Attorney Karen L. Marvel is a native San Antonian who still roots for her high school teams and the teams where her children graduated from high school. She loves everything about our city.
In practice, she is a practical family law attorney who understands the challenges her clients are facing. There are some fights worth fighting and there are some fights that won’t help. She brings out-of-the-box solutions to her clients, from mediation to the courtroom. She is compassionate, humorous, and not afraid to tell the truth.
Karen is also a law nerd. Some of her friends call her a “walking Family Code” because of the way she reads and absorbs the law.
She is also the mother of a young adult on the autism spectrum. Seeing the world through his eyes and fighting to get him all the services he needs to succeed gives her the unique skills in helping families with special needs children. She has been where you are. She has fought the school and cried in meetings. She is ready to help you.
There have been a couple of defining moments in her career. The first was her first win at the Texas Supreme Court, In the Interest of M.C.C., 187 S.W.3d 383 (Tex. 2006). This case confirmed that interest on child support was not lowered retroactively. The case impacted many families, making sure they were not cheated out of monies due to them.
The second defining moment was becoming Board Certified in Family Law the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 2008. The work required to take the exam made her a much better lawyer. She learned so much that she still uses every day in practice. Karen had 3 kids under age 10 and a patient husband while she studied and worked full time, but board certification was always her dream and she achieved it.
The third exciting moment in her career was writing a paper and speaking at the Advanced Family Law Course in 2009. This course is one of the largest continuing legal education seminars in the country with over 1,500 of her peers in attendance. As a law clerk and young lawyer, Karen watched her bosses present every year and knew she wanted to do that too. She has spoken several times and each time is as exciting and nerve wracking as the first.
Outside of the office, Karen has three adult children and is married to a lawyer who codes software for lawyers. When she is not working, she does crafty things and plays with her dogs. She also loves to try new restaurants.
Currently Karen volunteers with disABILITYsa.org, a nonprofit whose mission is to make San Antonio the #1 community where people with disabilities can live, learn, work, and play. One of their special programs is Fiesta Especial. Candidates raise money to participate in a Fiesta Court and make appearances in the community. Karen’s son, Carter, was Duke in 2019 and King in 2021. Speaking at schools, riding in parades, and volunteering at community events are just a part of the fun she has alongside her son. In 2022, she co-chaired the Purse-U-Ability Purse Bingo and Auction fundraiser.
In the past Karen taught kindergarten Sunday school at her church for 15 years. She has been a Girl Scout leader, swim team mom, church youth group assistant, and Vice President of Fundraising for the Band Boosters. She chaperoned band and indoor drumline competitions from Austin to Indianapolis to Dayton, OH, for four years during some of her very favorite mom jobs.
Licenses & Memberships
- Attorney and Counselor at Law, Texas, 1987
- Board Certified - Family Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization 2008 - present
- State Bar of Texas & Family Law Section
- Board of Directors, Family Law Section of San Antonio Bar Association, 2002 - 2010; President, 2007-2008
- Board of Directors, Family Law Bar Association – San Antonio, 2020
- Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists, 2009 - present
- Texas Family Law Foundation - Legislative Review Committee: 2009, 2011; 2013
- San Antonio Family Lawyer’s Association, Board of Directors 2011- 2012; President 2013-14
- College of the State Bar of Texas, 2012 - present