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State Bar of Georgia

State Bar of Georgia Military Legal Assistance Program Honors Linda Klein

November 21, 2018
Contact: Sarah I. Coole or sarahc@gabar.org

Pine Mountain, Ga. – Linda A. Klein, senior managing shareholder in the Georgia offices of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz P.C. 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. 

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, 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.

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 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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The State Bar of Georgia, with offices in Atlanta, Savannah and Tifton, was established in 1964 by Georgia’s Supreme Court as the successor to the voluntary Georgia Bar Association, founded in 1884. All lawyers licensed to practice in Georgia belong to the State Bar. Its more than 50,000 members work together to strengthen the constitutional promise of justice for all, promote principles of duty and public service among Georgia’s lawyers, and administer a strict code of legal ethics.