplinary Proceedings
  • Marital and Family Law
  • Labor and Employment Law

Litigation Percentage

  • 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Florida, 1979
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida, 1983
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida
  • Southern District of Florida Trial Bar, 1985
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida, 1995
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1987
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1998

Education

  • Nova University Center for the Study of Law, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
    • J.D. - 1979
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
    • B.A. magna cum laude - 1968
    • Honors: Phi Beta Kappa
    • Honors: Won a Full Scholarship
    • Major: Art History

Representative Cases

Classes/Seminars

  • Volunteer Faculty, Florida Bar Five-Day Employment Law Trial Skills Workshop, Stetson University, 1997
  • Volunteer Faculty, Florida Bar Five-Day Employment Law Trial Skills Workshop, Stetson University, 1999
  • Volunteer Faculty, Florida Bar Five-Day Employment Law Trial Skills Workshop, Stetson University, 2001
  • Volunteer Faculty, Florida Bar Five-Day Employment Law Trial Skills Workshop, Stetson University, 2002
  • Volunteer Faculty, Florida Bar Five-Day Employment Law Trial Skills Workshop, Stetson University, 2004
  • Panelist, "What Does the Future Hold for Labor and Employment Law Practice?", The Florida Bar Labor and Employment Section, Advanced Labor Topics, Ponte Vedre Beach, FL, 2006
  • Lecturer, "Florida State Court Discovery & Motion Practice", Florida Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, Fall Conference, St. Petersburg, FL, 2006
  • Presenter, "Graphics 101: A Primer for Lawyers", Florida Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, Spring Conference, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 2006
  • Presenter, "Doing Well by Doing Good: Making Money as Civil Rights Lawyers", Florida Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, Spring Conference, Melbourne, FL, 2005
  • Presenter, "Sex Discrimination and the Law", American Association of University Women, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 2005
  • Workshop leader and lecturer, "Using Computer Graphics to Tell a Memorable Story", National Employment Lawyers Association, Fifteenth Annual Convention, San Antonio, TX, 2004
  • Presenter, "The (Unwritten) Rules of Engagement: How it Really Works in State Courts in Florida", Florida Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers, Spring Conference, Melbourne, FL, 2004
  • Lecturer, "Confronting the Villains, Strategic Use of the Adverse Witness, The Harasser", National Employment Lawyers Association, The Theater of Reality: Trial Skills for the Plaintiffs Employment Lawyer, Atlanta, GA, 2003
  • Lecturer, "Visual Story Telling: How to Demonstrate Themes, Liability and Damages", National Employment Lawyers, Fourteenth Annual Convention, Vail, CO, 2003
  • Panelist, Round Table Discussion, Florida Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, Spring Conference, Melbourne, FL, 2003
  • Plenary Session Speaker, "Strategies for Victory: Maximizing Your Client's Recovery in Employment Cases", National Employment Lawyers, Thirteenth Annual Convention, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 2002
  • Moderator, "Negotiations: Strategies & Techniques", National Employment Lawyers, Thirteenth Annual Convention, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 2002
  • Presenter, "Storming and Blocking the Bates", Georgia Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, Negril, Jamaica, 2001
  • Lecturer, "Discovery: Practical Tips and Considerations: A No-Muss, No-Fuss Guide to Getting What you Need Even If It Might Not Be Everything You Want", Florida Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, Fall Seminar, St. Petersburg, FL, 2001
  • Lecturer, "2000-2001 Awards: Employment Discrimination Update", American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Florida Lawyers Conference, Key West, FL, 2001
  • Presenter, "Use and Abuse of Expert Witnesses, National Employment Lawyers Association", Litigating Harassment and Hostile Environment Claims, San Diego, CA, 2001
  • Presenter, "The Glass Ceiling", American Association of University Women, Boca Raton, FL, 2001
  • Lecturer, "Presenting and Defending Against Damage Claims in State Court Actions", Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education Committee and the Labor and Employment Section, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 2000
  • Lecturer, "Presenting and Defending Against Damage Claims in State Court Actions", Nuts and Bolts of Employment Litigation, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 2000
  • Lecturer, "How to Recover and Defend Against Attorneys' Fees", Florida Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, Fall Seminar, St. Petersburg, FL, 2000
  • Lecturer, "So What Is Sexual Harassment Anyway and How Do I Keep From Getting Sued?", PAC Industry Fund (Plumbing Contractors), West Palm Beach, FL, 2000
