November/December 2014

Retirement: Judge Karen K. Klein

Judge Karen K. Klein, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of North Dakota in Fargo, will retire January 10, 2015, after 30 years as a federal judge. She was appointed a part-time Magistrate Judge on January 9, 1985 and became a full-time Magistrate Judge on December 1, 1985. She served as Chief Magistrate Judge from 2005-2014.

Judge Klein was born on December 22, 1949 and raised in Minot, North Dakota. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Minot State College in 1971. After serving in the Volunteers in Service to America program, she enrolled in the University of North Dakota Law School in Grand Forks, where she graduated with her J.D. in 1977. Following law school, Judge Klein clerked for North Dakota’s U.S. District Court Judge Paul Benson from 1977-1979. She then worked in private practice for six years before her appointment to the federal bench.

Nationally recognized as an expert in mediation and settlement, Judge Klein has trained hundreds of federal and state judges in the effective use of mediation techniques. She has also traveled to several countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Eastern Europe to train judges and lawyers in the areas of ethics, mediation, and faculty development.


Judge Klein has served on numerous state and federal committees, including the Board of the Federal Judicial Center, 2005-2009; the Judicial Conference Committee on the Administration of the Magistrate Judges System, 1992-1998; and the Judicial Conference Committee on Information Technology, 2008- 2014. She served as Chair of the Federal Judicial Center Advisory Committee on Magistrate Judge Education and President of the Federal Magistrate Judges Association. In 2014, Judge Klein received the Federal Magistrate Judges Association’s highest honor, the Founders Award.

Congratulations, Judge Klein!