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Karen Willcutts

Hon. Karen Brown Willcutts (Former), FCIArb

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator, Special Master


Case Manager
Trisha Loscalzo
T: 713-651-1400
F: 312-655-0644
609 Main Street, Suite 3930, Houston, TX 77002

Karen Brown Willcutts is available to conduct cases virtually. JAMS is equipped to provide virtual ADR services on a variety of online platforms, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, and more.

Biography

Judge Willcutts combines over 30 years of experience as a trial lawyer, judge, mediator, and arbitrator with her efficient case management skills to effectively and efficiently resolve a wide range of civil litigation matters at JAMS. She is known for her ability to quickly grasp the issues in any legal matter, and is empathetic, persistent, creative, and hardworking.

Since joining JAMS, Judge Willcutts has served as arbitrator of cases including the following:

Representative Arbitrations

  • Party-appointed arbitrator in dispute between construction/maintenance company and railroad involving complex claim for breach of construction contract
  • Party-appointed arbitrator in dispute seeking damages in excess of $1 million for breach of warranties and misrepresentations in Stock Purchase Agreement
  • Party-appointed arbitrator in insurance coverage dispute involving occupational accident policy
  • Sole arbitrator in claims brought by consumer against credit card company for breach of contract and violations of various statutes including Truth in Lending Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • Sole arbitrator in contract dispute between hospital and third-party administrator
  • Sole arbitrator in employment matter asserting claims for race discrimination, racially hostile work environment, and constructive discharge
  • Sole arbitrator in employment matter involving allegations of sex and race discrimination, retaliation, hostile work environment, constructive discharge, and violations of the Equal Pay Act
  • Sole arbitrator in matter asserting claim for payment of unused, accrued fringe benefits upon termination in matter involving complex choice of law analysis
  • Sole arbitrator in wrongful termination suit against company by maintenance supervisor
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS. 

  • Selected Articles
    • Author, "Partnering with Outside Counsel to Effectively Manage Commercial Arbitrations," Corporate Counsel, June 2017
    • Author, "Show Me the Money! Damage Analysis is Keyto Settling Complex Commercial Cases," Texas Lawyer, May 2017
    • Author, "Damage Analysis Is Key  To Settling Complex Cases," Law 360, June 2016
    • Author, "How to Expand an Arbitrator's Authority without Really Trying," Texas Lawyer, May 2015
    • Co-author, “Forum 2013 Intensive Program: Mediation,” published for American Bar Association’s Forum on Franchising, Mediation Intensive Program, October 2013 
    • Author, “Arbitration: Still an Effective Method of Resolving Business Disputes?,” Dallas Bar Association Headnotes, December 2011 
    • Author, “Preparation: An Important Key to a Successful Mediation,” Dallas Bar Association Headnotes, September 2007 
    • Author, “Mediation and Arbitration Update,” Texas Bar CLE “Winning Before Trial,” March 2007
  • Honors
    • Selected as a Best Lawyer in Alternative Dispute Resolution/Mediation, D Magazine, 2011, 2014-2018
    • Selected as a Best Woman Lawyer in Alternative Dispute Resolution/Mediation, D Magazine, 2010 
    • AV Pre-Eminent Peer Review Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Memberships
    • Advisory Board Member, Center for American and International Law
      • Institute for Energy Law
    • Member, Dallas Bar Association
      • Alternative Dispute Resolution
      • Antitrust and Trade Regulation
      • Business Litigation
      • Energy Law
      • Franchise & Distribution Law
      • International Law
      • Labor and Employment
    • Member, State Bar of Texas
      • Alternative Dispute Resolution
      • Antitrust and Business Litigation
      • International Law
      • Labor and Employment
      • Litigation
    • Member, Attorneys Serving the Community, 1994-present (co-chaired several committees)
  • Professional Activities
    • Adjunct Professor, Arbitration Law and Advocacy, Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, Spring 2010 
    • Past Chair, Antitrust and Business Litigation Section, State Bar of Texas, 1997-1998 (council member, 1992-1999) 
    • Advisory Board Member, Insitute for Energy Law, Center for American and International Law
    • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
    • Received Diploma in International Arbitration
    • Life Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
  • Selected Speaking Engagements
    • Panelist, Mediation in the Oil and Gas Industry, Current Trends and a Look into the Future, Institute for Energy Law, March 2016
    • Panelist, "Arbitrators and Judges Panel: Experts in Arbitration," Forensic Expert Witness Association, 2014
    • Co-panelist, “Mediation Intensive,” American Bar Association Forum on Franchising, 2013 
    • Panelist, “Arbitrators’ and Judges’ Panel: Tips for Your Case,” University of Texas School of Law 2012 Construction Law Symposium, 2012 
    • Co-presenter, “Maximizing Arbitration Efficiency and Effectiveness,” Dallas Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Section, 2011 
    • Co-presenter, “Arbitration,” North Texas Conflict Resolution Conference, 2008 
    • Presenter, “Mediation and Arbitration,” North Texas Paralegal Association, 2007 
    • Presenter, “Mediation and Arbitration Update,” Texas Bar CLE “Winning Before Trial”, 2007 
    • Co-presenter, “Da Ethics Code: Unveiling the Ethical Mysteries in Labor/Employment ADR,” Employment Law Section of the Dallas Bar Association, 2006
  • Civil Associate Judge, Dallas County, TX, 2002-2004
  • Partner, Strasburger & Price, LLP, Dallas, 1985-2002 (Associate, 1985-1991; Partner, 1992-2001; Of Counsel, January-October 2002)
  • J.D., with honors, University of Texas School of Law
  • B.A., with high honors, University of Texas at Arlington

Counsel Comments

    • “I very much enjoyed mediating with Judge Willcutts. I have utilized her to mediate several complicated disputes over the years, and I am consistently impressed at her ability to quickly identify the key issues in the case and guide the attorneys and clients to a successful resolution of the matter. She has a fantastic demeanor and very much understands when to push the attorneys and/or the client to encourage creative problem solving and settlement. I would recommend her a million times over.”
    • “I highly recommend Judge Willcutts for mediating any complex dispute. Her intelligence, thoroughness, persistence, and thoughtfulness for all involved create the perfect environment for a resolution.”
    • “Judge Willcutts gets it done with persistence, determination, and outside-the-box thinking. She’s always among my top choices for any mediation.”
    • “I have mediated several complex oil and gas disputes with Judge Willcutts. She works hard to dig in and understand the issues, both legal and factual, and works hard with all involved to reach a resolution.”
    • “Thank you again [to Judge Willcutts] for mediating our case [to settlement]. I enjoyed working with her and appreciate all of her efforts today. The back and forth was tedious and becoming a whip, but she stuck with us and encouraged everyone to remain engaged when it would have been easier to give up.”
    • "Judge Willcutts has been integral in bringing several complicated oil and gas cases to an amicable resolution. Her ability to get up to speed on the issues and intricacies has been vital to getting my cases settled."
    • "Judge Willcutts has been the central force behind good settlements for my clients. She has the ability to grasp the issues at hand, the drive to push the parties to the table, and the authority to gain the ear of both parties. Beyond that, Judge Willcutts is willing to work in and out of the conference room. She gets the job done."
    • "She worked very hard, gladly stayed late, and cared enough to really read and consider lots of detailed briefing on the novel and important legal issues upon which this case turned."

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