Linda Klein, the managing shareholder in Baker Donelson’s Georgia offices, assumed the role of president-elect of the 400,000 member American Bar Association Tuesday at the conclusion of the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago. She will serve a one-year term as president-elect then become ABA president in August 2016.
Paulette Brown, a partner and co-chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee at Locke Lord LLP in Morristown, N.J., became ABA president today and will serve until next August.
Klein’s practice area includes most types of business dispute resolution, including contract law, employment law and professional liability, working extensively with clients in the construction, higher education and pharmaceutical industries.
In June 1997, Klein became the first woman to serve as president of the State Bar of Georgia. During Klein’s term, she devised a proposal and advocated for the state to allocate funding for Georgia Legal Services and Atlanta Legal Aid to hire lawyers to help indigent victims of domestic violence. She organized a statewide group of community organizations and local and minority bar associations that together convinced the General Assembly to appropriate $2 million. Since then, the annual appropriations have helped thousands in Georgia with legal issues related to domestic violence.
Klein was one of the first women to lead a prominent Georgia law firm. She served as managing partner of Gambrell & Stolz, beginning in 2001, and led the firm’s 2007 merger with Baker Donelson, becoming a Baker Donelson board member and Georgia managing shareholder.
She served as chair of the ABA’s House of Delegates, the second highest office in the organization, from 2010−2012. She has also served as chair of the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, chair of the Committee on Rules and Calendar of the House of Delegates, chair of the Coalition for Justice, and chair of ABA Day, the Association’s outreach effort to Congress. She is a member of the Council of the ABA Section of International Law and also serves as a columnist and on the Board of Editors of Law Practice Management Magazine. In 2004, the American Bar Association honored Klein with the prestigious Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award.
“We are a professional trade association, but one that serves a higher calling to defend liberty and justice and to promote equity and fairness,” Klein said in a release. “Our vision is to make the law and our profession more inclusive, more effective and more inspiring. When the ABA leads, great things happen.”
Klein was an early member of the Board of Directors Network, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase diversity on corporate boards and general counsel positions. Her other community activities include leadership in Southface Energy Institute and the Buckhead Coalition. In June, Klein received the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor bestowed by the State Bar of Georgia. In 2009, Klein was honored with the Randolph Thrower Award for Lifetime Achievement from the State Bar of Georgia and was named to the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers.
Klein is listed in “The Best Lawyers in America”, “Who’s Who in America” and “Chambers USA.” She is regularly named to the “Super Lawyers” top 100 lawyers in Georgia, an honor bestowed upon only nine women in 2014. She is also regularly named one of the top 50 female lawyers in Georgia by “Super Lawyers.” In 1998, “Georgia Trend Magazine” named her one of the 100 most powerful and influential Georgians.
Klein earned her law degree at Washington & Lee Law School in Virginia and her Bachelor of Arts at Union College in Schenectady.