Karen Sacks, Esq. founded VLJ and served as Executive Director until 2016. Karen now consults to VLJ as its Chief Strategic Officer. After she and a small group of advocates for the poor spent a year creating the program that would eventually become VLJ, Karen served as VLJ’s Founding Executive Director from 2001-2016. Prior to VLJ, Karen specialized in corporate and health care law, first at a law firm and then as in-house counsel at a health insurance company, both in New York City. Karen has served on and chaired numerous boards and committees including serving as Chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association's (NJSBA) Pro Bono Committee and Co-Chair of the NJSBA's Pro Bono Task Force, and she currently serves as President of the Friends of the Montclair Township Animal Shelter.
Karen is an honors graduate of the University of Michigan and of New York University School of Law, where she served as editor of the Review of Law and Social Change. Karen has received numerous awards for her work with VLJ including the Community Builder Award from the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice; the Douglas S. Eakeley Award from the Legal Services Foundation of Essex County; and the Dr. Martin Luther King Champion of Justice Award from the New Jersey State Governor’s Office (Jefferson Award). In 2016, Karen was named one of 25 "Top Women in the Law" by the New Jersey Law Journal.