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303-764-1400 Applying for a Public Defender

Karen N. Taylor

First Assistant Public Defender

Karen Taylor is the First Assistant Public Defender. In this role, Karen is second in command at the OSPD.

Karen started with the OSPD as a law school graduate volunteer in the Boulder and Golden offices in 1994. She become a lawyer in the Appellate Division in 1995 and a supervisor in the Appellate Division in 1998. She took over as the Chief Appellate Deputy (Office Head of the Appellate Division) in January 2010 and became the First Assistant Public Defender in August 2018.

Karen initially doubted her decision to go to law school because almost all of her peers were interested in “big law” and she was not. She found a small group of people who were interested in public interest law and luckily spent a summer in the public defender office. Karen knew instantly it was what she wanted to do.

Public defense has allowed her to do difficult, intellectually challenging work in serious cases on behalf of people who often have no one on their side. She gets the privilege of standing with them to tell their stories.

Education and Credentials

Karen earned her Bachelor’s degree in History from Missouri Southern State College and her law degree from Northwestern University School of Law. She is a member of the Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors and the Supreme Court Rules of Criminal Procedure Committee.

Family and Personal Interests

Karen has four children and spends time with her family watching the basketball team and the marching band. Her family spends a lot of time outdoors hiking with their dogs, fishing, and paddling around some quiet mountain lakes. When she has alone time, she can be found reading a book.