About Karen


Karen has over 20 years of experience as a litigation lawyer. In 2016, Karen became an accredited Mediator, choosing to practise exclusively in this role. A dedication to helping people resolve their disputes early instead of litigating them at trial, is consistent with the approach that she has taken throughout her career.

Prior legal practise has included small and mid-tier Sydney firms at Partnership level, representing individual claimants and their families, as well as corporate and government clients.


Qualifications & Appointments


Areas Of Expertise

Mediations & Facilitated Negotiations practice since 2016:

  • Medical & other professional negligence litigation
  • Institutional & carer abuse claims – both litigated and non-litigated
  • Occupier & vicarious liability
  • Workplace injury damages claims
  • Motor vehicle accident personal injury damages claims
  • Family provisions / Wills & Estate disputes
  • Commercial disputes – both litigated and pursuant to contract dispute resolution clauses before legal representation
  • Mediation of workplace conflict (applying the NMAS Mediation model)

During Legal Practice 1996 – 2016:

  • Doyles Best Lawyers Peer Recognition Award 2016
  • Medical negligence litigation, representing both plaintiffs and defendants
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Representation at Coronial Inquests
  • Representation of both sides in disciplinary complaints management before the NSW HCCC and AHPRA nationally
  • NSW and AHPRA regulatory advice and practice of registered healthcare providers
  • Professional liability and liability of government agencies
  • Corporate risk management
  • Workplace relations

Career Highlights

  • Representation of 73 insulation industry client businesses before the 2014 Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program
  • High level government consultation regarding the implementation of the HIP Royal Commission’s recommendations (including a national press conference with Senator Nick Xenophon on 4 February 2016) and management of a class action in its investigation stages
  • Representation of numerous NSW government agencies re professional liability, 2006-2013
  • Ministerial appointment as an inaugural board member to AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency), involving the transition from the state-based to national registration scheme for registered healthcare practitioners, 2009 to 2012
  • The experience of flying in medical evacuation helicopters in Canada and the USA and interviewing medivac executive and staff for assessment and reporting on enterprise risk management and safety culture, 2006
  • Representation of the Anderson Family in a Coronial Inquest and subsequent legal proceedings in circumstances where mother Caroline died in avoidable circumstances from the consequences of an epidural abscess following the birth of her son at a Sydney private hospital, as well as failure of follow-up care by her country GP and country public hospitals. This tragic case received national attention through ABC 7.30 Report and Australian Story, 2005: “The Colours of Caroline”
  • Establishment of a health law practice at Sydney firm McLaughlin & Riordan in 2000, without recourse to media advertising. That practice continues today.

Karen’s approach to her work is to listen carefully to her clients to gain a genuine understanding of their needs and objectives. She works with her clients to formulate a practical and achievable management strategy that her clients can depend on. She manages expectations in a way that inspires confidence in the outcome.


Professional History

2013 to 2016:

Practice as a Partner at Sydney CBD boutique firm McLaughlin & Riordan, managing a major commercial / government liability project including:

  • representation of 73 interested insulation industry businesses before the 2014 Royal Commission into the former Rudd Government’s Home Insulation Program (HIP)
  • lobbying and conferring with the federal government regarding the implementation of the Royal Commissioner’s recommendations for compensation to the insulation industry
  • securing of litigation funding for the investigation of and sign-up to a commercial class action against the Commonwealth in respect of the HIP
  • provision of advice and representation to approximately 150 insulation industry businesses throughout this period

2007 to 2013:

Practice as Special Counsel and Partner at 2 Sydney mid-tier firms, McCabe Terrill and Hicksons, involving:

  • preparation of successful written tenders for appointment to the legal panels of the NSW Ministry for Health and the NSW Police Force
  • medical defence litigation (representing individual doctors, public and private hospitals and insurers)
  • other professional and government liability defence litigation
  • workplace relations in government organisations
  • representation at Coronial Inquests
  • representation of healthcare providers in Medicare investigations

