Sandy Karlan is certified by The Florida Supreme Court as a family court mediator and is board certified by The Florida Bar in Marital and Family Law. She is the author of a chapter on Bankruptcy for the Matthew Bender six-volume series on Florida Family Law and is currently a commentator on bankruptcy law for The Florida Family Law Reporter published by Matthew Bender. She has also written numerous articles and lectured on bankruptcy and family law, and is regularly invited to teach at Judicial College.
Sandy Karlan was appointed by Governor Lawton Chiles to the Circuit Court in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Miami-Dade County where she served for almost 20 years until December 2014. During that time, she also served as the Administrative Judge of the Family Division. As Administrative Judge of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit’s Family Division, Sandy Karlan was responsible for projects including coordination between the Court and Department of Revenue regarding child support matters. She also helped to develop KidSide, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing funding for Family Court Services.
For several years, Sandy Karlan was a member of the Florida Supreme Court’s Family Court Steering Committee, which developed the model family court and the Florida Supreme Court adopted the model in May 2001. She was Chair of the Florida Bar Commission on the Legal Needs of Children, which studied the needs of children who appear in all divisions of Florida courts and produced a comprehensive report documenting the unmet legal needs of children, including recommendations to meet those needs in areas such as representation and confidentiality. That report provided a blueprint for changes that have subsequently been implemented.
Her recent appointment, as a member of the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet was made by Governor Rick Scott. The Cabinet’s statutory purpose is to ensure that services for children and youth are coordinated between state agencies and delivered to improve the quality of life for Florida’s children.
Sandy Karlan received her Juris Doctor degree in 1978 with honors from the Shepard Broad Law Center at Nova Southeastern University. In private practice for 17 years, she specialized in bankruptcy and family law.
Sandy Karlan received numerous awards throughout her career including the Greater Miami Jewish Federation Community Service Award and Legal Services of Greater Miami has created the Judge Sandy Karlan Law Student Fellowship in her honor. She is currently a board member and past President of the Florida Chapter of the Association of Family & Conciliation Courts (FLAFCC) and a member of the International Women’s Forum.