  • Lecturer, "Defining Essential Characteristics of Lawyers", National Conference of Bar Examiners, Chicago, IL, 2000
  • Lecturer, "Litigating Sexual Harassment Claims for Love and Money in the Southern District", Florida, Volunteer Lawyers Project, Florida Justice Seminar, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 1999
  • Lecturer, "The Opening Argument", National Employment Lawyers Association, Trial Practice for the Employment Lawyer, Seattle, WA, 1999
  • Lecturer, "Discovery Abuse: Problems and Solutions, Tactics and Techniques", Florida Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, Fall Seminar, Clearwater, FL, 1999
  • Lecturer, "Using the Courts to Change the Law", Broward Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 1998
  • Lecturer, "Sexual Harassment and Employment Discrimination", Broward County Trial Lawyers, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 1998
  • Lecturer, "Psychological and Legal Methods for Evaluating Claimed Psychological Injuries, American Bar Association Employee Rights and Responsibilities Committee, Mid-Winter Meeting, Tuscon, AZ, 1998
  • Lecturer, "Beware of ADA Mixed Motive Exposure: Ensuring that a Jury Believes a Termination was Solely for a Non-Discriminatory Reason and Rotting Roses: Protecting your Organization from the Escalating (and Expensive) Consequences of Sex and Violence in Today's Workplace", Council on Education Management, Personnel Law Update 1997, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 1997
  • Lecturer, "Use of Experts", Florida Bar Labor & Employment Section, Orlando, FL, 1997
  • Lecturer, "Combating Discovery Abuse in Employment Discrimination Case", Florida Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, Annual Meeting, St. Petersburg, FL, 1997
  • Lecturer, "Litigating Sexual Harassment Cases for Fun and Profit", Hispanic National Bar Association, Miami, FL, 1996
  • Lecturer, "Current Issues in Sexual Harassment Litigation", American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law, Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL, 1996
  • Lecturer, "When the Lawyer is the Employer: Gender Discrimination in Hiring, Compensation and Promotion", Florida Bar Labor and Employment Law Section and the Gender Equality in the Profession Committee, Orlando, FL, 1996
  • Lecturer, "Overview of Employment Law", National Association of Securities Dealers, Employment Law Seminar, Boca Raton, FL, 1995
  • Lecturer, "Damages", Florida Bar Labor and Employment Law, Litigation Seminar, Orlando, FL, 1995
  • Lecturer, "Sexual Harassment in the Work Place: Remedies and How to Prove Damages", Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, Orlando, FL, 1995
  • Lecturer, "Indecent Exposure: Proof and Defense of Punitive Damage Claims", Southern Methodist University, Thirteenth Annual Multi-State Labor and Employment Law Seminar , Tuscon, AZ, 1995
  • Lecturer, "Selection and Use of Expert Witnesses: Strategies for Calculating Damages and Employing Psychological Experts", Florida Bar Labor and Employment Section, Advanced Current Labor Topics Seminar Amelia Island, FL, 1994
  • Lecturer, "Gender Equality", The Florida Bar, Bridge the Gap Seminar, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 1993
  • Lecturer, "Sexual Harassment", Florida Bar Labor and Employment Section Seminar, Miami, FL 1992, 1992
  • Lecturer, "Sexual Harassment", Roller Coaster Ride: The New Wave of Employment Litigation under the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992, Miami, FL 1992, 1992
  • Lecturer, "Sexual Harassment", Federal Civil Rights Act of 1991, Miami, FL, 1992
  • Presenter, "A Ten Minute Primer on Sexual Harrassment in the Workplace", American Association of Justice, 2013 Annual Convention, Litigation at Sunrise Series, San Francisco, CA 2013
  • Presenter, "Litigation from the Plaintiff's Perspective: Avoiding Mistakes Employers Make", Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing of North America, Inc. (TEMA) Supplier Executive Conference/Fisher & Phillips, LLP, Erlanger, KY 2012, 2012
  • Presenter, "Practicing", Nova Southeastern University Law School, 2012
  • Presenter, "Making the Most of Victory: Calculating and Presenting Damages in Employment Cases" , Florida Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers, Winter Conference, Daytona Beach, FL 2012
  • Lecturer, "Modification of Child Support" , Florida Chapter of Matrimonial Lawyers and The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, Martial and Family Law Review Course, Orlando, FL 2012
  • Presenter, "Direct Examination and Cross Examination" , Florida Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers, Winter Conference, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 2011
  • Lecturer, "Business Valuation in Divorce" , The Florida Bar, Family Law Section, Marital and Family Law Review Course, 2011
  • Presenter, "Neutralizing the Defense Expert" , Florida Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers, Fall Conference. St. Petersberg, FL, 2010
  • Presenter, "E.G., The Glass Ceiling in 2010: Why Employment Law is (Still) a Good Place to Be" , Nova Southeastern University Law School, 2010

