Senate Resolution 380, a resolution that commended Ms. Klein for her service to the legal profession, the State of Georgia and the American Bar Association, was announced during a ceremony in the Senate chamber on March 13.
"I have the privilege of working nationally and globally on protecting the rule of law that makes democracy great. In my work every day, I know that I am an ambassador of sorts for our State because all who meet me recognize me as a citizen of Georgia," Ms. Klein said. "I came to Georgia 34 years ago and I have never looked back. This is my home. I'm honored to be a Georgian and I'm grateful to be an American."
The resolution noted Ms. Klein's many achievements and contributions to the field of law, including her role as the current president for the American Bar Association, the world's largest voluntary professional association; her numerous board of director and executive committee positions with local and state organizations; and her extensive honors and recognitions including the State Bar of Georgia's Randolph Thrower Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Distinguished Service Award, as well as the ABA's prestigious Margaret Brent Achievement Award.
In her current role as president of the ABA, Ms. Klein's key initiative focuses on improving access to justice for veterans. Under her leadership, the new ABA Commission on Veterans' Legal Services is creating comprehensive online resources to address veterans' unique legal needs, working with law schools and bar associations to make affordable legal services available using new and under-employed lawyers, and with VA medical facilities to promote legal check-ups for veterans, their families and caregivers. Her efforts have raised awareness of the issue and resulted in lawyers across the country providing pro bono services to veterans in need.
She also co-created the ABA's Task Force on Building Public Trust in the American Justice System to advise the ABA on how the legal profession can develop solutions to help restore the public's confidence in the criminal justice system, and has appointed a working group to implement the task force report nationally.
Before being chosen as ABA president-elect in 2015, Ms. Klein served as chair of the ABA's House of Delegates, the second-highest elected office in the organization, from 2010 to 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 Congressional outreach effort.
In June 1997, Ms. Klein became the first woman to serve as president of the State Bar of Georgia. During her 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.
Ms. 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.
Ms. 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 and among 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.
Ms. Klein earned her J.D. at Washington & Lee Law School in Virginia and her B.A. at Union College in New York. Her practice includes most types of business dispute resolution, including contract law and professional liability, working extensively with clients in the construction, higher education and pharmaceutical industries.