Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 14

FEATURE
For Klineberg, the first order of business is to provide Bar members access
to resources to help them navigate the new normal in their personal and
professional lives. "Among the first steps I intend to take is to ensure that
the Bar's services that are focused on our members' mental health and
well-being, particularly our Lawyer Assistance Program and our Practice
Management Advisory Service, which assists lawyers to develop and
follow successful business models, have the resources they need to
handle what I expect to be a surge in requests for assistance," Klineberg
says. Klineberg also intends to work closely with the D.C. Bar Pro Bono
Center to safely restart its monthly in-person Advice & Referral Clinics to
meet the expected unprecedented demand for civil legal assistance in
the District of Columbia.
Here, Klineberg talks about his journey into law, the people who helped
shape his legal career, how he will work to advance the Bar's core
missions, and, perhaps unbeknownst to many, his love of theater.
Tell us about your background and upbringing.
I grew up in Houston, Texas. We moved there from New Jersey when
I was eight years old so that my father could teach in the sociology
department at Rice University. My mother had just completed her first
two years of law school at Temple University in Philadelphia when we
moved, so she finished up her law degree at the University of Houston.
I remember how exciting it was when she took me out of school so
I could accompany her to Austin as she got sworn into the Texas Bar.
(She is still practicing. Her area of expertise is the Texas Alcoholic
Beverage Code, and she's the go-to person in the state.)
I don't think I understood anything about what [being a lawyer] meant
at the time, but I do remember how very serious everyone was and
how pleased my mother seemed. We lived only blocks away from the
university, so
my younger
sister and
I spent a lot
of our time on
campus among
the students
and kids of
other professors.

Klineberg with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun
in 1993.

14

WASHINGTON LAWYER

*

JUNE 2020

My father was
typically home
when we
returned from
school, there to
engage with us
about our day
and get us back
and forth to
various afterschool activities.
My mother
worked in her
office until the
end of the day,
and she would
often call me in

the late afternoon to ask me to get dinner started. This was the early to
mid-1970s, and most of my friends' mothers were stay-at-home moms.
So I felt kind of special with parents who subverted the traditional roles-
a mom who was also a lawyer and a dad who delighted in spending as
much time as possible at home.
How did you decide on a career in the law?
Growing up, I had imagined that I might one day be a professor of law,
merging the careers of my parents. I had no real idea what that required
or involved, but it sounded like a good answer to the question of what
I wanted to do when I grew up.
However, by the time I finished college, where I majored in international
relations, I was dead set against law school, resisting what seemed like the
default choice that all my friends were making at the time. Instead, I went
to graduate school, concentrating on political theory and international
institutions. It was only at the end of that two-year master's degree
[program] when I thought that maybe the study of law would be interesting after all.
I enrolled in Yale Law School expecting that I would continue along a
purely academic path. But I soon discovered that I was surrounded by
much smarter people with similar ambitions, and I realized that I might
not be cut out for a legal academic career after all. I found that I was
drawn more to solving other people's legal problems than I was to
figuring out academically what questions needed answering.
After spending three years clerking after law school, I was convinced
that I wanted to practice law. I took a slight detour for the next two
years, working for the U.S. deputy attorney general on a variety of legal
policy issues at the Justice Department. But then, in 1995, I began
private practice at my firm, where I have been ever since, with the
exception of a one-year leave of absence in the State Department's
Office of the Legal Adviser.
Talk about your time at Yale Law School.
As I mentioned, my original plan was to go to law school and become
a legal academic. So I thought that there would be no better place than
Yale. And while I loved my classes in jurisprudence and legal philosophy,
what I didn't expect was how much I enjoyed the more practical classes
on civil procedure, federal jurisdiction, administrative law, and property.
I also had the opportunity to work for New Haven Legal Assistance and
to experience firsthand the extraordinary impact that lawyers can have
on people in need of legal help. I loved my time at Yale and am still very
close to many of my professors and classmates. We are celebrating our
30th reunion this year, which is really hard to believe!
Early in your career, you worked for one of the Bar's Legends in
the Law, Judge Patricia Wald. Do you have any memories to share?
I had the great fortune to clerk for three extraordinary judges: José
Cabranes (then of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut);
Patricia Wald of the D.C. Circuit; and Harry Blackmun of the U.S. Supreme
Court. Judge Wald was already a legend by the time I met her, and she
more than lived up to her billing.
My co-clerks and I were a little scared of her at first; it took her a few
months of interacting with us and reading our memos before she got
comfortable that she had not made a terrible mistake in hiring us. But
after that initial period, she relaxed a bit and shared with us her stories



Washington Lawyer - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - June 2020

YOUR VOICE
FROM OUR PRESIDENT
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
BAR BUSINESS: BUDGET REPORT
MEET GEOFFREY M. KLINEBERG: 49TH PRESIDENT OF THE D.C. BAR
MOVING THE NEEDLE ON LAW FIRM DIVERSITY
THE 2020 JOHN PAYTON LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
JAMES SANDMAN GOES BACK TO SCHOOL
LAW & SERVICE: OAG CONNECTS TO THE COMMUNITY
ON FURTHER REVIEW
THE LEARNING CURVE
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
WORTH READING
ATTORNEY BRIEFS
DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
THE PRO BONO EFFECT
SPECIAL SECTION: UNFINISHED FIGHT
LAST WORD
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 4
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - YOUR VOICE
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - FROM OUR PRESIDENT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 7
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 9
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - BAR BUSINESS: BUDGET REPORT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - MEET GEOFFREY M. KLINEBERG: 49TH PRESIDENT OF THE D.C. BAR
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - MOVING THE NEEDLE ON LAW FIRM DIVERSITY
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 22
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - THE 2020 JOHN PAYTON LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 26
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - JAMES SANDMAN GOES BACK TO SCHOOL
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - LAW & SERVICE: OAG CONNECTS TO THE COMMUNITY
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - ON FURTHER REVIEW
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - THE LEARNING CURVE
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 40
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - WORTH READING
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - ATTORNEY BRIEFS
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - THE PRO BONO EFFECT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 48
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - SPECIAL SECTION: UNFINISHED FIGHT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 51
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - LAST WORD
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover4
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