Honors and Awards

  • AV Peer Review Rated through Martindale-Hubbell
  • Top Law Firms in South Florida, South Florida Legal Guide, 2002 - 2008
  • Super Lawyers Top Lawyer in Florida, Employment and Labor, 2007 - 2008
  • Feminists Who Changed America: 1963 to 1975, 2006
  • ABA GP-Solo Small Firm Practitioner of Merit Award, 2004 - 2005
  • Palm Beach NOW Appreciation Award, 2004
  • Chambers USA's Leading Business Lawyers, 2003 - 2004
  • FastTrack Magazine, One of South Florida's Fifty Most Successful Business Women, 2002
  • Florida NELA President's Award, 1999
  • Florida NOW Glass Ceiling Award, 1998
  • Broward County Women's Hall of Fame, 1995
  • Broward County NOW, Women's Equality Day Award, 1993
  • Florida NOW, Woman of the Year, Government Category, Women in Communications, 1975
  • Outstanding Democrat of the Year, Young Democrat Club of Broward County, 1974
  • NOW, National Board of Directors, 1972

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Broward County Bar Association, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • National Employment Lawyers Association, Member
  • American Association for Justice, Member
  • The Florida Bar, Member
  • Florida Board of Bar Examiners, Member, 1995 - 2000
  • Florida House of Representatives, Member, 1974 - 1976
  • State of Florida Commission on the Status of Women, Member, 1993 - 1996
  • Broward County Charter Review Commission, Member, 1994 - 1996
  • Broward County Commission on the Status of Women, Member, 1992 - 1994
  • Florida Justice Association
  • Florida Bar, Communications Law Committee, 1985 - 1987
  • Florida Bar, Family Law Rules Committee, 1987 - 1988
  • Florida Bar, Labor and Employment Section, Judicial Education Committee, 2004
  • Broward County Planning and Zoning Board, 1978 - 1979
  • Broward County Health Planning and Development Council, Member, 1975 - 1982
  • Florida House of Representatives, 1974 - 1976
  • Broward County, Charter Commission, Law Enforcement Subcommittee, 1974
  • Florida Chapter of National Employment Lawyers Association

Past Employment Positions

  • Holmes & Holmes, P.A., Shareholder, 1980 - 1982

Fraternities/Sororities

  • Pi Beta Phi
  • Phi Beta Kappa