Karen T. McElhinny

Karen Tracy McElhinny became associated with the firm in 1997, and she was elected as a member in January of 2003. Ms. McElhinny became an owner of the firm in 2014.  Ms. McElhinny defends and advises healthcare providers, public entities, professionals, and businesses. Her areas of interest include the defense of medical malpractice claims and the defense of cities, towns, counties, state agencies and private employers in litigation.

Ms. McElhinny attended the University of Virginia, where she pursued a double major in English and Sociology and received her Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction in 1994. Ms. McElhinny continued her education at the Washington & Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia, where she participated in Moot Court and the Alderson Legal Assistance Clinic. While at Washington & Lee, Ms. McElhinny was chosen by the faculty to receive the award given for having made the most significant student contribution to the Alderson Legal Clinic and the award given for having made the most significant student contribution to the Moot Court program. She also served on the Executive Moot Court Board, where she managed the Davis Moot Court Competition.

Ms. McElhinny has volunteered her time at the mentoring program at Glenwood Elementary, the tutoring program at the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA Resolve Family Abuse Program, and St. Mathews Episcopal Church. Ms. McElhinny is the president of the Charleston Figure Skating Club.


Number of times my chili recipe won first place in the Law Firm Division of the Smoke on the Water Chili Cookoff
Number of pets I have rescued from the Animal Shelter or the streets
Average number of ice skating and dance practices I take my talented daughters to per week



  • “The Principal’s Role with IEP Teams,” (Co-Author), The Communicator (NASEP), October 2014, Vol. 28, Issue 2.
  • Anti-Subrogation and Setoff Provisions in Tort Claims Acts, and Unsettled Federal Preemption Issues, IMLA: the Municipal Lawyer Magazine (May 2011)
  • The Collateral Source Rule: A Compendium of State Law, DRI, West Virginia Section (2012)

Representative Cases

  • Hurlbert v. Matkovich, 233 W.Va. 583, 760 S.E.2d 152 (2014)
  • Pope Properties v. Robinson, 230 W.Va. 382, 738 S.E.2d 546 (2013)
  • Standard Distributing v. City of Charleston, 218 W.Va. 543, 625 S.E.2d 305 (2005)
  • Cooper v. City of Charleston, 218 W.Va. 279, 624 S.E.2d 716 (2005)

Professional Associations and Memberships

Classes/Seminars Taught

  • Governmental Tort Claims Act Immunity for Political Subdivisions, Attorneys’ Guide to Local Government Law, NBI (2015)
  • Public Records in West Virginia: a Brief Discussion of the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act and the Records Management and Preservation of Essential Documents Act, Local Government law: What Attorneys Need to Know, NBI (2013)
  • Preventing Surgical Site Confusions: A Cautionary Tale of Consent Form Confusion, WV Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting (2010)