Katherine Karl is a Member in Caplin & Drysdale's Exempt Organizations practice group.


Ms. Karl’s practice focuses on helping tax-exempt organizations find solutions to legal, risk management, and compliance challenges grounded in both a sophisticated understanding of the tax law and perspective that comes from years serving as in-house counsel to two of the nation’s largest charities.


Ms. Karl started her legal career at Caplin & Drysdale in 2006, and prior to returning to the firm in 2022, she served as General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer of The Humane Society of the United States. As a member of the HSUS executive team, Ms. Karl shared responsibility for management of a complex global organization while leading teams that worked across the enterprise on matters including litigation, employment, corporate governance, trusts and estates, and tax. Before her position at HSUS, Ms. Karl was the Deputy General Counsel at the American Cancer Society, where she was the primary counsel on tax and public policy advocacy. Ms. Karl has deep experience implementing practical legal solutions as well as addressing the public relations, governance, and culture challenges that often accompany legal problems. 

While in-house, Ms. Karl maintained her connection to the broader exempt organizations community by regularly speaking at national and regional conferences and staying active with the Association of Corporate Counsel National Capital Region Nonprofit and Associations Committee.

Admissions & Education

Bar & Court Admissions
  • District of Columbia 
  • New York

J.D., Yale Law School, 2005, Yale Law Journal, Yale Law & Policy Review  

B.A., Cornell University, 1999, magna cum laude, with distinction in all subjects

Recognitions & Noteworthy

Honors & Recognitions
  • Outstanding In-House Counsel Award, American Bar Association, Nonprofit Organizations Committee, 2021
  • Top 50 Corporate Counsel, OnCon Icon Award, 2021
  • Washington, D.C.’s Top Corporate Counsel, Trending 40, 2016

Government Service

Law Clerk, Honorable Stephen C. Robinson, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York

Legislative Aide, Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy

Newsroom & Publications

Speaking Engagements
Publications & Alerts
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