Karen Donnelly

Karen Donnelly




  • J.D., University of Missouri-Kansas City, 2010
  • B.A., English Literature, University of Kansas, 2002
  • B.S., Journalism, University of Kansas, 2002

Bar Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Kansas
  • U.S. District Court, District of Western Missouri
  • Missouri
  • Kansas


  • First Amendment
  • Nonprofit & Tax-Exempt Organizations
  • Regulatory & Compliance
  • Corporate Law
  • Government Investigations
  • Appellate Practice & Constitutional Law


Donnelly is a partner in the Kansas City office. Her practice focuses on First Amendment litigation within the context of charitable and political speech. She represents nonprofit and commercial entities within the fundraising, advertising and marketing communities, including state attorney general investigations, Federal Trade Commission investigations and litigation, Internal Revenue Service exams, multi-state investigations, civil rights litigation, and other complex litigation and appellate practice in federal and state courts.

Donnelly recently argued an appeal involving First Amendment and administrative law issues before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Donnelly also counsels on the formation, structuring and qualification of tax-exempt organizations. She advises clients on nonprofit governance issues, corporate law, regulatory compliance, tax exempt organizations law, and constitutional law.

She has also worked in the areas of direct marketing and nonprofit fundraising in Washington, D.C.

Publications / Speaking Engagements

Donor Privacy under Attack by California Attorney General, Best Lawyers, https://www.bestlawyers.com/article/donor-privacy-under-attack-by-california-attorney-general/1183 (February 2017).

Good Governance: Has the IRS Usurped the Business Judgment of Tax Exempt Organizations in the Name of Transparency and Accountability?, 79 UMKC L. Rev. 163 (Fall 2010).

Financing the Social Venture: Crowdfunding, registration, and regulatory issues (2015), University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Law, Social Entrepreneurship.

Intellectual Property and the Social Venture/Non-Profit: registration, protection, and enforcement of trademarks, and how to protect IP in licensing, corporate sponsorships, fundraising agreements, and grant writing agreements (2016), University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Law, Social Entrepreneurship.


Donnelly volunteers as a cooperating attorney on the legal panel of the ACLU of Kansas and is a member of the Federalist Society. Donnelly is Chairman of the St. Anthony’s Pastoral Council, Lector and Pre-Cana Minister. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, running and spending time with family.