and No Longer Counting
Linda Klein is exemplary;
back in the day, she knew she had to be
BY TOM BARRY
PHOTOGRAPHY BY STAN KAADY
IN 1994, LINDA A. KLEIN, A CONSTRUCTION ATTORNEY WITH
Gambrell & Stolz, became the first woman elected to serve as
secretary of the State Bar of Georgia. Newspapers across the state
carried the story.
But what followed was unexpected.
“I started getting calls from all over the state,” says Klein, “from
women who were the victims of domestic violence. They’d say
things like, ‘My husband hits me, and in front of the children.’
“Those calls changed my life. I had to do something.”
Klein knew nothing about family law but tapped into the
network of lawyers who helped her win office, asking each attorney
to take a pro bono case and assist a victim.
Then came another surprise.
While willing to handle multiple pro bono cases, the lawyers
were reluctant to touch those involving domestic violence. “The
last time they’d had one, the husband had come to the office with
a gun or [approached the lawyer’s] wife at the grocery store,” says
Klein, relaying their stories. “We couldn’t find help for those who
needed it most.”
Meanwhile, Georgia Legal Services Program and the Atlanta
Legal Aid Society faced huge cutbacks in federal funding.
“They had to turn so many people away,” says Klein. “It was
heartbreaking. They told me 85 percent of those who sought help
Other factors compounded the heartbreak. “Studies show that
when children witness domestic violence, the boys become violent