A former Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge who served nearly three
decades on that bench, followed by eight years on the Pennsylvania Superior Court, will soon be recognized for his work in mediation and other forms of dispute resolution.
The Pennsylvania Bar Association announced last week that retired Judge Richard B. Klein, of the Dispute Resolution Institute in Philadelphia, will receive the group’s Sir Francis Bacon Alternative Dispute Resolution Award during the PBA’s annual meeting at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh hotel in downtown Pittsburgh on May 8.
The award honors a legal professional who has made a significant impact in bringing mediation and dispute resolution to the commonwealth.
Klein, who has more than a quarter-century’s worth of experience in alternative dispute resolution, joined the Dispute Resolution Institute in 2010 after 36 years as a state jurist, both at the trial and appellate court levels, according to the PBA.
He holds certifications in mediation from the National Judicial College and the American Bar Association Mediation Training for Judges and also holds arbitrator certification from the American Arbitration Association.
The retired judge is also an active member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committees for both the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Philadelphia Bar Association, and he was the founding co-chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Plain English Committee.
Klein has also served as vice chair of the Pennsylvania Futures Commission on Justice in the 21st Century, a body created by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court.
Klein, an honors graduate of Harvard Law School, often lectures on the topics of alternative dispute resolution and trial and appellate advocacy.
The former jurist also wrote and produced the first educational program for Pennsylvania attorneys regarding client representation in cases of mediation, according to the PBA.
According to an online biography, Klein was the youngest judge in state history when he first took a seat on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
“In his time on the bench, he has distinguished himself with clear, to-the-point opinions,” the biography reads. “He was not always in the majority but always urging the court to consider its role in ascertaining the purpose of legal doctrine to assure that litigants are treated fairly and the substantive law is followed.
“His work as a mediator and arbitrator, just as his opinions, reflect his work as a trial judge in the ‘pit’ of Philadelphia courts for 28 years.”
At the time he ran for state Superior Court judge, the Pennsylvania Bar Association Candidate Evaluation Commission gave Klein its highest recommendation for appellate service, saying he “possesses the character, integrity, fairness, administrative ability, and varied background, including exemplary community service and a long term commitment to teaching, which represent the best qualities in an appellate judge,” according to the online biography.
Pennsylvania’s Superior Court is the state’s second highest appellate body underneath the Supreme Court.