Karl graduated from Rice University with a B.A. in electrical engineering in 1971. He then went on to earn a M.S. in biomedical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1973, and received his J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law in 1976. Before becoming a mediator, arbitrator and court master, Karl was a founding partner and special counsel to several law firms in Austin. His practice focused primarily on trial work in a variety of areas including environmental, product liability, personal injury, business, intellectual property and land use. Prior to that, Karl served as staff attorney in the Office of General Counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he advised EPA officials in rulemakings and represented EPA in pesticide litigation.
As an entrepreneur and Austinite, Karl welcomes this new opportunity as partner in KolarBayer with great enthusiasm and desire to help startups and small businesses thrive in the Austin business community.
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Karl grew up in East Texas with his two older sisters, raised by his father who was a Methodist minister, and his mother who was a devoted schoolteacher.
Karl graduated from Rice University with a B.A. in electrical engineering in 1971. He then went on to earn a M.S. in biomedical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1973. In Boston, he worked designing large-scale radar tracking systems for our then anti-ballistic program; routing airplanes at air traffic control; and rerouting school buses in the most efficient way possible for school bus desegregation.
Realizing that he was very interested in combining science and policy, Karl decided to go to The University of Texas School of Law. Through his experience working at the Texas Attorney General’s office and with Senator Don Adams during law school, Karl discovered that he really enjoyed trial work and accepted a position at a leading trial firm in El Paso upon graduation in 1976.
While at UT, Karl also met his wife Karen who worked for the Texas Senate and was elected Sergeant at Arms of the Texas Senate—a position few women had held at that point. After Karl graduated, the two traveled through Cuernavaca, Chiapas and Oaxaca, Mexico for twelve weeks learning Spanish. Then they married and moved to El Paso.
After a couple of years of trial and transactional work in El Paso, Karl and Karen traveled through Europe for a few months before accepting jobs in Washington, D.C.. Two years after working first as legislative director for U.S. Congressman Kent Hance, and then litigating pesticide cases for the Environmental Protection Agency, Karl was hired by a well-known Austin firm to work on environmental and product liability cases.
Eventually, Karl decided to open his own firm. Karl can remember the exact day and time the firm opened (November 11, 1982 at 8:30am) because his twin daughters were born the exact same day only a few minutes before. His practice focused primarily on trial work in a variety of cases including personal injury, business, intellectual property and land use. The firm soon grew to the size of seven lawyers and thirty employees.
After losing the Texas Supreme Court race in 1989, Karl was asked by a district judge to mediate an emotionally charged dispute. Since then, Karl has been called on by lawyers nationwide to evaluate their cases as a mediator, arbitrator, or court master. His neutral practice involves complex litigation, intellectual property disputes, construction disputes, contractual disputes as well as patent and discovery issues. To learn more, visit Karl’s website at www.karlbayer.com.
Karl has been a guest lecturer at the University of Monterrey Law School, and Anahuac Law School in Mexico City, as well as an adjunct professor at The University of Texas School of Law, teaching primarily in the areas of alternative dispute resolution, negotiation, and trial tactics. He is also on the Advisory Council for the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Center for Energy, Law, and Business at the University of Texas.
Outside of his legal practice, Karl ran a high-end seafood restaurant in Port Aransas learning firsthand about the grueling pace of the restaurant business and what it feels like to lose a business when Hurricane Celia destroyed the restaurant in 1970. He has also been a tech entrepreneur in a previous incarnation. While at law school, he and a friend designed software that strictly minimized the amount of busing involved, creating a solution with the least amount of travel time for the kids. They had secured a contract with the City of Austin, but then decided that the politics of rerouting the buses were more complicated than they thought and decided to close down their business.
Karl also likes making his own wine, harvesting his own honey, and helping Karen care for their fruit orchard at their cabin in Montana. In the last thirty years, Karl has seen Austin evolve from a small college town to a bustling hub of culture and technology and is excited to foster the start-up and small business development process with cost-effective legal counseling.
