Karen Skyers

Attorney

kskyers@bplegal.com
Professional Experience

 

Karen Skyers is an attorney  who concentrates on government relations and lobbying in Tallahassee and for municipalities throughout Florida. Karen works closely with clients from various sectors including business, municipal government and education to advocate for their issues before various government agencies and the State Legislature. 

Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Skyers worked as a Legislative Aide to Florida Senator Arthenia L. Joyner, used her legal and communications skills to assist the Senator in shaping state policy by developing legislative proposals and implementing strategies to get them enacted into law.  She assisted with issues such as budget conferences, redistricting and criminal laws. She attended state and local meetings on behalf of the Senator, and prepared press releases and newsletters keeping the district informed of important issues. Additionally, in her service to the public, Ms. Skyers worked as a former public defender for Hillsborough County, where she developed skills at helping her clients navigate the criminal justice system.

During her law school tenure, Ms. Skyers was a legal intern for the Federal Public Defender's Office in Orlando, where she worked with experienced attorneys to garner experience on Federal Sentencing Guidelines and appellate practice. She also interned at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights where she conducted research on specific human rights issues including application of international human rights "norms" to developing countries, researching developments in the domestic legal systems of specific countries and their implication on human rights. She prepared documents for submission to government and United Nations officials which included legal research and reports on briefings. 

Experience 
  • Funding for the Virgil Hawkins Foundation: $150,000 (FY 2017/18)
  • Funding Urban League – 2,437,835 recurring funds; $741,412 non-recurring funds (FY 2017/18)
  • Cape Coral – secured $100,000 in cultural grant funding (FY 2017/18)
  • Neighborworks, Inc,/ CDC of Tampa – secured $450,000 in funding (vetoed by Governor)
  • Secured $1.8 million for the Darling family after 15 years of failing to pass a claims bill through the legislature. The $1.8 million settlement finally came to fruition as the result of the successful passage of Claims Bill 6515. The Darling family has tried and failed every year for 15 years to pass a claims bill after 18-year old Devaughn Darling died on the FSU football practice field in 2001 during training. FSU was found negligent and agreed to pay a $2 million settlement. However, Florida state law sets a cap of $200,000 on settlements levied against Florida public institutions. Anything above $200,000 must be approved by the legislature.
  • Successfully lobbied to secure an exclusive license to cultivate marijuana for the Florida Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association.

Activities and Memberships

Ms. Skyers participated in the Burton Wechsler First Amendment Moot Court Competition. She was Secretary for the Black Law Student Association and a member of the Hispanic Law Student Association. She was also President of Phi Alpha Delta, the largest co-ed professional law fraternity in the U.S. and Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, Board of Directors.

Bar Admissions
  • Florida
Court Admissions
  • United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
Education
  • Florida A&M University College of Law, J.D.
  • University of Detroit Mercy, B.A.
Languages
  • Spanish