Television anchor, legal analyst, trial attorney, actor and best-selling author, Rikki Klieman has earned a sterling reputation as one of the nation’s most celebrated lawyers and legal authorities. A dynamic and versatile communicator, Klieman has found success in multiple fields, including television journalism, the courtroom, academia and public speaking.
An Anchor at the Courtroom Television Network (now Tru TV “In Session”) from 1994-2010, who has also been a Legal Analyst for the CBS Early Show, the NBC Today Show and the E! Network, Rikki continues to inspire the lives of others with her autobiography, “Fairy Tales Can Come True – How a Driven Woman Changed Her Destiny,” which reached the L.A. Times Best Seller List.
She remains Of Counsel to the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Klieman & Lyons, where she specialized in criminal trial and appellate practice as well as civil litigation. She received her J.D. from Boston University School of Law. Prior to her legal career, she was a theater major at Northwestern University who became a professional actress. Following law school, she served as a law clerk for the Honorable Walter Jay Skinner of the United States District Court of Massachusetts, and as a prosecutor with both the Middlesex and Norfolk County District Attorney’s offices.
She was named one of the five most outstanding women trial lawyers in the country by TIME magazine. She is often the subject of magazine and newspaper articles and was profiled by CNN. She has been interviewed on countless radio and television programs about various aspects of criminal and civil law and procedure, including, among others, “60 minutes,” “20/20”, “The McLaughlin Group” and a “Nightline Special Report” on rape hosted by Peter Jennings.
Ms. Klieman was a member of the Adjunct Faculty at Columbia Law School, teaching a course on Trial Strategies in Major Current Cases. She was an Adjunct Professor at Boston University School of Law where she taught trial practice for many years. She also lectures across the country about the legal system and has taught trial advocacy at the Intensive Trial Advocacy Program at Harvard, the University of Virginia Trial Advocacy Institute, Northwestern University’s Short Course for Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National Criminal Defense College, the Western Trial Advocacy Institute and Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College.
She has published numerous articles on criminal law and contributed to a book, “Women Trial Lawyers.” She was featured in a chapter of “Good Will Toward Men” by Jack Kammer and in the national best seller, “A Civil Action” by Jonathan Harr. She writes the bi-annual supplement for “Representing Witnesses Before Federal Grand Juries”. She was the co-editor of a book on cross examination called “Take the Witness.” In addition, she wrote a column about legal issues for the popular LA Confidential Magazine.
Once in LA from 2003-2009, she also returned to her original career of acting. She portrayed Cathy Burson, a lawyer for James Caan’s hotel and casino in NBC’s “Las Vegas’ for four seasons. She also portrayed Judge Dana Pearlman on CBS’s “Shark” starring James Woods. She appeared as a guest star on “NYPD Blue,” “90210” and “Dr. Vegas.” She appeared as herself, a Court TV anchor, on “The Closer,” “Boston Legal” as well as in the films “The Cable Guy” and “An American Tragedy” (based on the OJ Simpson case). She was a reporter in the film version of “A Civil Action” with John Travolta, a reporter on the television show “The D.A.,” a lawyer in the film “Fifteen Minutes” with Robert DeNiro and Ed Burns, and as a court clerk in “The Fighter” with Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo. She is a member of SAG, AFTRA and Actors’ Equity.
Ms. Klieman served on the Advisory Committee to the U.S. Supreme Court on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Board of Visitors for Boston University School of Law. She was a member of the American Bar Association’s National Conference of Lawyers and Representatives of the Media. She currently serves on the Council of 100, a mentoring organization of outstanding alumnae for the benefit of collegiate women and young graduates at Northwestern University.
In addition, Ms. Klieman lectures to various business and bar associations as well as charitable and school groups on topics including “Achieving a Life of Significance,” “Magnificent Motivation,” “Powerful Communication from the Courtroom to the Boardroom,” “Theatre in the Courtroom,” “Law, Politics and the Media,” “Visionary Leadership,” and “You Can Have it All, But Not All At The Same Time.”
Klieman has also been active in her community. From her early days of raising funds for City of Hope to her later days for City Meals on Wheels, she believes in helping those most often in need – children, families and the elderly. Some of her great joys have been working as a mentor at Northwestern University and at Court TV and serving as a member of the Board of Directors of Shepherd House, a Boston women’s halfway house for those who suffered from substance abuse problems and were on the road to recovery. She also served on the Executive Board of the ADL (Anti Defamation League) in both New England and New York.
When she and her husband, LAPD Chief of Police William Bratton, lived in Los Angeles, she pursued her passions of mentoring young people and joining in the fight against sexual assault and domestic violence – work in which she has been active for decades. She was a member of theBoard of Directors of the Rape Treatment Center of UCLA-Santa Monica and the Board of Directors of LA’s Best, an after school enrichment program for disadvantaged elementary school children. For these community endeavors, she has been the recipient of various public service awards.
Rikki and her husband now live in New York City.