In working with Karl, Renée has gained experience in evaluating a wide range of disputes, including employment, construction, IP, and service contracts, and can advise clients on how best to avoid those disputes from the outset. Influenced by her experiences living abroad for many years, Renee is passionate about learning from different cultures. In addition to being a native English speaker, she is also fluent in French and Spanish. Today, as a partner in KolarBayer, Renee is excited to embark on new projects with clients of all backgrounds.
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Renée was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and moved with her parents and two sisters to Austin, Texas, when she was five. One of Renée’s favorite traditions as a young girl was making tamales with her family at Christmas time. She was always proud of her Mexican heritage and dreamed of exploring other cultures. At seventeen her dream came true. Before entering her senior year of high school, her father’s job took her family on an adventure to Grenoble, France. Renée graduated high school early and joined her family in Europe where she attended Saint Louis University’s Madrid Campus, and later enrolled in a French university to finish her undergraduate studies.
Renée attended Université Stendhal (Grenoble 3) earning an undergraduate degree in Applied Foreign Languages with a specialization in translation. Renée was set on making translation her profession until she began to notice that as a translator, one’s job is to be invisible. The two people conversing should have the impression that they are communicating directly to one another. After noting that often times a misunderstanding arose not from an erroneous translation but from not understanding the other’s culture, Renee realized that pursuing a legal career would allow her to become a visible mediator and negotiator.
After five and a half wonderful and life-changing years in Europe, Renée returned to Texas with her family to pursue a J.D. at the University of Texas School of Law. During law school, Renée participated in the 18th Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot competition in Vienna, Austria where she first met Karl and subsequently co-coached the UT team with him for the 20th Vis Moot competition. She worked as a student-attorney for the Transnational Workers Rights Clinic at the law school representing clients in employment disputes. Renée also studied abroad at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. Renée received her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in December 2012 and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2013.
Right out of law school, Renée was a Long Fellow for the Equal Justice Center, where she built upon her employment law experience. Since then, in clerking for Karl, Renée has gained experience in evaluating a wide range of disputes, including employment, construction, IP, and service contracts, and can advise clients on how best to avoid those disputes from the outset.
Through her experiences living abroad, Renée has developed fluency not only in French and Spanish languages, but also in their corresponding cultures. She has enjoyed watching Austin grow and is excited to be a part of it all by providing legal counsel to start-ups and small businesses.
When Renée isn’t practicing law, you can find her dancing tango, doing yoga, cooking new recipes, traveling with her fiancé, and spending time with family and friends.
Alyson plays a crucial role in taking care of client concerns and making sure that the office runs smoothly. She takes her role quite seriously and goes the long mile to make sure that scheduling issues, client concerns, availability questions, and emergencies are brought quickly to Karl and Renée’s attention. Alyson is excited about KolarBayer and the new possibilities it brings in providing accessible legal services and shaking up the old way of doing things!
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As a young girl growing up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, Alyson loved the summers, but always wished she could be elsewhere for the winters (she never liked wearing coats!). Her mother is a masseuse and passes along tips on healthy living and essential oils to her daughters; her father is a civil engineer and a die-hard Cleveland fan; and her older sister, now a medical device sales representative, was Alyson’s favorite playmate and her interpreter for awhile before Alyson started talking.
After taking a few courses in business at the community college she realized managing a business always intrigued her and keeping it organized was something she did well. Within three years, she was supporting two attorneys in downtown Cleveland who handled juvenile law, personal injury and divorce cases and managed their office for them. She went to school part-time in interior design during the four years she worked there.
In 2004, Alyson’s husband and high school sweetheart, Tom, was offered a position in Austin. Alyson was so happy to finally get rid of her big coats and move to warmer climes! Despite the big adjustment, in Alyson’s eyes, it’s the best thing that could have happened to them. She doesn’t see herself leaving—she would miss the tacos and the whole “keep Austin weird” vibe too much.
After interviewing for a position with Karl, Alyson noticed he was definitely one of the most tech savvy attorneys she knew and very much a forward thinker. Over ten years later, she is still working with Karl, and for the last few years, with Renée as well.
