The American Bar Association, also known as the ABA, is a nationwide professional association for lawyers and law school students. The ABA was founded in 1878 and as of 2019, its membership has grown to 410,000 member attorneys.
While the American Bar Association is based in Chicago, it has membership chapters throughout the country. Lawyers are not required to be members of the ABA in order to practice law, but ABA member attorneys receive special access to educational materials, networking events, and volunteer opportunities.
In addition to offering membership benefits, the ABA oversees the law school accreditation process, publishes legal magazines and books, and advocates on behalf of legal professionals. It also promotes pro bono and low-cost legal service opportunities to help to better serve the public.
The mission of the American Bar Association is to serve its members, the legal profession, and the public, by defending liberty and delivering justice. It furthers this mission by providing many resources for members, legal information to the public and by advocating on behalf of those who have historically been treated unfairly by the justice system in the United States and beyond.
In addition to listing resources for help with finding an attorney, the ABA provides information to the public on a variety of practical and useful legal topics. On the ABA website, you can read informative articles on topics that include buying or selling a home; buying or leasing a car; lemon laws; consumer bankruptcy and creditor issues; wills and estate planning; child custody and support; starting a business; personal injury; and elder law. The ABA offers these articles free to the public through its website.
If you’re looking to learn more about the legal profession and the court system, the ABA offers informational resources on these topics as well. The ABA website provides a free overview of the courts, the steps involved in a trial, and summaries of cases that are scheduled to be heard by the United States Supreme Court. Statistics about the legal profession are also available to the public, including the number of lawyers in your state, and a listing of the largest law firms in the country.
If you or someone in your family is a member of the military, the American Bar Association offers a special directory of programs and resources on its website called the ABA Home Front. Military families face may face unique legal issues when a family member is deployed. The ABA provides information on custody issues and dealing with mortgage payment issues while deployed.
The Home Front also includes a state-by-state listing of attorneys and programs that specialize in helping military members on a variety of legal matters as well as low or no cost legal services options. The ABA has also published a legal guide for military families that is available for purchase on the Home Front website.
In addition to providing legal information and resources to the public, the American Bar Association has many special initiatives that are aimed at promoting and ensuring equality throughout the justice system.
Many times, a person may feel that the court system treats them differently because of their race, gender, or disability. The ABA’s Diversity and Inclusion Center works to eliminate bias and enhance diversity in the legal profession and throughout the justice system.
The ABA also promotes projects that seek to improve legal representation for children, victims of domestic and sexual violence, and for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. On a worldwide scale, the American Bar Association’s Center for Human Rights works to hold abusive governments accountable for human rights violations. The ABA also works with the Clooney Foundation for Justice, to ensure fairness in courts and justice systems throughout the world.
The American Bar Association can be a useful legal resource and source of information for non-attorneys. If you’re looking for legal information on a specific topic or general information about the justice system and the legal profession, you can visit the ABA’s website to access this information for free. You can also access information about finding a lawyer and about pro bono or low-cost legal services in your local area.