Karen Oakes was raised as an Army officer’s daughter — living in various areas of the United States and Panama. Ms. Oakes was born in Michigan and has lived in Georgia, California, South Carolina, Virginia, and Idaho. While living in California as a young adult, she married and began her family. The family expanded dramatically in 1984 when three nieces/nephews were added to the family. Unfortunately, stress led to a divorce in 1989 and Ms. Oakes raised all five children as a single parent.
At the time of the divorce, Ms. Oakes began Shasta College as one of the first participants in the California GAIN (Greater Avenues Through Independence), a mandatory program for single mothers on financial assistance. In 1989, she attended Shasta College on a triple class load, graduating with five 2-year degrees/certificates in 1991. Following that graduation, the family of six relocated to Virginia where Ms. Oakes worked as first a word processing specialist for the State of Virginia, and ultimately a paralegal.
While in Virginia and working full time, Ms. Oakes also began work on her undergraduate degree from Averett College, a long-distance learning experience. She graduated from Averett College with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1995.
In 1995, Ms. Oakes and the four younger children moved to Idaho where she had been accepted to the University of Idaho, College of Law. While at the College of Law, Ms. Oakes began a significant involvement in community service. Ms. Oakes was accepted to the Idaho Law Review based on her writing ability and then participated in the Legal Aid Clinic. During her third year of law school, Ms. Oakes was selected for a national position with the American Bar Association/Law Student Division as the student director of the national Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program funded by the American Bar Association/Tax Section. During her third year of law school, Ms. Oakes traveled to over 13 conferences of student leaders and encouraged and trained those student leaders to return to their law schools and begin low-income taxpayer assistance programs at their law schools.Ms. Oakes graduated with her juris doctorate in 1998 and relocated yet again—this time to Klamath Falls, Oregon.
In 1998, Ms. Oakes accepted the position of law clerk to the five circuit court judges of Klamath County and one circuit court judge of Lake County. In 1999, Ms. Oakes began work as a deputy district attorney at the Klamath County District Attorney’s Office, specializing in domestic violence prosecution. Also in 1999, Ms. Oakes began teaching at the Oregon Institute of Technology as an adjunct professor in the paralegal studies program.
During a county budget crisis in 2001, Ms. Oakes’s position was laid off and she began her private practice in September 2001, as a general practice legal services office. From 2001 through 2004, the cases handled by the office were mostly family law, estate planning and landlord-tenant (representing tenants). However, in 2004, the practice evolved into a consumer protection law firm, exclusively handling bankruptcy cases, FDCPA cases, and FCRA cases. Since 2004, it is estimated that Ms. Oakes’ clients have discharged millions in debt. At the same time, since 2004, Ms. Oakes has written checks totaling over $100,000 to her clients from payments by creditors.
Also in 2004, Ms. Oakes was elected to the bench as justice of the peace for Klamath County and was re-elected in 2010 and 2016.
The firm is great! Very friendly to work with and have pleasant conversations over the phone with. Karen is amazing and has helped us through our bankruptcy journey.
Ms. Oakes was extremely helpful during my stressful legal process, explaining each step along the way. Articulate yet sympathetic, she maintained a high level of professionalism throughout the time we worked together.
Karen Oakes was a Godsend. She and her staff treated me with the utmost respect. At a time when my stress level was off the charts, she provided information that felt like a ton of bricks had been lifted from me.
n 2011, more clients began traveling to Klamath Falls from the Brookings/Gold Beach area and the Medford area in order to have Oakes Law Offices, P.C. represent them in bankruptcy and estate planning. In July 2011, Ms. Oakes opened her second office located at 1730 E. McAndrews, Ste B, Medford, Oregon 97540.
Ms. Oakes was one of the original founding members of Bankruptcy Law Network, a group of 15 attorneys who came together to write blog articles that explore the world of consumer bankruptcy including a discussion of recent decisions and the impact of those decisions around the country. Bankruptcy Law Network continues to grow and evolve and currently has 23 members and accepts contributions from attorneys around the country. Ms. Oakes currently serves as president of Bankruptcy Law Network.
Ms. Oakes also offers services to members of Hyatt Legal Plans from MetLife.