Karen L. McKnaught

Karen L. McNaught

Phone: (217)717-8250

Karen McNaught is of counsel with OKCG and joined the firm in 2019. Karen defends civil rights, torts, and employment cases in federal and state courts.

Prior to joining OKGC, Karen was an Assistant Attorney General at the Office of the Illinois Attorney General and litigated in the areas of employment, civil rights, contracts, and personal injury. From 2003 to 2017, she was the Chief of the General Law Bureau in Springfield, which is the largest bureau in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. She also was involved in grain dealer and warehouse matters brought by the Illinois Grain Insurance Corporation and was the primary liaison to the State Emergency Operations Center. Between 2017 and 2019, she worked in private practice primarily defending medical personnel in civil rights and medical malpractice lawsuits.

Karen has tried approximately 200 cases to verdict, most of which have been in federal court. She also served on the Committee to Develop the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Jury Instructions for Labor, Employment Law, and Prisoner Rights Litigation. She is a member of the Lincoln-Douglas Inn of Court and was president from 2018-2019.

Karen is a volleyball official licensed by the Illinois High School Association, as well as a rules interpreter and clinician. She has served on the National Federation for State High Schools Volleyball Rules Committee. In her spare time, she likes to quilt.

Areas of Focus

  • Civil Rights Defense
  • Employment Law
  • Governmental/Public Entities Litigation


  • Drake University – Bachelors of Arts, 1982
  • Drake University – J.D., 1988


  • Illinois Bar — 1989
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois – 1989
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois – 1989
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois – 1992
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit – 1994
  • U.S. Supreme Court – 2001