When people think of law associations or any associations related to law careers, the American Bar Association is at the top of the list. There also bar associations in each state, as well as other law associations, mostly based on type of law.
The American Bar Association was established in 1878. One hundred lawyers from 21 states gathered in Saratoga Springs, New York, to found an organization of attorneys. Now the ABA has more than 400,000 members and their stated goals are to serve their members, improve the profession, eliminate bias and enhance diversity, and advance the rule of law. They provide law school accreditation, continuing education for lawyers, programs to help lawyers and judges, and they promote measures to improve the legal system.
The ABA has a wealth of benefits for members, including the ABA Journal, other publications and products available in a web store, a job board, volunteer opportunities, and continuing education credits. There are networking opportunities depending on your law specialty.
The California Bar Association is one of the largest in the United States, with about 230,000 members. The association provides members with publications, information, and assistance if needed.
Each state has a bar association and most of them provide members with continuing education credits, information about the state’s laws, and chance to network within their state.
Cities may also have a law association. Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago are among cities that have bar associations. These groups provide networking, volunteer positions, and educational credits.
There are other law associations, many of which are targeted to a law specialty. For example, the Association of Corporate Counsel has members who work as counsel for a company. They have members from around the world. The National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyerss seeks to ensure justice and due process for those accused of crimes. An immigration lawyer might want to join the American Immigration Lawyers Association. The National Association of Women Lawyers promotes women lawyers, as well as the legal rights of women.
The benefits of membership in these organizations are many. Some have job boards, continuing education classes, journals, and networking opportunities in your own city. Most have news listings so you can be up to date on recent court cases or other legal happenings. Others have question boards so you can question a more experienced attorney. The ABA has membership deals for such things as insurance, investments, and other necessities for practice management.
Joining a law association can be a great boost to your career. You won’t find a better way to stay abreast of the latest legal news, network with your colleagues, and find the continuing education opportunities required for your career. Choose one that fits your needs and interests.
Last Updated: 12/13/2012