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Keith A. Karlson is a partner with law firm of Reimer Dobrovolny & Karlson LLC. Mr. Karlson concentrates his practice in the area of public safety labor law, constitutional rights of public employees, and public sector pension law. Mr. Karlson represents police and fire unions in Illinois and Indiana. Keith also has extensive experience representing Illinois police and fire pension funds. Mr. Karlson is recognized for his representation of firefighters and police officers in disciplinary matters and the civil rights issues arising from them. Mr. Karlson frequently represents police officers who have used force in the line of duty.
In both Illinois and Indiana, Keith has had success representing firefighters, police officers, their pension funds, and their unions in the courtroom, on appeal, at the bargaining table, and before administrative tribunals. Recently, for the first time in our nation’s history, Mr. Karlson successfully convinced a federal court to find that there is a common law privilege protecting communications between a union member and his/her union representative. On behalf of pension funds, Keith has argued matters of first impression before the Supreme Court of Illinois and Illinois’ Courts of Appeal. In Indiana Mr. Karlson represented the first firefighter to ever receive a Class 1 line-of-duty psychiatric disability pension. Keith also has drafted amicus curiae briefs on behalf of labor unions, pension funds, and the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association.
Keith has taught several seminars regarding administrative, statutory, and civil rights protections afforded public safety officers and frequently lectures about police and fire pension matters. In particular Mr. Karlson has lectured on multiple subjects for the Illinois Public Pension Fund Association (“IPPFA”). Keith also has taught classes that are part of the IPPFA Pension Trustee Certification Program. As an adjunct faculty member at Lewis University, Keith taught graduate and undergraduate classes relating to civil rights liability for police officers and collective bargaining in the public sector. Mr. Karlson has published several articles relating to legal matters impacting police officers and firefighters. Mr. Karlson has also taught classes regarding the legal implications of police officers using force.
Upon completing a 40-hour course, Mr. Karlson was certified by the Force Science Institute (“FSI”) as a Force Science Analyst. He was also certified by FSI in the use of video when applied to the investigation of use of force scenarios.
Mr. Karlson earned his A.A. (Criminal Justice) from Moraine Valley College, his B.A. (Political Science) from Eastern Illinois University, his M.A. (Communications) from Ball State University, and his Juris Doctor from the DePaul University College of Law. At DePaul, Keith wrote for the DePaul Health Law Journal and was a member of the National Moot Court Honor Society.
Mr. Karlson is a member of the Federal Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, and is an honorary member of IAFF Local 4416. Mr. Karlson is licensed to practice in Illinois and Indiana State Courts, the United States District Courts for the Northern District of Illinois (trial bar member), the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.