Career Spotlight: Robert Klingler
Robert Klingler When it comes to negotiating a large merger or transaction, UF Law alumnus Robert D. Klingler (JD 03, MBA 03, MA 99, BA 96) uses the experiences he gained at UF to get the job done.
Klingler (pictured left with daughter Megan), an associate with the Atlanta-based law firm Powell Goldstein LLP, represents financial institutions in a wide variety of areas, including capital raising, securities compliance, and mergers and acquisitions. Helping clients reach their goals is enjoyable because in most cases it’s a win-win situation, Klingler said.
“Unlike litigation, where ‘winning’ is, at best, a zero-sum game, in transactional work both parties can benefit from the transaction, creating real value for society.” Klingler attributes his success to his experiences at UF, where he competed in Moot Court’s Final Four competition in 2001, chaired Moot Court’s intramural competition in Fall 2002, and served as assistant coach to the UF Speech and Debate Team from 1997 until 2003.
“I think it’s fairly rare for Moot Court competitors to go on to be transactional attorneys instead of litigators,” he said. “However, I am still using my communication skills all the time; simply in boardrooms rather than courtrooms. My experiences with Moot Court and Speech and Debate have improved my ability to negotiate on behalf of clients and to communicate complex legal issues to senior management officials and directors.”
Klingler commented that all of his degrees from UF have helped prepare him to be a transactional attorney, but highlighted the utility of his MBA in practicing law. “I believe one of the most important skills that contributes to my success is the ability to speak the same language as chief financial and executive officers,” he said. “Understanding the business and goals of my clients is useful to both them and me.”
Even though he works in Atlanta, Klingler still finds opportunities to root for the Gators in the most unlikely circumstances.
“At the same time as the BCS National Championship Game last January, I was working on a merger transaction in which the target was represented by an Ohio State fan,” he said. “We ended up watching the game at the same sports bar; I enjoyed it more than he did.”
He got his start at Powell Goldstein from his on-campus interview, which is still the best way for current students to find a job with larger law firms, he said. Klingler said the secret to success lies with having fun. “Everything goes back to ‘do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do,’” he said. “That quality is noticed by others and can spread throughout an organization, making the whole work environment more enjoyable for everyone.”