Karen Renz grew up in New Jersey, outside of New York City. She went to East Carolina University and worked at the Winn-Dixie to make her way through college.
Fresh out of East Carolina with a finance degree, she became a CPA and moved to Cincinnati to work as an internal auditor for Star Bank. The law was a natural extension. She was admitted to law school at the University of Miami in Florida and interviewed at Graydon in 1997.
By Cincinnati standards, she says, she’s tough and talks too fast. She never sits down and does nothing. She describes herself as dependable, someone who never lets tasks “fall into the black hole – and I think clients like that.”
“I liked the people. I wanted to do mergers and acquisitions work, and they had it. So I took the job, and it was the best thing I ever did. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Karen is a member of the Firm’s recruiting committee. She looks for people who fit the culture. One question the committee asks prospective recruits is, “What do you do for fun?” She says she looks for the whole person, not just that part of the person who went to law school and passed the bar exam.
One of the activities she engages in apart from work, for fun and fulfillment, is participating in pet therapy programs. Her own two dogs, Amelia and Chloe, are certified therapy dogs. She takes them to various nursing homes around town and to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where they’re in great demand.
“In terms of recruiting, we want people who will be dedicated to the community. We want you to come and stay. Many big firms have big turnover rates, much bigger than ours. We want our people to want to stick around.”
Indeed, Graydon’s turnover rate is less than half that of the national average – about 7.5 percent after three years, compared to the national figure of 19 percent.
Karen practices in the area of corporate law with an emphasis in mergers and acquisitions and general corporate work. Prior to joining Graydon, Karen served as an intern and staff counsel to Ryder System, Inc. in Miami, FL, where she focused on contract negotiations, customer disputes and acquisition matters. She earned her law degree, cum laude, from the University of Miami School of Law in 1996 and received her B.S.B.A. in Finance from East Carolina University. Karen is a non-practicing Certified Public Accountant. She is a former Board Member of Cincinnati Area Senior Services, and currently is a member of the Leadership Cincinnati Steering Committee and co-chairs Leading for A Just Community Day, and is also on the Steering Committee for the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Leading Ladies .