Karen Getman

Karen Getman

Ms. Getman served as Chairman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission from March, 1999 to April, 2003.  She was a member of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Appeals Board from May, 2003 through February, 2005.

Ms. Getman advises government entities and private parties on complex matters of statutory and constitutional interpretation.  She advises candidates, committees, and public agencies regarding compliance with campaign finance and conflict of interest laws, financial disclosure requirements, open meeting laws, and use of public funds.  She has served as an expert consultant on conflict of interest, campaign finance and lobbying. 

Ms. Getman also advises the California Teachers Association on matters relating to the constitutional school funding guarantee and was lead counsel in CTA v. Schwarzenegger (2006), which resulted in restoration of billions in school funding, and associate counsel in CTA v. Gould (1996), which also brought billions in additional funds for K-12 public schools.

Ms. Getman represents a variety of clients in public policy and constitutional litigation and all aspects of ballot measure drafting and qualification.  She helped draft and defend Propositions 30 (2012) and 55 (2016), which dedicated income tax increases to public school funding.  She has successfully challenged a local ordinance’s ban on inter-candidate transfers of campaign contributions; succeeded in contesting certification of a proposed manual count voting system; represented the League of Women Voters in litigation over the counting of write-in ballots in the San Diego mayoral race; represented the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties as amici in Vargas v. Salinas (2009) 46 Cal.4th 1; represented the Superintendent of Public Instruction in California School Board Association v. California State Board of Education, No. C060957, 2010 WL 1692760 (Cal. App. 2010), a successful challenge to state mathematics requirements; represented the California Teachers Association as amicus in California Redevelopment Assn. v. Matosantos (2011) 53 Cal.4th 231; and helped successfully defend the State Board of Education, Superintendent of Public Instruction and State Department of Education against a preliminary injunction motion in Cruz v. State (Alameda Superior Ct., 2015).

Ms. Getman was a lecturer at U.C. Berkeley School of Law from 2004-2011, co-teaching the course on Regulating Public Integrity.  She was the first Executive in Residence at the Center on Politics at the University of California, Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, where she also served as a member of the National Advisory Council.  Ms. Getman previously served on the boards of Women Executives in State Government and Students Run Oakland, and was a member of the Assembly Speaker’s Commission on the California Initiative Process.

Ms. Getman spoke on “Whistleblowers” at the U.C. Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy’s Global Leadership Program in July 2014, and on “Political Activity and the Board” at the 18th Annual Stanford Directors’ College in June 2012.  Her publications include co-authoring with Stanford Law Professor Pam Karlan a chapter in Conflict of Interest and Public Life (Cambridge Univ. Press 2008).  She also authored chapters in Win the Right Way (Berkeley Public Policy Press 2005) and California Votes: The 2002 Governor’s Race and the Recall That Made History (Berkeley Public Policy Press 2003).

  • Education

    • Yale University (B.A. 1980) • with distinction
    • Harvard Law School (J.D. 1985) • cum laude; Editor-in-Chief, Harvard Women's Law Journal
  • Admissions

    • California
    • District of Columbia (not active)
    • New York (not active)

Representative Highlights+

Results described below were dependent on the facts of that particular case. Prior results do not guarantee or predict similar outcomes.