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Karen Park Gullivan
Karen Park Gullivan

In-House Counsel 2020: Karen Park Gullivan

Karen Gallivan likes to say that even though she’s an attorney, she has an engineer’s mind. That suits her well in her practice at Graco, where she oversees legal issues in an array of areas.

“I get to work on projects that become diverse,” she said. “With one matter, I can get into trade compliance, corporate governance issues, ESG sustainability, environmental compliance, product safety compliance.”

Gallivan spent a short while in private practice after earning her law degree from William Mitchell. She enjoyed working in both corporate law and business litigation, but quickly gravitated toward the in-house world.

“I wanted to go in-house so that I could have one client that I could learn inside and out,” she said. “I wanted to learn a business in a way that would mean the type of lawyering I did would be very practical and meaningful.”

During her time at Graco, her work has become more varied and involved, to the point where she is counted on as a resource for top-level planning that has nothing necessarily to do with lawyering.

“I know what their interests are, so I can pony up my legal work in a way that’s most meaningful for them,” she said. “I know what they’re looking for. But at the same time, I’ve gotten involved more on the business side.”

One example of that is drug pricing and the rate at which costs of medication increases. That’s an issue that Graco is keeping a close eye on, and Gallivan is part of that process.

“I try to help understand the market dynamics of things like that, even if it has little to do with the legal side.”

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