Hon. Karen Morris
Town of Brighton
Judge, professor, author and volunteer: Hon. Karen Morris does it all. Her commitment to the community, students and readers—often shared with a healthy dose of humor—have earned her many awards, including The Daily Record’s Attorney of the Year honor.
This year’s Attorneys of the Year honorees also selected Morris to receive the Nathaniel Award. This award, named for The Daily Record founder Nathaniel B. Raymond, goes to a member of our legal community who regularly goes above and beyond the call of duty in the name of justice.
Morris is a part-time judge at Brighton Town Court, a longtime, distinguished professor of business law at Monroe Community College, and the author of a blog aimed at college-level business law students. She also wrote numerous business law textbooks, including “Law Made Fun through Harry Potter’s Adventures,” “Law Made fun through Downton Abbey” and two editions of “New York Case Studies in Business Law.”
“Embedding lessons with pop culture makes ‘the medicine go down in the most delightful way,’” Morris said. “Applying the law to the comings and goings of celebrities and to circumstances in the news facilitates the learning process.”
Monroe Community College President Anne M. Kress, Ph.D., said that Morris—who has won both the Hanson Award for Excellence in Teaching and the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching—is a favorite among students.
Morris is a member of the Monroe County Bar Association, Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys (GRAWA) and the Brighton Chamber of Commerce. She is a past winner of the MCBA Foundation’s Humanitarian Award.
Morris also spearheaded “Ticket to Ride,” an initiative that raises money to provide bus passes for criminal defendants to attend court-mandated hearings and programs; she called the program one of her most significant accomplishments.
“The goal is to avoid bench warrants, police at the door, unnecessary jail time and the related expenditure of tax dollars and unnecessary punitive consequences,” she said.
Morris volunteers at the Salem Nutrition Center, and is a current member and past president of Brighton Kiwanis, where she manages Santa at Your Service.
“I love what I do, and I love the variety of the different roles—interacting with the many constituents of the court, impacting the direction of defendants’ lives, guiding students along life’s paths, and learning about new laws and cases while researching and writing in the solitude of my office,” Morris said.