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Chief Judge Karen K. Specie



Judge Specie was appointed to the bench on July 25, 2012. She serves as the Chief, and only, bankruptcy judge for the Northern District of Florida, presiding over cases in Tallahassee, Gainesville, Panama City and Pensacola. 

Judge Specie began her legal career with a law firm on the 28th Floor of the RCA building in mid-town Manhattan, New York, representing creditors in commercial litigation and bankruptcy. From there she relocated to Tampa, where she practiced with then Fowler, White, Boggs, et. al.  She since has practiced solo and as a shareholder with firms in Gainesville; just prior to taking the bench, Judge Specie was Of Counsel to Akerman LLP as part of its Bankruptcy and Reorganization practice group in Jacksonville, Florida. While in private practice, Judge Specie focused on commercial litigation and commercial and consumer bankruptcy cases throughout Florida and the Southeast. 

Judge Specie has taught Bankruptcy and Secured Transactions as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where she still teaches Advanced Bankruptcy. She has served as a Chapter 7 Panel Trustee for the Northern District of Florida; is a founder of the Federal Bar Association for North Central Florida; and has been a member of the Bankruptcy/UCC Committee of the Business Law Section of The Florida Bar since the early 1990s. 

Judge Specie currently serves on the Executive Council of the Florida Bar Business Law Section, is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, and is a member of ABI, INSOL, IWIRC, and NCBJ. In 2018, Judge Specie chaired the committee that organized and presented the Bankruptcy Roundtable at the Eleventh Circuit Judicial Conference.

In addition to traveling throughout the Northern District to perform her judicial duties, Judge Specie routinely speaks at CLE programs for various organizations such as The Florida Bar, the Alabama Bar Association, the Jacksonville Bankruptcy Bar Association, and the Northern District of Florida Bankruptcy Bar Association. Judge Specie received her B.A. from the University of South Florida and her J.D. from Florida State University College of Law.  Judge Specie’s interests include family, travel and horses.  She and her husband of 38 years have raised three children who are all enjoying their own careers and are very much enjoying their relatively new roles as grandparents.