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Karen Plumer Ruff is a partner at Brennan McKenna Mitchell & Shay, Chartered, resident in the firm’s Greenbelt office and is a member of the firm’s Municipal Practice Group. She practices primarily in the areas of municipal and land use law.

Ms. Ruff began her career practicing in the area of zoning and land use law at Zanecki, Lally and McDonough, in Prince George’s County, Maryland. In 1989, she joined the Howard County firm of Levan, Schimel, Belman & Abramson, P.A. (later, a regional office of Miles & Stockbridge, P.A.) where she continued practicing zoning and land use law and began representing municipalities. Ms. Ruff worked with Robert H. Levan, Esq., Senior Partner of Levan, Schimel, Belman & Abramson, for 22 years, when he retired. Ms. Ruff joined Brennan McKenna Mitchell & Shay, Chartered in 2012. For the past 26 years, Ms. Ruff has provided advice and counsel to a diverse group of Maryland municipalities, including the City of Annapolis, City of Bowie, the City of College Park, the City of Greenbelt, the City of Laurel, the Town of Berwyn Heights, the Town of Church Hill, the Town of Edmonston, the Town of Landover Hills and the Town of St. Michaels. Additionally, from 1998 until 2002, Ms. Ruff was the Assistant City Attorney for the City of Annapolis. Ms. Ruff has also served as counsel to numerous municipal boards and commissions.

As an attorney for municipalities, Ms. Ruff renders a myriad of legal services to the firm’s clients, including, but not limited to, counseling and issuing opinions to elected officials, municipal managers, department heads and staff on all matters of municipal concern, sitting with and advising elected bodies, reviewing requests for proposals, drafting contracts and legislation, and code enforcement.

Ms. Ruff has been a member of the Maryland Municipal Attorney’s Association (MMAA) of the Maryland Municipal League (MML) for numerous years. She has served as President and Secretary of the MMAA. She also has served as the MMAA’s representative to the MML’s Board of Directors for several years. Ms. Ruff is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association and the Prince George’s County Bar Association.


  • J.D., Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, 1987
  • B.A., LaSalle College, 1984, cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • Maryland