Issue: November/December 2010
Leading Lawyers: Karen Soehnlen McQueen
Director, Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty Co. LPA
Growing up on a farm outside Navarre with five brothers meant Karen Soehnlen McQueen was accustomed to being surrounded by men. So when she joined Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty in Stark County as the firm’s first female attorney in 1984, she already knew what to expect. “I think I got a lot more push back or questions from people outside the firm than I did from people inside the firm,” she says. Handling a caseload initially centered on union issues and now on workplace discrimination cases, Soehnlen McQueen has risen to become a director of the firm.
⊲ Crowded house:
“It was noisy at my house [growing up], and my grandmother’s farm was across the street, so I walked over to her house, and it was much quieter over there,” she says.
⊲ If not in the courtroom, check the kitchen:
She and her grandmother spent much of that time baking, which remains Soehnlen McQueen’s hobby. “I still have a lot of my grandmother’s recipes,” she says. Those heirloom recipes call for ingredients such as whole grains and real cream, some of which she procures from Superior Dairy, which is owned by family members.
⊲ Expert handicapper:
Besides learning to bake, a teenage Soehnlen McQueen became a crack handicapper of racehorses, which her grandparents raised. She spent a lot of time at the track studying race records and memorizing which horses were good on hot days, which ran best in mud. The trio placed $2 bets in an ongoing test of luck versus logic. “Grandma and I picked the horses with the name we liked, and Grandpa and I picked the horse that should win based on handicapping,” she says. “Grandma and I always made a lot more money because we only had to hit one because the odds are higher.”
⊲ Power couple:
Soehnlen McQueen is married to Akron-Canton Airport CEO Rick McQueen, with whom she has two college-aged sons.
⊲ Baggage claims:
When the McQueens fly, they pack lighter than most. “We went to Hawaii once, the four of us. The kids were younger, and we had one bag,” she says.
⊲ Please turn off all electronics:
One thing she won’t leave behind: her cell phone. “We definitely put the cell phones away before we get on the plane,” she says. “When it comes to flying, we follow all the rules.”
⊲ Television portrayals:
“My husband used to refuse to watch any lawyer shows with me because I would frequently interrupt saying, ‘There’s no way they could do that. There’s no way the judge would allow that,’ ” Soehnlen McQueen says.
⊲ Low profile:
Soehnlen McQueen’s cases don’t usually make headlines. “Most of my clients would prefer not to see their names in the paper,” she says. “One of my goals is to keep them out of the news, and I’ve been very successful.”
⊲ Outside the courtroom:
She’s served on boards for a number of Stark County organizations, including the Canton Symphony Orchestra. And she’s the former chairwoman of the Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, a role in which she has overseen the merger of five separate scouting organizations.
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