2005 to 2012:

Independent work by Ministerial appointment as a Board member to the NSW and national registered healthcare provider regulatory authorities (AHPRA), including:

  • policy formulation
  • interpretation of legislation,
  • regulation of disciplinary complaints and registration standards in areas such as conduct, advertising, accreditation, recency of practice, and mandatory notifications

2006 to 2007:

  • work for an enterprise risk management consultancy firm, delivering a major risk management and benchmarking project to client medical evacuation organisations in Northern America
  • industrial advocacy before the Transport Appeals Board and workplace conduct management for RailCorp NSW

1995 to 2005:

Practice mainly in plaintiff medical negligence law at 2 boutique Sydney firms, McCourt Charlton and as a Partner at McLaughlin & Riordan:

  • plaintiff medical negligence litigation, with specialist expertise in catastrophic injury claims
  • representation in health care disciplinary complaints process
  • representation of families in Coronial Inquests
  • foundation of the health law practice at McLaughlin & Riordan in 2000, without recourse to media advertising

Community Service and Honorary Appointments

Karen obtained her Bronze Medallion award in 1999 and is a 10 year long service patrolling member of the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club. She has served on the Club’s Board of Management for approximately 15 years in various capacities, including as Honorary Secretary, Trustee of the the Club and Honorary Legal Officer.

In her capacity as Honorary Legal Officer, Karen established the Club’s inaugural pro-bono legal panel, so that it may have the benefit of specialist advice as and when necessary. Legal issues that the Club is required to contend with in its day-to-day operations are wide-ranging and include:

  • corporate governance issues
  • drafting and advising on commercial contracts (eg with service providers and sponsors)
  • management of service providers and commercial disputes
  • management of disciplinary issues, complaints and grievances
  • knowledge & implementation of SLSA policies, eg Member Protection
  • implementation of the Club’s Constitution
  • employee and independent subcontractor issues
  • public and professional liability (eg with respect to Lifesaving activities and event management)
  • occupational health and safety
  • bequests
  • working with children and child protection obligations
  • intellectual property (eg with respect to Club name, logos, fundraising events, merchandise, etc)
  • liquor licensing and functions management


  • March 2021 – following delivery of an in-house CPD seminar: Good morning Karen,I just wanted to say a heartfelt thank you for your time and presentation yesterday. We have received such wonderful feedback – everyone found it very helpful and so insightful. It’s such a pleasure working with you – you truly do offer a unique and holistic mediation experience, for us and our clients. Thanks again – on behalf of everyone. Warm regards,Sheree Buchanan | Practice Leader | Senior Associate – Abuse LawShine Lawyers
  • Karen was engaged as the mediator in one of my matters that had various issues that were contentious between 3 parties. The claim would not have settled had it not been for the perseverance of Karen. The mediation was allocated a whole day in which she was going back and forth on Zoom. The matter did not settle on the day and whilst all the parties were coming to terms that the only end to this was a court hearing, Karen continued in the days and weeks to follow to see if further discussions can be fruitful and she did so without any further charge. With her ongoing efforts we got a result. She brought the parties together and the claim eventually resolved 3 weeks after the initial mediation date. Acting impartially throughout the process proved the difference. Her efforts were appreciated by all involved.
    George Cham, Senior Solicitor, Gerard Malouf & Partners, July 2020
  • Unprompted correspondence from each of the parties’ legal representatives following the settlement at Mediation, 2017: Plaintiff’s solicitor:
    Dear Karen,  I can say that in all the mediations I’ve been involved in, no mediator has had me push myself, or counsel, to really think long and hard about the case… Your presence is different – you actually focus on the major issues of the case and say “Hey, this is what they say about xyz and they’re offering $x. Give me your legal argument to the contrary and I’ll carry back your offer with some force”. When you mediate, the law is at work, it’s not just horse trading. I really believe in your approach. I’ve not seen it before but it’s a damn site better than doing the same thing in court when it’s all or nothing. I think you are a brilliant mediator.


