Karl graduated from Westminister College in Fulton, Missouri, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1970. On the same day he graduated, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army, having completed four years of ROTC while attending college. Karl graduated in 1973 from the University of Missouri School of Law in Columbia, Missouri, and ranked in the upper 25% of his class. While a student at the University of Missouri School of Law, he was named in the Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, 1973 Edition. He received the American Jurisprudence Prize Award for Juriprudence 1972-73. He was a finalist in the school's moot court competition, and in his final year of law school he served as co-chairman of the Moot Court Committee.
Following law school, Karl served in the Army and was in the reserves or subject to reserve duty for six years. He was honorably discharged.
On December 3, 1973, upon his return from active duty, Karl was sworn in as a licensed lawyer in the State of Missouri by Judge Ben Pyle in the Division II Courtroom in Carthage, Missouri, with his father as witness. Thus began his career as a practicing lawyer in Jasper County, Missouri, with the firm then known as Blanchard, Van Fleet, Robertson and Dermott.
Since starting his practice in 1973 Karl has tried more than 100 jury trials, many cases to the judge, binding arbitration in construction litigation. Throughout his career, he has represented both plaintiffs and defendants, selected juries and tried to verdict matters involving malpractice, product liability, automobile injuries, banking lititgation and civil rights.
Karl has litigated cases in both State and Federal Courts, tried both civil and criminal cases in at least ten different counties in the State of Missouri as well as in the US District Western District of Missouri. He has appeared in the US Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis, and handled appellate cases in the Missouri Courts of Appeals, the Missouri Supreme Court and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
In 1993 Karl was invited to become a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Karl served on the executive board of the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys (ADTA) from 1989-1992. He has been a member of the Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers (MODL) since 1990, serving as President 2007-2008. At the MODL Annual Meeting in June, 2013, he was recognized for his outstanding service in conducting trial practice seminars and education for young lawyers. As a member of MODL, Karl has been a faculty member for 12 years at the John L. Oliver, Jr, MODL Trial Academy and currently serves as Trial Academy Chairman.
Karl has been active as an author and speaker, participated on numerous committees for many local, state and national legal organizations.
Karl currently serves on the Tournament Committee for the Annual Dennis Ditto Memorial Tournament. He has served on the Joplin YMCA Board of Directors, Twin Hills Golf and Country Club Board, serving as President in 1993. He has been active with the local United Way, Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and is a member of the First United Methodist Church in Joplin.
From 1990-92, following his son's successful battle with cancer, he served on the Auxiliary Board to the Oncology Department of Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.
Karl has two sons: Trey, age 28 and Tyler, age 22.