Law in Action Profile

Cecelia Klingele

Portrait of Cecelia Klingele

"Each clinical offered by the UW
Law School provides students

with unique opportunities to

develop as lawyers."
Read the full interview

Hometown: Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
Education: B.A., University of Wisconsin - Madison (History); Certificate, Medieval Studies
Law School Activities:

  • Founder and President of the Law School Family Association
  • Community Liaison for Children’s Justice Project
  • Law Student Division Liaison to ABA Sentencing & Corrections Committee
  • Awards for Academics, Leadership, and Service
  • Magna cum laude
  • Order of the Coif

Cecelia Klingele has accomplished what most lawyers only dream about – she has served as a law clerk for a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

Klingele received her J.D. magna cum laude in 2005. Her three years of law school were filled with achievements. Following graduation, Klingele completed two years as a law clerk to the Honorable Barbara B. Crabb, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin and served one year as clerk to Judge Susan H. Black of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, before clerking for a final year with U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens for the October Term 2008.

Klingele’s professional achievements are remarkable by any standards, but all the more so because she accomplished all of this while she and her husband parented five children – a teenage son and four daughters, the last two born while she was a law student.  (They have since added a fifth daughter to their family.)

Klingele was drawn to law school as a result of her experiences with the child welfare system as a foster parent. She wanted a career that was both intellectually rigorous and service-oriented, and law school filled both requirements. Her first-year criminal law course was a powerful experience for her, and she found that criminal law was an area in which many of the societal issues of interest to her intersected. She participated in three of the UW Law School’s clinical criminal programs, and recalls that she frequently worked in the clinics with an infant sleeping in a baby carrier under her desk. Klingele earned numerous awards and scholarships for her academic excellence and outstanding service to her community and the Law School. Among her long-lasting contributions was the founding of the Law School Family Association, a student group that serves the needs of students raising families.

After clerking, Klingele turned to law school teaching, an interest that developed when she taught at the UW Law School after graduation as a clinical instructor in the Legal Assistance to Institutionalized Persons (LAIP) Program and later as an adjunct professor teaching an advanced legal writing course for students in judicial clerkships and internships.  Following her Supreme Court clerkship, Klingele accepted a two-year appointment at the Law School as a Visiting Assistant Professor.  She teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, and a seminar on sentencing and corrections.  Her research focuses on sentencing and correctional policy.  She is co-chair of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section's Academics Committee and an active member of the ABA's Committee on Corrections.

Read more in "An Interview with Cecelia Klingele"

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