    Defendant’s solicitor:
    Dear Karen, Many thanks for your assistance yesterday in helping to resolve what had all the hallmarks in the morning of being an unresolvable matter. Your hard work, professionalism and commitment to the task is very much appreciated.

  • Unprompted (and de-identified) correspondence from a support person following mediation, May 2021: “I trust that I am not “out of line” in contacting you, but I just wanted to thank you for your efforts in mediating R’s matter yesterday. Your kindness and empathy towards her was very much appreciated. Likewise, your acknowledgment of her, as a professional in her field prior to her accident, touched her greatly. R mentioned that it was the first time, in the whole five year process, that someone had actually acknowledged what she has lost. Kind regards,”
  • Unprompted (and de-identified) correspondence from a claimant following mediation, April 2019: “Karen I just want to thank you for the hospitality you showed me when I was in Sydney.  You went above and beyond. Your kindness was exceptional. I’ve very rarely is seen that in the legal world. I wish you all the best Karen. You are a good person. Thank you again  Regards”
  • Unprompted correspondence following the completion of expert conclaves and signed joint reports, 2018: Instructing solicitor in a 3 party matter:
    Dear Karen,….I think you did an excellent job in efficiently managing a number of experts to obtain the conclave reports in a timely manner in difficult circumstances with not the best cooperation between the parties. I certainly see the value in a facilitator, particularly in matters such as this one. Thanks very much for your help!


    Expert witness in a separate matter:
    Hi Karen, …Many thanks again for your assistance in this matter. I have found your input extremely useful, professional, obviously well informed and delivered with great skill and consideration. You seem from my perspective to be able to master the line between being impartial yet engaged with what (the opposing expert) and I have wanted to say. Thank you very much. 

  • Doyles Best Lawyers Peer Recognition Award 2016
  • “….I’m sorry about the late e-mail, it has been a long day in the OR. I’m very grateful to have the job that I do as I get instantaneous feedback – a well patient at the end of a long operation, the gratitude of their loved ones and often the chance to help very anxious people through a difficult period in their life.
    I hope that you realise that you are doing something very similar for me – I’m extremely grateful”.
    client surgeonFebruary 27, 2013    Download full testimonial
  • “In 2001 I retained Karen Stott to act for me and my family in coronial proceedings and later civil proceedings following the tragic death of my wife, Caroline Anderson. Caroline died in avoidable circumstances from the consequences of an epidural abscess following the birth of our son at the Prince of Wales Private Hospital…
    From my viewpoint as a fellow legal practitioner I would hold Karen up as a fine example to the profession. Her representation was of the highest standard of professionalism. She was always well prepared and researched, she had a thorough understanding of the issues and the legal principles involved and she worked fearlessly to advance my best interests and those of my family”.
    Evan Jones – 4 December 2007    Download full testimonial
  • “APLA has received a delightful message from one of your clients, who felt the need to record her appreciation for the care and consideration you have afforded in managing her case…
    Congratulations, Karen, on the empathy, caring and professionalism you have obviously conveyed to Belinda and her husband”.
    Australian Plaintiff Lawyers’ Association –  16 December 2002    Download full testimonial
  • “Altogether I have conducted about 20 mediations in which Karen Stott has been the Plaintiff’s solicitor… I have thus come to know her well on a personal as well as professional basis and I write this reference to attest both her fine professional qualities and her excellent personal character…
    As well as her pursuit of the best interests of her client, Karen brings to bear mature and practically oriented judgement in pressing those interests in the course of mediations – a process in the psychology of which she is well versed. Her preparation is meticulous, thorough and well directed…
    I can unreservedly and enthusiastically commend Karen as a woman of total integrity, high professional competence and ethical standards and dedication to the protection and promotion of her client’s best interests. In addition to these qualities she has a personality that has earned her the warm goodwill and friendship with those with whom she works…”.
    Sir Laurence Street6 August 2004    Download full testimonial