The Hon. Karen Ackerson Gauff is a judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court in California. She was appointed to the bench in 2010 by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. She was formerly Karen Ackerson-Brazille.
Judge Ackerson Gauff received her bachelor's degree from the University of California, San Diego. She went on to earn her J.D. from Whittier School of Law in 1991.
Akerson Gauff joined the United States Airforce Reserves where she served from 1985 to 1991 as a paralegal for the Judge Advocate General's Office also known as JAG's.
During that time, Ackerson Gauff also clerked for the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office from 1989 to 1992 and the Department of Airports for a year starting in 1990. After her clerkship, she joined the law firm of Albright, Yee, and Schmit as an associate where she practiced until 1992. Ackerson Gauff then entered into private practice, where she served as a criminal defense attorney as well as a civil rights prosecutor. She would leave the private sector in 2000 to join the California Department of Justice's Office of the Attorney General, where she served as a deputy attorney general. During her 10 years with the A.G's office, Ackerson Gauff was assigned to their Health, Education and Welfare Division. She remained with the A.G.'s office until her appointment to the Superior Court in 2010.
Judge Ackerson Gauff, who had a difficult childhood growing up, was the youngest of seven children in her family. In 2015 she authored a book of memoirs which drew upon her childhood experiences.
She has been an active member of her community. She served as a minister at her church and has lectured across the nation on the subjects of domestic violence, and mental illness. In 2007 she founded the Legal Eagles program that offers a free legal clinic. She has also presided as a judge for the Compton High School Teen Court program and has served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity.