Linda Klein: A Story of Leadership in Sustainability

Linda Klein for the American Bar Association

Linda Klein for the American Bar Association

Leigh Varley contributed to this article.

Addressing sustainability requires an interdisciplinary approach that combines efforts of businesses, nonprofits, government and communities. Southface has long prided itself on connecting the dots in sustainability for government and business to interface with community initiatives. As a nonprofit, a strong relationship with the board of directors is essential to long-term growth and program effectiveness. Many of our board members provide invaluable connection and influence in the business community, and none more than Linda Klein of Baker Donelson. Below are excerpts from an interview with Linda about her involvement with Southface and her work in sustainability over more than two decades.

What drives you to remain engaged with Southface?
I believe in the mission. I have seen the influence Southface has in the field. I have seen how diligent the Southface team has been. Their enthusiasm is infectious.

In what ways has Southface influenced your worldview and your beliefs about sustainability?
I have learned so much through my association with Southface. I am able to use this information in my construction law practice. I invite my construction clients to learn more about Southface and invite them to the annual Visionary dinner because it is all about sustainability! Greenprints is a great place for my law firm colleagues who work in Real Estate and Construction law to learn from the pros.

What sort of sustainability initiatives are in place at Baker Donelson and what role have you played in laying this groundwork?
Each office has a corps of volunteers who meet quarterly via teleconference. Some of our offices are LEED certified, and all of the offices have removed disposable food service items, replacing them with real china, flatware, and glasses. We ask our landlords in our 19 offices for bike racks, recycle bins for trash and recycling of electronic equipment. We ask employees and cleaning staff to turn off the lights and employees to turn off computer monitors. When we built our Atlanta office our architects, Surber Barber Choate and Hertlein, installed light switches in all the offices that go on automatically and off when the room is not in use. Earth Day is a big event and each office chooses its focus for that day and plans a program around it. We are making progress with our initiative to become paperless. We encourage ride sharing. We monitor the efforts our clients are making toward sustainability and are proud to be responsive to clients who ask specifically in their RFPs about the efforts we make toward sustainability.

Southface has enjoyed stalwart support from the Atlanta community throughout the years. Few supporters have been as dedicated or committed to Southface’s work as Linda Klein of Baker Donelson. Linda has served on the board for 21 years, formerly as the chair. In addition to her leadership on the Southface board, Linda was recently elected President-elect of the American Bar Association (ABA) after serving her term as chair of the ABA’s House of Delegates. You can see her full bio here. Southface is grateful for her service and support over the years, and for the leadership she continues to provide.

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