The Columns

W&L Alumna Linda Klein ‘83L Named President of the American Bar Association

— by on August 9th, 2016

Linda Klein, a 1983 graduate of Washington and Lee’s School of Law, was installed as president of the American Bar Association during its annual meeting this week.

Klein will serve a one-year term in this role. She previously served as president-elect and as chair of the ABA House of Delegates, the association’s policy making body.

Klein is managing shareholder of the Georgia offices of Baker Donelson. Her practice concentrates on litigation, alternative dispute resolution and counseling business owners.

In her address during the ABA meeting, Klein outlined several of her initiatives, including improving access to justice and providing legal assistance for the nation’s veterans. She also emphasized two civic initiatives: one that mobilizes ABA resources to promote voting in the upcoming elections and another that will support the rights of all children to a quality education.

Klein becomes the seventh W&L Law alumnus to lead the ABA. Only Harvard and Columbia have produced more ABA presidents than W&L. Most recently, Robert J. Grey ‘76L served as ABA president in 2004-05. A partner at Hunton & Williams and executive director of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Grey received the ABA’s Spirit of Excellence award in 2014.

A past president of the State Bar of Georgia, and the first woman to hold that post, Klein worked to increase access to legal services for Georgia’s indigent. She devised and executed the plan to achieve the first state appropriation of tax dollars to support legal services.  She is vice-chair of the Georgia Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice, which works for increased access to courts, and a member of the Supreme Court Commission on Civil Justice.

Klein also has worked to uphold judicial excellence, and served as co-chair of a state Judicial Evaluation Committee, a member of the state’s Judicial Nominating Commission, and a member of a committee established by former Sen. Max Cleland to advise on filling federal judicial vacancies in the Northern District of Georgia.

She has held leadership positions in the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, the Atlanta Bar Association and the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers, and is a founding as well as a member of the Georgia chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the Gate City Bar and the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys.

Among her numerous awards and recognitions, Klein was the recipient of the ABA’s 2010 Fellows Outstanding State Chair Award and was honored with the Randolph Thrower Lifetime Achievement Award 2009 from the State Bar of Georgia, which recognizes Georgia attorneys for their achievements in promoting diversity in the legal profession. In 2015, she received the State Bar of Georgia’s Distinguished Service Award, and the Daily Reports first ever Lifetime Achievement Award.

Klein received her law degree from Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Va., and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Union College, Schenectady, N.Y.

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