Kline D. Strong

Kline D. Strong died in October, 2007.

If the College did not exist and there was a newly created Hall of Fame of Legal Economics, the only ones to be inducted into the first class would be Kline Strong, Lee Turner, and Harris
Morgan. What a triumvirate!

The College of Law Practice Management inducted its first class in 1994. Kline was nominated to be part of that class but his schedule did not permit his participation. In fact, it was not until 2000 that he could attend the induction ceremony and it was my privilege to introduce him and to present him with his certificate. It read in part “Kline Strong is one of the rare people to combine experience, expertise, and energy to lead lawyers toward efficient law practices.”

Kline had an MBA and was a CPA, a lawyer, and a prolific author and writer. In 1959 he was writing in the The Practical Lawyer. By 1962 he was a consultant and author for Law Office Economics &
Management. In the late 1960’s he published the first of many editions of Practicing Law Profitably. He developed a peg board system for timekeeping that was marketed under his Sans Copy trademark. He was the first person to earn a PhD in law office management and that groundbreaking work was published as A Scholastic Approach To Law Firm Management. He also wrote several monographs for the Economics Section of the ABA on timekeeping, docket control and word processing.

In 1971, I was privileged to attend a one week course in Kline’s hometown of Salt Lake City along with several others who would have leadership roles in the ABA Section. That course featured multimedia presentations showing the operation of administrative systems for the law office, many of  which were designed by Kline.

The highlight of that meeting came on the last day when he introduced substantive systems for handling testate probate, divorces, and organizing and operating small corporations. These were developed by Kline with the assistance of several students from the law school at the University of Utah. These systems illustrated the results of systems analysis applied to law practice by providing standardized procedures and forms to guide practitioners and their staff members in performing many of the repetitive but necessary tasks that arise in day-to-day law practice. Those systems were made freely available for bar associations across the country and served as models for twenty or so systems written by lawyers in Texas, South Carolina, Washington, Oregon, Iowa, Illinois, New Mexico, and Michigan to name just a few. In their own way, this next generation of systems changed the practice of law in those states.  Kline was one of only two people I have known who spoke and wrote in the same voice. He lectured throughout America and in several foreign countries. Boiled down, his message was that by using standardized techniques and documents, law practice could be much more efficient and profitable.

Kline had an engaging personality and his “Aw Shucks” mannerisms and self-deprecating style belied his steel trap mind. Not very much passed him by. He will be missed.

Kline is survived by his wife, Sue, and by three children, Debra Ann Hutchison, Greg Strong, and Richard Strong, 18 grandchildren, and several great grandchildren.

—Jimmy Brill, November, 2007

Kline D. Strong: The Pioneer

The College biography sets out the facts of Kline’s life: Kline D. Strong was born January 23, 1927, to two struggling school teachers in Driggs, Idaho (pop. <2,000). Then the family (including older brother, Grant) moved to Sugar City, Idaho (pop. <1500) where Jersey cows could provide sustenance for the family and sold/delivered at 6 cents/quart to neighbors. Both brothers served in the Navy in WW II and both attended Colorado University under the Navy V-12 officers program. After earning an MBA with honors from Northwestern (Chicago) Kline returned to Colorado to earn his JD (Order of Coif) and passed the CPA exam. Kline formed a law firm in Salt Lake City and created Sans Copy … a time/management system for lawyers which provided independent income that freed him, effectively, to work for the ABA. Among the first ABA requests was economic help for lawyers. The first result of these efforts was publication of “The 1958 Lawyer and His 1938 Dollar”. With Lee Turner, Kline wrote extensively about ‘legal assistants’ now commonly called ‘paralegals’. Another request was to study the practices/procedures of successful small firms nationwide which formed the basis for Kline’s PhD. For the last several years his letterhead has included this notice: Practice Limited to Charitable Causes and Cases.

What the biography doesn’t state is how passionate Kline was about law practice management.  I remember him from the ABA in the late 80s, where he was as enthusiastic about how systems and technology would change the practice as any young law school graduate.  He was approachable and a real gentleman.

Here is the family’s death notice: Kline Duncan Strong 1927 ~ 2007 Kline Duncan Strong was born January 23, 1927, in Driggs, Idaho to Leon Marshall and Mabel Holmgren Strong. He was the second of four children. A brother Grant and a sister Helen Mar Lyman preceded him in death.  He is survived by his sister Loralie (Paul) Stowell. On July 6, 1950, he married Suzanne Brinton in the Idaho Falls Temple. They have been married for 57 years and have three children, Richard (Jan), Gregory (Deena), and Debra Ann (Richard) Hutchison as well as 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Kline was raised in and around Sugar City, Idaho. He tried to impress upon his family that you’ve never really experienced work until you’ve hoed sugar beets. He served his country in the Navy V12 program during World War II. His professional education included a CPA/MBA from Northwestern University, a law degree from the University of Colorado and he was the first person to obtain a Ph.D in law office management. He was the author of several books and monographs on law office management and spoke round the world for the Economic Sections of the American and International Bar Associations. He was made a Fellow in the College of Law Practice Management. Kline had a lifelong love of music. He formed a dance band in High School, played the cornet in the drum and bugle corp in the Navy, led ward choirs, sang in quartets and was an opera and classical music lover. Over the course of his adult life, Kline has been an attorney, law professor, baseball coach, scoutmaster, handball and squash player, inventor and history buff. He was often planning the next trip, especially to Europe. Earlier in his life he served a mission for the LDS church to the Southern States and later in life a mission with Sue in the Europe Mediterranean Area office. In between were years of church service. He had various interests in life, but whatever the family was doing was number one at the time. He attended numerous games, plays, and performances of his grandchildren and he was their biggest fan. Kline spent many hours in community service serving others less fortunate than himself. People admired him for his selfless example, his humor, wit and wisdom and his love for everyone regardless of background, religion or circumstances. Kline is survived by his wife and all of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. We honor him as a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. The family would like to express their appreciation to the staff of CareSource for their compassionate care of Kline during the last weeks of his life.

—Simon Chester