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State Bar of Georgia Military Legal Assistance Program Honors Linda Klein

Linda A. Klein, senior managing shareholder in the Georgia offices of Baker Donelson and a past president of the State Bar of Georgia and the American Bar Association, was honored with the 2018 Marshall-Tuttle Award, presented by the State Bar of Georgia during its Fall Meeting at Callaway Gardens.

Ms. Klein received the award in recognition of her leadership in mobilizing lawyers on behalf of enhanced legal services for the nation’s veterans. As president of the American Bar Association (ABA) in 2016-17, Ms. Klein launched a nationwide Veterans Legal Services initiative, led by a 20-member volunteer commission that is building a comprehensive online resource to inform veterans of legal issues that could affect them and directs veterans to local resources and legal services providers.

Ms. Klein was elected in 1997 as the first woman president of the State Bar of Georgia. During her term, she worked with legal services providers and community organizations to successfully lobby the Georgia General Assembly for a first-ever state appropriation of funding for legal services, in response to federal cuts that threatened to disproportionately affect victims of domestic violence. In 2015, she received the Distinguished Service Award, the State Bar’s highest honor. In 2004, the ABA honored Ms. Klein with the prestigious Margaret Brent Achievement Award, and she received the 2009 Randolph Thrower Lifetime Achievement Award and 2011 Chief Justice Thomas O. Marshall Professionalism Award from the State Bar of Georgia. She was recognized with the first Lifetime Achievement Award from The Daily Report in 2015, was named a “Champion for Justice” by the Georgia Legal Services Program in 2013, and was honored with The Daily Report's 2018 Attorney of the Year Award.

The Marshall-Tuttle Award is named in honor and memory of Army Cpl. Evan Andrew Marshall, a soldier from Athens, Ga., who was killed in action in Iraq in 2008, and in honor and memory of U.S. Circuit Judge Elbert Parr Tuttle. Tuttle was in the Army for 30 years, was a founding partner of the Atlanta law firm of Sutherland Asbill and served as a federal judge for 43 years. He also provided pro bono legal services to many people, including John Johnson, a young Marine. In 1938, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Johnson v. Zerbst that counsel must be provided for all defendants in federal criminal trials who cannot afford to hire their own attorneys. The State Bar determined that these two men, Evan Marshall and Elbert Tuttle, each contributed mightily to the state of Georgia and the nation and to the ideal of service and sacrifice for the public good.

Since the Military Legal Assistance Program began in 2009, legal help has been provided to more than 2,200 military service members and veterans throughout Georgia. Through its Continuing Legal Education programs, the Bar has also provided training for more than 800 lawyers accredited to practice before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Currently in Georgia, more than 115,000 men and women are on active duty or serve in the National Guard or Reserves, and more than 690,000 veterans have chosen to live in Georgia.

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