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Karl received his Juris Doctor degree in law from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1980. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology with a minor in mathematics from Winthrop University in 1978, graduating summa cum laude with honors.
He is admitted to practice before all State and Federal Courts in South Carolina, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States. He is a member of the South Carolina Association for Justice and the American Association for Justice. During law school, Karl was a member of the Order of Wig & Robe and the ABA National Moot Court team, national finalists. He was also a Finalist in the J. Woodrow Lewis Moot Court Competition.
Karl received the 2019 Platinum Compleat Lawyer Award from the University of South Carolina School of Law.
Karl is a Lifetime Fellow and Past President of the South Carolina Bar Foundation (having previously served as Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer), and a member of its Justice Legacy. He is Past Chair of the SC Bar Alternative Dispute Resolution Section and a former member of the South Carolina Bar House of Delegates and the Supreme Court's Joint Commission on Alternative Dispute Resolution. He was the Municipal Court Judge for the Town of Timmonsville and President of the Florence County Bar. He has also been appointed in the past by the South Carolina Supreme Court to be an Attorney to Protect Clients' Interests and an Attorney to Assist Disciplinary Counsel. He is a Master in the Pee Dee Chapter of American Inns of Court®.
Karl served 20 years on the Board of Trustees at his alma mater, Winthrop University, with six terms as its Chair and six terms as its Vice-Chair. He was the first male alumnus to serve on the Board, and serve as its Board Chair, as well as the first male to serve as President of the Winthrop Alumni Association and receive its Algernon Sydney Sullivan and Distinguished Service Awards. He served on the association's Executive Board for 13 years. He was also a member of the Winthrop Foundation Board of Directors and the Winthrop University Real Estate Foundation Board of Directors. Karl served on the Search and Selection Committees for the Tenth and Eleventh Presidents of Winthrop University.
Karl is a founding member of the Board of Directors and past President of the Pee Dee Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Assault, and has served continuously on its Board for over 32 years. He was a Board member of the Pee Dee Mental Health Center and President and board member of the Mental Health Association of Florence County. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Mental Health Awareness Foundation.
Karl has presented at numerous continuing legal education seminars, the South Carolina Judicial Conference, American Inns of Court®, and professional association conferences and conventions in the areas of expert witnesses; advanced mediation techniques; effective advocacy in mediation; arbitration certification; starting a mediation practice; early neutral evaluation (ENE); exploring new forms of ADR; mistakes, myths and misunderstandings in mediation; guardian ad litem certification; applying computer technologies to the practice of law; equitable division of marital and business assets; and legal ethics.
Karl is a member of the South Carolina Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He is Past Chair of the Technology Committee of the South Carolina Association for Justice, served as administrator of its membership listserv for 12 years, and received the SCAJ President's Award in 2013. He has an AV® Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating available.
A certified civil court mediator and arbitrator in state and federal courts, and a certified family court mediator, Karl maintains an active ADR practice, having mediated over 4,300 cases in four states and arbitrated over 330 cases in three states. He is a member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals and a founding member of the South Carolina Academy of Mediators and Arbitrators. He served on the Association for Conflict Resolution South Carolina Chapter Organizing Committee and its founding Board of Directors. He was Vice-Chair and board member of the South Carolina Council for Conflict Resolution.
Karl has been a member of Cross & Crown Lutheran Church for over 30 years. He is also a licensed SC Real Estate Broker with Folkens Real Estate, LLC, and was a founder and planner of the Blue Ridge Boxster Summit for 20 years.
Karl is married to Nell Folkens, the firm manager of Folkens Law Firm, P.A., and broker-in-charge of Folkens Real Estate, LLC. Karl is the proud father of Elizabeth, a Winthrop alumna accountant, and Anna Leah, also a Winthrop alumna who recently received a master of arts in marriage and family therapy. Karl is also the proud step-father to Chase, owner of Carolina Creations Taxidermy, LLC, in Sardis, SC, and Ali, owner of Ali Wilder Interiors, LLC, in Mt. Pleasant, SC. He is also the proud grandfather to Louie, Dawson and Eli.
Karl was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. After high school, he worked for two years for the Division for Parish Services of the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) as a Youth Staffer to the North Carolina and South Carolina Synods before attending college and law school.
Karl completed his goal of visiting all 50 states before turning 50 and traveled to all seven continents, having made his continental Antarctica landing on New Year's Eve December 2017 (followed by a celebratory Polar Plunge!). In addition to being an avid traveler, he enjoys photography, playing guitar, studying behavioral economics, playing with Milly the Office Dog, and all things technological.
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