In 2009, at the age of twenty-nine, Alyson was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now in remission, she lives her life with a new purpose. Through her experience with cancer, Alyson discovered yoga and cooking. Through yoga she has learned patience, learned to accept change better, and learned that it’s ok to fall—you just get back up and try again.
Elena’s role in KolarBayer is to conduct business development research. She received a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin in 2015, and completed two certificates from the McCombs School of Business, one in business foundations and the other in public policy. Elena is committed to serving the Austin community by being part of the executive board of various organizations, which have included UT Austin Student Leaders Pursuing Law, AIESEC, and now AEM Jóvenes Austin, where she currently serves as Marketing Director.
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Growing up right next to the Mexican border, Elena experienced the true uniqueness of American multiculturalism. Always inspired by the drive and enthusiasm present in her community, she became an active member of it and took on the challenge of helping organize annual toy drives and holiday events for underprivileged neighborhoods. She graduated with distinguished honors from Sharyland High School and after completing the first year of college at the University of Texas Pan-American, she decided it was time to fly out of the nest and move on to bigger, better things (and weirder according to some t-shirts) in Austin, Texas.
In the Spring of 2015, Elena received a Bachelor’s Degree in Government, and two certificates from the McCombs School of Business – The Texas Business Foundations Program, and the Business and Public Policy Program.
A multi-tasker at heart, throughout her time at UT, Elena devoted her non-academic life to friends, family, and the executive boards of two campus organizations: Student Leaders Pursuing Law, where she moved up the ranks to become president, and AIESEC, where she was appointed external relations director and helped bring the co-founder of SXSW and Austin Chronicle, Louis Black, to speak at the Youth to Business Forum panel of 2014.
Through her involvement in other campus events and networking sessions she met Renee Kolar, and was recruited to join the KolarBayer team. She provides the millennial touch to the office and tries to keep things fresh.
Elena’s passion is serving others in the best way she can. She believes this is a lifestyle worth pursuing regardless of one’s occupation. Her interest in law resulted from her high involvement in, and regard for her community. She will begin law school in the Fall of 2016, and plans to specialize in either immigration or international law, with the end goal of eventually opening her own law practice and consulting firm. Looking forward, Elena is excited about applying her knowledge toward finding sustainable, strategic, and socially responsible solutions to improve the relationship between the private and public sectors.
Lee Simmons is an attorney, writer, and marketer with experience in business and intellectual property issues. His practice focuses on helping entrepreneurs and artists with business formation, trademark and copyright issues, and estate planning. Prior to earning his J.D., Lee was a content marketer with expertise in finance, economic trends, and business. He developed marketing campaigns and thought leadership encompassing global and regional economic risk and opportunity, and provided IPO analysis for global news organizations.
Lee began his journalism career as a reporter for the Sonoma Index-Tribune, where he covered city and county politics and the wine industry. From there he wrote for publications in Texas, California, and South Carolina, honing his skills in business reporting and economic analysis. His work has appeared in the Associated Press, Austin Business Journal, and The Crittenden Report on Real Estate Financing, among others. Lee was awarded a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and earned his law license in 2015.
Beth uses her legal and information sciences background to help the KolarBayer team with a variety of research projects. Beth began her legal career practicing pharmaceutical litigation at a Kansas City, Missouri-based international law firm. Prior to working with Karl, Beth practiced corporate litigation at a boutique firm in Austin, Texas that specializes in intellectual property law including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. She also has an extensive background in e-Discovery and software and technology licensing matters.
Beth earned a B.S. degree in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, an M.A. in Information Science and Learning Technologies from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law, where she was an Eastman Memorial Law Scholar. In her spare time, Beth is an advocate for homeless animals. She and her husband, Casey, currently live with their four rescue dogs.
Nat is the founder and creative director for Titlegraphic, a marketing and design firm in Austin, Texas. For more than ten years, Nat has consulted on brand & marketing strategies for a global list of clients. He’s also been the head of marketing and communications for a national network provider, a photojournalist and editor for ABC News, an adjunct language instructor in Paris, France, and a creative lead and multimedia trainer for Apple. For more information about Titlegraphic’s consulting services, visit www.titlegraphic.com.