About Sommer Karnes Law Firm


Karl H. Sommer and Joseph M. Karnes have worked together for over a decade in Santa Fe, and formed their partnership in 2010. Combined they have over fifty (50) years of legal experience. The firm has earned the reputation of effectively and efficiently helping people identify, assess and solve their legal issues.

Sommer Karnes focuses on real property issues of all types, including land use, zoning, probate, real estate, condominium, business formation and planning, finance, commercial litigation, construction defects litigation, contracts – and related litigation, mediation and arbitration. The firm also handle domestic relations and family law. Our attorneys practice in both federal and state courts and before administrative agencies of the state and federal government.

Sommer Karnes & Associates has played a key role in many of the major Santa Fe development projects and real estate and land use issues in recent decades. Our 100+ years of collective experience as counselors and our knowledge of the law and the local area provide us with perspective to identify pathways to success, potential pitfalls along the way and strategies for managing risk and saving time. Minimizing delay is critical and realistic projections enable informed decisions to be made early in the process.

Santa Fe has earned its reputation as the “City Different.” Navigating matters such as deeds, property boundaries and easements, legal lots of record, restrictive covenants, zoning, planning, the City of Santa Fe Code and its historic, escarpment, terrain management and green development ordinances, neighborhoods and politics, and the County approval process can prove complex in an area with over 400 years of “modern” history occupying an area where people have lived for thousands of years.

Sommer Karnes helps clients with all manner of real estate and land-related issues as well as related areas including construction defect, property tax and general business litigation, estate planning and administration, business formation, operation and disputes and regulatory compliance.

Our team of attorneys: Karl Sommer, Joseph Karnes, Denise Thomas, and John Fox, supported by our staff including Certified Paralegal Mychal Delgado and Deb Tupler, Office Manager Robbie Sommer and Receptionist/File Manager Juella Montano are prepared to address your needs in a timely manner.

Sommer Karnes has represented applicants for major City and County approvals in recent years including the 500 acre Las Soleras annexation, General Plan Amendment and rezoning, downtown projects including the Villas at the Lensic and First National Bank mixed use project, the High Summit subdivision along Hyde Park Road, the Town Center at Las Campanas and the Alameda Lofts residential rezoning and development project. Our land use litigation practice has both successfully defended and prosecuted appeals of local government zoning decisions. We regularly appear before all City and County of Santa Fe decision-making bodies as well as jurisdictions throughout northern New Mexico.

Sommer Karnes’ transactional real estate practice has facilitated complex multi-party transactions for large affordable housing projects, multi-million dollar residential and commercial real estate deals as well as raw land and single family home sales.

Northern New Mexico is a unique, special and complex place. It is our home and we are passionate about helping people succeed. To schedule an appointment, please call (505) 989-3800.

sommer karnes attorneys

Our History


  • 2005 - Karl Sommer opened own firm Karl Sommer & Associates after twenty years of real estate practice with Sommer Udall
  • 2008 - Joseph Karnes joined Karl Sommer & Associates after intense land use and development law practice in Northern California
  • 2010 - Sommer Karnes was founded by Karl Sommer and Joseph Karnes
  • 2016 - John Fox joined partnership to Sommer Karnes bringing decades of real property and litigation experience to the firm
  • 2017 - Denise Thomas joined the firm and focuses on domestic relations and family law matters

Contact Us

Contact us or give us a call to discover how we can help.


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