Legal Profession Reform Background

By providing technical assistance on trial advocacy skills, law practice management and substantive areas of the law, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) works to enhance the professionalism and expertise of lawyers in host countries. Through its Legal Profession Reform Index, ABA ROLI helps countries assess their legal profession reform efforts. ABA ROLI also helps legal professional associations, including special interest bar associations, develop into sustainable organizations, which can train their members while advocating on their behalf.

Our legal profession reform work emphasizes the following areas:

Bar association development:

ABA ROLI works to develop effective and sustainable bar associations capable of providing a core set of services that are crucial to the advancement of the legal profession. We have supported the establishment of national bar associations, providing them with long-term institutional support, including in developing ethics codes and disciplinary procedures. We have also supported the development and administrations of bar examinations.

Substantive legal training:

To address the widespread lack of resources and opportunities for continuing legal education, ABA ROLI provides training and technical expertise on trial advocacy skills, law practice management and court procedures. Trainings also address legal ethics standards, alternative dispute resolution, civil and criminal procedure code reforms, property and housing law and international human rights. These programs strengthen the practical skills of legal professionals while increasing their substantive knowledge of the law.


In order to fine tune its legal profession reform programs to the needs of participating countries, ABA ROLI strives to understand the status of legal professionals and the environment in which they are expected to develop and practice.  ABA ROLI accomplishes this by implementing the Legal Profession Reform Index (LPRI) to assess the strengths and weaknesses that may exist within the legal profession in a particular host country.  Since its inception, ABA ROLI has conducted LPRI assessments in 11 countries, and provided follow-up assessments in six of those countries.