Karen Klein

Retired United States Magistrate Judge

Served as U.S. Magistrate Judge for 30 years

Widely recognized as a settlement expert


  • Served as U.S. Magistrate Judge in the U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota for 30 years, from January 1985 until January 2015.
  • Appointed as Chief Magistrate Judge in 1993.
  • Began legal career as law clerk to Chief U.S. District Judge Paul Benson in Fargo, ND from 1977-1979.
  • Practiced law in Fargo from 1979-1985.
  • Established mediation as a part of the federal district court’s civil case management in 1985 and became one of the first judges/lawyers in North Dakota to mediate civil disputes.
  • Successfully mediated thousands of legal disputes as a judge.
  • In addition to judicial mediation, served as trial judge and pretrial case manager.
  • Well known regionally, nationally and internationally as a settlement expert.
  • Mediation experience covers a wide range of cases, including: Contracts/business disputes, personal injury, product liability, professional malpractice, insurance coverage, oil and gas leases/royalties, employment/labor, intellectual property, environmental/CERCLA, employment benefits/ERISA, civil rights, whistleblower/qui tam actions and class actions.


  • Lead faculty member for Federal Judicial Center Mediation Skills Workshop for Federal Judges (annually 1999-2015)
  • Faculty member for settlement segment of Federal Judicial Center Orientation Programs for Newly Appointed Magistrate Judges (3 times annually 1998-2015)
  • Presenter at American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution Annual Conference (2011)
  • Faculty for mediation skills programs for Judges in Poland (Eastern EU Judges), Jordan, India and Malaysia (2003-2010)
  • Faculty at seminars on mediation skills for North Dakota State Judges and Virginia State Judges (1995-2005)
  • Annual guest lecturer at University of North Dakota School of Law on representing clients in settlement (approx. 2000-2014)


  • Former Chair, State Bar Association of North Dakota Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee
  • Former President, Federal Magistrate Judges Association
  • Former Board Member, Federal Judicial Center (appointed by Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court)
  • Former Chair, Federal Judicial Center Advisory Committee on Magistrate Judge Education (appointed by Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court)
  • Former Member, U.S. Judicial Conference Committee on Information and Technology (appointed by Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court)
  • Former Member, U.S. Judicial Conference Committee on Administration of the Magistrate Judges System (appointed by Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court)
  • Former Chair, Civil Justice Reform Panel, U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota
  • Former President, Ronald N. Davies Inn of Court
  • Former Member, North Dakota Judiciary Standards Committee (appointed by Chief Justice, N.D. Supreme Court)
  • Member, National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals
  • Member, American Arbitration Association Neutrals Panel


  • Federal Magistrate Judges Association Founders Award (2014)
  • University of North Dakota Law Women’s Caucus Professionalism Award (2014)

Karen Klein Mediation, LLC

3523 45th Street South,
 Fargo, ND 58104