(May 11, 2015) Baker Donelson has recognized Jenna M. Bedsole and Linda A. Klein with the Firm's 2015 Susan E. Rich Award for excellence in the promotion of and commitment to women in the legal profession.
"Jenna and Linda are outstanding role models for women within the legal profession and beyond," said Christy Tosh Crider, chair of Baker Donelson's Women's Initiative. "Throughout her career, Linda has served as a champion and mentor for women and has influenced and encouraged women to become active in their profession and community. Jenna is a leader, confidante and mentor who has demonstrated an unwavering and tireless commitment to the advancement of women. We're very proud to recognize both of them with this honor."
A shareholder in the Firm's Birmingham office, Ms. Bedsole is chair of the Firm's Labor & Employment Practice Group. As co-chair of Baker Donelson's Women's Initiative Programming Committee, she is responsible for developing programs designed to help the Firm's women attorneys further their careers. She previously served as the 2013-2014 chair of the Birmingham Business Alliance Women's Business Council, which works to aid women in the achievement of their professional goals while encouraging a prosperous business community, and is currently serving as chair of the Birmingham Regional Economic Council, the coordinating body for all of the councils of the Birmingham Business Alliance. Ms. Bedsole is a member of the board of directors for Autism 2 Ability, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that focuses on helping children with autism spectrum disorders to successfully talk, learn and live. She is working with the organization to develop an app, named TALK, designed to help give a voice to all non-verbal individuals.
Ms. Bedsole is the executive producer and director of "Stand Up, Speak Out – The Nina Miglionico Story," a feature film documentary on the life and legacy of one of Alabama's first female attorneys.
Ms. Bedsole represents employers in a broad range of employment matters, including the defense of cases under federal and state discrimination laws, and the enforcement of non-compete agreements. She has been recognized by Alabama Super Lawyers in Labor & Employment and by The Best Lawyers in America® as a leading attorney in Labor & Employment Litigation.
Managing shareholder of the Firm's Georgia offices, Ms. Klein is the American Bar Association's president-elect nominee. In June 1997, she became the first woman to serve as president of the State Bar of Georgia. During her term, she developed and executed a plan to benefit indigent victims of domestic violence through the state's first legislative appropriation for legal services, which resulted in annual state funding for legal services for victims of domestic violence. She is a past president of the Board of Directors' Network, Southface Energy Institute, and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Buckhead Coalition. She has held numerous leadership positions for the ABA, including serving as chair of the American Bar Association's House of Delegates (the Association's second ranking officer), as chair of the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section and as chair of ABA Day, the association's Congressional outreach effort.
Ms. Klein is a recipient of the American Bar Association's prestigious Margaret Brent Achievement Award and the State Bar of Georgia's Randolph Thrower Award for Lifetime Achievement in Diversity. She has been recognized with the Sol H. Clark Pro Bono Award and was named to the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers.
Ms. Klein's practice includes most types of business dispute resolution, including contract law, construction law, higher education law and professional liability. She is listed in The Best Lawyers in America® and Chambers USA, and has been named by Super Lawyers as one of the top 100 lawyers in Georgia, an honor bestowed upon only nine women in 2014.
Baker Donelson established the Susan E. Rich award in honor of Susan Elliot Rich, a shareholder in the Firm's Chattanooga, Tennessee office, who was the Firm's first woman shareholder, the first woman to be appointed as an office managing shareholder and the first woman appointed to the Firm's board of directors. This award is given annually to a recipient who exemplifies ongoing commitment and effort to strengthen the role of women attorneys at the Firm.