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Bar Associations for All 50 States

Dena Standley | July 17, 2023

Dena Standley
Legal Expert, Paralegal
Dena Standley, BA

Dena Standley is a seasoned paralegal with more than 20 years of experience in legal research and writing, having received a certification as a Legal Assistant/Paralegal from Southern Technical College.

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

Summary: It is a requirement for all states to have an active bar association to ensure the legal profession is kept in check. SoloSuit will help you understand more about bar associations and link you to your state's bar association website.

Are you curious about bar associations and what benefits it has for you as a young lawyer? Becoming a bar association member can have a lifelong and positive impact on your career and personal life. For instance, bar associations help you:

  • Expand your networks
  • Achieve your professional legal goals
  • Be a positive change agent in your legal profession or community
  • Receive mentorship from experienced attorneys

Regardless of your position on bar associations, you may have already found out that lawyers must join their state’s bar association. But just because you have to join one doesn't mean you will not enjoy the benefits that come with being an active member.

Today, this article will discuss the role of bar associations and the types available to join. As a bonus, we will list the states’ bar association websites in all 50 states.

What is the Bar Association, and what role does it play?

A bar association or legal association encompasses a group of lawyers that have come together to deal with challenges affecting the legal profession. The group's primary agenda is enhancing lawyers' interest and ensuring they thrive in their profession. For example, the association may fight for legal reforms, regulate professional standards and sponsor research.

In addition, bar associations administer exams for admission to practice law and supervise some apprenticeship programs. Further, most state bar associations have disciplinary powers over the members, but the courts carry the final decision to take away a lawyer's license to practice.

Let's look at an illustration of the benefits Joe enjoyed from joining the Michigan bar association.

Example: After being accepted as a Michigan state bar association member, Joe was ready to take on the legal world with his law degree. After a week in his new job, he realized everything was not as straightforward as he thought and needed help. Joe remembered that mentorship opportunities were among the benefits of being a member of the Michigan state bar association. He then contacted the association’s vice chairman and was connected to Brian, a competent attorney with over ten years of experience. They met once a week for a month, and he guided him on how to navigate the office responsibilities and still work on his cases. Two months later, the bar association organized a state-wide conference for attorneys who had been in practice for less than five years. He got more tips on succeeding in his new career and formed support groups.

Common types of Bar Associations

As mentioned earlier, bar associations have tremendous benefits you can enjoy throughout your career or lifetime. In some situations, you reap the most benefits depending on the bar association you join. The following are the four commonest bar associations that lawyers join:

  • American Bar Association (ABA): The ABA is a voluntary professional association for attorneys across the country. Joining the ABA is not mandatory, unlike some states that require practicing attorneys to join the state bar association.

  • State bar association: This association represents the lawyers practicing in a particular state. Every state’s association has unique functions and responsibilities, but they ultimately ensure the legal profession gets the support and respect it deserves.

  • Local bar association: This group comprises lawyers in the same city or region. The membership is often voluntary, and lawyers who join receive faster results in issues compared to the state bar association. Members also build meaningful and credible relationships in their community.

  • Specialty bar associations: This association offers benefits specific to the practice area and interest the members specialize in. Specialty bar associations can help you gain a deeper understanding and more exposure to your field of interest.

  • Bar associations for specific groups: Examples include the National Association for Women Lawyers, the Catholic Lawyers' Society, and the Wolverine Bar Association. These associations are for lawyers who want to relate with those they share certain beliefs, ethnicity, gender, or religion.

Exemplary bar associations have members who sacrifice their time, resources, and effort to ensure the organization remains active and beneficial. For instance, these associations often organize fundraisers, award banquets, lecture series, and bar conferences. Others send monthly or bimonthly newsletters.

List of all 50 states' Bar Associations

The following table presents an exhaustive list of all the State Bar Associations and their websites. These associations are under the American Bar Association, one of the biggest professional associations in the nation and a credible attorney accreditation issuing institution.

Statute of Limitations on Debt in Vermont

State Bar Association Website
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee Bar
Virgin Islands
West Virginia

Choose the Bar Association that suits your needs

Joining a bar association offers you more benefits than going through your legal career on your own. Undoubtedly, it can be challenging to choose which association meets all your needs —outside the mandatory state bar association. Many attorneys begin with the local bar association and eventually add a specific group or a practice area association. Ultimately, attorneys choose the bar association they believe will give them the best advantages in their career and personal life.

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