Texas Appellate Law Attorney Karlene Poll

Karlene Poll joined Slate & Associates in 2022 as founder of its appellate section. She has extensive experience as an appellate lawyer and working at every level of Texas appellate courts. In her most recent position as a partner at a prestigious appellate boutique, Kuhn Hobbs, PLLC, Karlene’s practice gravitated towards family-law and CPS cases, where she found her passion. She represents clients of Slate & Associates as well as individual clients across the state. Often, she is brought onto a client’s team by outside family-law lawyers when a case needs advanced trial court motions drafted, assistance at trial, or when cases reach the appellate level.


Karlene graduated salutatorian from South Texas College of Law, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the South Texas Law Review. While working full-time and attending the school’s night program, she won several national, state, and local writing awards attached to scholarships, including the Association of Legal Writers’ “Scribes Award” (best moot court appellate brief in the country), the Texas Family Law Association’s law review award (best family law review article in the state), and the Houston Bar Association Appellate Section’s brief award (best appellate brief written by a student at the city’s three law schools).

Karlene began her legal career as a briefing attorney for the late Texas Supreme Court Justice James A. Baker and then served as a law clerk for the Honorable Harold R. DeMoss Jr. on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit before joining Baker Botts LLP’s appellate section. At Baker Botts, she gained particular expertise in Texas Jury Charge practice, often joining trial teams to write and argue motions, advise on legal strategies and error preservation, and handle the jury-charge conference and post-trial motions. Karlene served as lead appellate counsel and argued cases before the Texas Supreme Court, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and several of the intermediate Texas Courts of Appeals.


Texas Monthly magazine rated Karlene an appellate practice “Rising Star” her last three years at Baker Botts and a Super Lawyer in 2020. Before founding Kuhn Hobbs, PLLC’s Houston office, Karlene was a staff attorney for Chief Justice Sherry Radack on the First District Court of Appeals in Houston. She resumed private practice so she could devote a portion of her practice to representing parents in parental-termination cases. She is also an adoptive parent, so she understands the intricacies and the real personal stakes regardless of who she is representing in a family-law or CPS case.

Karlene’s varied experience also includes representation in the family-law courts through the Houston Bar Volunteer Lawyers program, staffing legal clinics for HIV/AIDS patients, and representation of military veterans in the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. She has served as lead counsel on amicus briefs in the Texas Supreme Court, representing scholars and leading family-law counsel all over the country in cases involving significant family-law and custody policy and law. She is especially proud of taking, as lead attorney, a criminal pro bono case all the way to the United States Supreme Court, where she obtained a reversal for her client.

Active in the legal community, Karlene served as a council member of the Houston Bar Appellate Practice Section for seven years before being elected Chair of the section in 2016. She is a member of the Texas State Bar Appellate Section’s Amicus Committee. She has also written and presented on a wide variety of legal topics at local and statewide conferences.

Karlene is a single mom, widowed in 2015. She and her incredibly loved-and-missed husband Geoff have four sons. Karlene spends her free time with her great village of friends, joyfully taking advantage of every moment watching her children and their friends grow up and develop into amazing people.