Klein is the owner of Karen Klein Mediation, LLC, mediating business disputes, personal injury claims, employment/labor disputes and other civil claims. From January 1985 until January 2015 she served as U.S. Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court in North Dakota. During the last 10 years of her judicial tenure she was the Chief Magistrate Judge for the court. Her primary judicial duties involved civil case management, mediation, civil trials and preliminary criminal proceedings. Judge Klein received her J.D. degree from the University of North Dakota in 1977. During law school she served as editor-in-chief of the North Dakota Law Review. Prior to her judicial appointment, she clerked for U.S. District Judge Paul Benson in Fargo, North Dakota, and then practiced law in Fargo for several years.
Judge Klein served the U.S. Judicial Conference on its Information and Technology Committee and Committee on the Magistrate Judges System. She also served on the Board of the Federal Judicial Center and as Chair of the Center’s Magistrate Judge Education Committee, through which she has participated in planning and presenting numerous judicial education programs. Judge Klein has also served as an international judicial education consultant and faculty member for judicial education workshops and reform efforts in about a dozen countries in the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe. She is a past president of the Federal Magistrate Judges Association and received its Founders Award in July 2014 in recognition of her contributions to the federal magistrate judges’ system.