The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and its related entities operate the bus and trolley system in San Diego’s central, South Bay and East County regions. MTS owns substantial real estate holdings for its various stations, trackway and fleet facilities. MTS also regulates taxicab operations. As MTS General Counsel, Karen Landers represents MTS in all legal matters, including real property/joint-development negotiations, public contracting, inter-agency agreements, regulatory compliance, public safety/code enforcement and public meetings. She oversees work by outside counsel in various litigation or specialized matters. Landers approaches her legal responsibilities as part of a team approach to determine how the agency’s policy and business objectives can be met in an efficient and lawful manner. She begins almost every transaction or negotiation by identifying the risks involved, and which party is best able to control or mitigate against a specific risk. An equitable and reasoned resolution generally follows.
Before being named as MTS general counsel in January 2011, Landers worked as a senior deputy county counsel for the County of San Diego, where she represented various departments, including the Department of General Services and the San Diego County Fire Authority. At the county office, Landers negotiated agreements between the county and various public agencies and private entities for public works projects, real estate transactions and development projects; represented the county in negotiations with the state of California for state bond financing; and advised county departments on procurement and contracting issues.
Landers also acted as legal counsel for the County Office of Internal Affairs, the Civil Service Commission, the Citizen’s Law Enforcement Review Board, San Diego LAFCO, and non-county special districts. Landers began her career as an attorney at Best Best & Krieger LLP, where she represented various public agencies in property transactions, contract disputes, labor/employment issues, eminent domain/inverse condemnation and other litigation matters.
Landers earned her law degree from University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1999, and a B.S. in planning and development from the University of Southern California in 1995. Landers is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association, Lawyers Club, Association of Corporate Counsel – San Diego Chapter, and the American Public Transportation Association Legal Affairs Committee.
Landers is a San Diego native. She lives in Carmel Valley with her husband, attorney Thomas Landers, and two children, Nathan and Nolan. Nathan is a junior at Canyon Crest Academy and plays baseball. Nolan starts kindergarten this fall, and loves all things "Star Wars" or super hero related. Especially costumes.