The Honorable Karen Khalil was first elected in 1992, the youngest judge serving in Michigan at the time and the first woman to serve her district in the Seventeenth District Court, Redford Township, Michigan. During close to 29 years on the bench, she has served with distinction, and has been selected to serve as the Court’s Chief Judge for the majority of her time on the bench. She has presided over thousands of drunk and impaired driving cases during her tenure. Under her leadership, she established an “Intensive Supervised Probation” program in 2000, eventually incorporating the 10 key components of the drug court model. Then in 2011, she led her court to become one of the first Veterans Courts in the State of Michigan. She has been the Presiding Judge of the Veterans Court program since its inception, and is preparing to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of this important program with the treatment court team and the participants who have benefited from it.
Judge Khalil has devoted a great deal of time throughout her judicial career to planning a variety of different training sessions that give community leaders maximum access and educational exposure to the court system. She serves as a faculty member for the Michigan Judicial Institute and teaches and mentors other judges, especially in relation to her position teaching at New Judges School. She is a treatment court leader and a longtime member of the Board of Directors of the Michigan Association of Treatment Court Professionals. Judge Khalil frequently serves as a guest lecturer at colleges and conferences. She is a contributing author and has been featured in a number of different publications.
She attributes her success in the legal profession to the strong foundation that was laid during her early years in the profession in the legal departments at two of the big three. Immediately prior to her time on the bench, Judge Khalil served as a Staff Attorney for Chrysler Corporation. Her experiences at both Ford Motor Company and Chrysler gave her a broad overview of the legal profession and the far reaching impact of sound lawyering and solid business practices. While at Chrysler, she was also the corporate counsel representative on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Opportunities for Minorities in the Profession and a leader in the Minority Counsel Demonstration Project.
Judge Khalil is a graduate of Albion College and the University of Detroit School of Law. She is married and has two young adult children.