Karen Ashburn Rucker received a bachelor's degree in political science from Hampton University in 1985. She received her Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary in 1988. From 1988 to 1990, Mrs. Rucker served as a staff attorney for Virginia Legal Aid Society in Danville, Virginia. Mrs. Rucker became an Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney for the City of Hampton in 1990, serving from 1990 until 1996 prosecuting predominantly felony cases in the General District Courts and Circuit Courts for the City of Hampton and later supervising the attorneys in General District Court as a Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney. From 1996 to 2002, Mrs. Rucker served as a part-time Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney for York County/Poquoson City where she was the grant administrator and prosecutor for cases involving violence against women. In 2002, Mrs. Rucker returned to full-time prosecution in the City of Hampton and currently serves as Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney.