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August 01, 2016

Veterans, voting and education top new ABA president’s priorities

New ABA President Linda A. Klein, senior managing partner at Baker Donelson in Atlanta, will focus on legal services for veterans, the importance of voting, and crucial education issues during her one-year term as the association’s president.

The ABA Veterans Legal Services Initiative, led by a 20-member commission, is establishing a website providing legal resources to meet the specific needs of veterans and their families. In addition, the initiative will promote medical-legal partnerships for resolving problems and will rejuvenate a project providing pro bono legal help to help reduce the backlog of veterans’ benefits claims.

“As we lay the groundwork for this effort, I hope we can create a legacy that will help millions of veterans who so bravely served our nation,” Klein said.

Her voting initiative includes a website with state-by-state information about voter laws and encourages lawyers to be advocates for voting and to work at the polls on election day.

Klein also has set up a Childhood Education Commission to develop recommendations for providing high-quality education for children from low-income families, children of color, children with disabilities, children whose primary language is not English, children in foster care, and homeless children.

Another initiative that emerged from a listening tour she took around the country during the past year is ABA Blueprint, a one-stop shop website with resources to help lawyers, especially solo practitioners and those in small law firms, better meet the needs of their clients.

“Working with your bars, the ABA will enhance our resources that help our members—especially solo practitioners and those in small firms, that’s 76 percent of all U.S. lawyers—with marketing, managing their practices and getting out ahead of what’s new in technology,” Klein said.

Klein, who was chair of the ABA House of Delegates (HOD) from 2010 to 2012, also is a former chair of the Section of Tort Trial and Insurance Practice, the HOD Committee on Rules and Calendar, the Coalition for Justice, and ABA Day in Washington. 

The first woman president of the State Bar of Georgia, Klein has received numerous awards and has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America, Who’s Who in America, and Chambers USA.

She received her law degree from Washington and Lee University in Virginia and her B.A. from Union College in New York.