Karen Rabenau

Karen Rabenau

Of Counsel

Karen Rabenau

Karen Rabenau

Of Counsel

Practice Areas
Civil Litigation
Serious Personal Injury & Wrongful Death
Business Torts
Professional Negligence

Hollins College, B.A., 1989 Phi Beta Kappa
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, J.D., 1992

Bar Admissions
North Carolina, 1992

Court Admissions
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina, 1992
U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina, 1993
U.S. District Court, Western District of North Carolina, 1994
U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 1994

Karen Rabenau is a versatile and dedicated litigator, representing clients in many areas of civil litigation and communications law. Prior to joining SMVT as counsel, she was a partner with Twiggs Strickland & Rabenau in Raleigh and Research Triangle Park, where she practiced for twenty-six years. Ms. Rabenau’s litigation experience encompasses a wide range of tort cases, including unfair and deceptive trade practices and theft of intellectual property on behalf small business owners, professional negligence, vehicular negligence, and premises liability matters on behalf of individuals and estates. Ms. Rabenau also represents media outlets, small business owners and journalists in media and First Amendment law.

Ms. Rabenau is an AV Preeminent rated attorney in Martindale-Hubbell and has been recognized in Best Lawyers in America every year since 2003. She has also been named a North Carolina Super Lawyer every year since 2005

Ms. Rabenau’s professional service in the legal community includes the board of governors for the North Carolina Bar Association as well as the board’s Audit & Finance Committee. She has also chaired the North Carolina Bar Association Litigation Section, convening meetings at our state’s law schools to connect current and future litigators. As chair of the Noth Carolina Bar Association Medico–Legal Liaison Committee, Ms. Rabenau produced an educational video for North Carolina physicians to practically illustrate the North Carolina Medical Legal Guidelines and promote understanding about day-to-day situations in which the worlds of physicians and attorneys often intersect and sometimes collide.

Ms. Rabenau has also served on the North Carolina Bar Foundation Board of Governors, a nonprofit proving pro bono legal and public service programs. Within the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, Ms. Rabenau has served on its Board of Governors and in roles ranging from annual convention chair, founding member and later chair of the Young Lawyers Division, to chair of the Professional Negligence section.

Ms. Rabenau’s community service includes seven years as a trustee at Durham Academy, a local independent K-12 college preparatory day school, and most recently a two-year commitment as chair of the Durham Academy Board of Trustees. Locally, Ms. Rabenau serves as President of the Friends Board at Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art, and previously on the board of Caring House, a non-profit devoted to housing for cancer patients at Duke Cancer Center. Nationally, Ms. Rabenau serves as a trustee at Hollins University, a private women’s college in Virginia.

While at UNC Law School, Ms. Rabenau was one of two students in her second-year class to be chosen as a member of the Holderness Moot Court National Team. During her undergraduate studies at Hollins College, Ms. Rabenau was a Hollins Scholar and elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Karen and her husband David and their children are curious travelers, enthusiastic cooks, and avid runners. They may be spotted most weekends on Duke’s Al Buehler trail with their family and dogs in tow.

Professional Affiliations

North Carolina Bar Association
Board of Governors, 2018 – Present
Audit & Finance Committee, 2018-Present
Litigation Section Council, Chair, 2016-2017
Litigation Section Council, Vice-Chair, 2015-2016
Committee on Judicial Independence, 2014-2018
Litigation Section Council, Secretary, 2014-2015
Litigation Section Council, Treasurer, 2013-2014
Litigation Section Council, Ethics Co-Chair, 2009-2013
Chair, Medico-Legal Liaison Committee, 2006-2008
Medico-Legal Liaison Committee, 2002-2012
Law Week Committee, 1997-2005
Chair, Law Day Poster Art Committee, 1997-2005
Child Advocacy Committee, 1996-1998

North Carolina Bar Foundation
Board of Governors, 2018-Present
Audit & Finance Committee, 2018-Present

North Carolina Advocates for Justice
(Formerly, The North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers)
President’s Club Member
Board of Governors, 1999-2005 and 2007-2010
Education Committee, 1999-2002
Personnel Committee, 2001-2002
Chair, Professional Negligence Section, 2001-2002
Education Chair, Professional Negligence Section, 1999-2001
Secretary, Professional Negligence Section, 2000-2001
Founding Member, Young Lawyers Division
Chair, Young Lawyers Division, 1997-1998
Secretary, Young Lawyers Division, 1996-1997

American Association for Justice
(Formerly, The Association of Trial Lawyers of America)
Legal Affairs Committee, 2006-2007
New Lawyer’s Division Board of Governors, 2002-2003
Co-Chair Student Trial Advocacy Committee, 1998-2000
Student Trial Advocacy Committee, 1996-2006
Regional Coordinator, Student Trial Advocacy Competition, 2001
Regional Coordinator, Student Trial Advocacy Competition, 1997
Co-Chair, Publications Committee, 1998-1999
Publications Committee, 1998-2001

Wake County Bar Association
Public Service Committee, 1997-1998
Fundraising Committee, Courthouse Kids Center, 1997