Consulting Service Program

It's our business to know bar organizations. So, whether you're thinking about doing some planning, reviewing your operations or educating your board, take advantage of the DBS Consulting Team's experience and expertise.

As members of the bar community, we have a stake in your success. As such, our support of your organization continues long after a consulting visit has ended. As new questions and challenges arise, we're always available to discuss them with you. Additionally, we can direct you to valuable resources from the Information Clearinghouse and publications such as Bar Leader that track best practices.

Please contact us for more information about the division’s consulting services.

Currently, we offer the following services:



Strategic Planning

Bar associations and foundations use strategic planning to map the organization's future direction. The planning process provides the board with an opportunity to focus on the organization's mission, and to ensure that the organization's services and programs actively serve that mission. Planning identifies core strengths, creates a common framework for volunteer and staff decision-making, and energizes the board and creates momentum for change.

  • The Bar Services facilitator:
  • works with the organization's staff and volunteer leaders to develop commitment and support for the planning process,
  • undertakes an analysis of the internal and external environment,
  • conducts the on-site planning session,
  • provides the organization with a planning report, and
  • monitors follow-up efforts.


Sample timeline



Board Training

Bring the ABA Bar Leadership Institute to your board with a customized training session that will build your board's capacity and take it to a new level of effectiveness. Bar Services' board training sessions outline the nuts and bolts of bar governance, and builds the board's ability to work as a leadership team.

Bar Services staff will create and facilitate an engaging series of discussions on topics such as the individual and collective role of board members, fiduciary responsibility, understanding individual and group dynamics, what makes an exceptional board and board-staff relations.


Bar Association Operational Survey

A Bar Association Operational Survey (BAOS) is a confidential evaluation of all or part of a bar association's operations. An operational survey is a comprehensive "check-up" which identifies areas of strength and weakness within the bar association's operations, and provides recommendations for increased effectiveness. Areas of evaluation include:

  • governance, including the board functioning and planning;
  • administration, including organizational structure and staffing;
  • finances,
  • member and external communications,
  • membership and member benefits, and
  • committees and sections.

    A bar association may want to consider having an operational survey if it is facing significant staff changes, or if it is preparing for long-range or strategic planning. It also may be beneficial when an association has undergone many programmatic changes or has experienced an increase or decrease in membership.

    The final Bar Association Operational Survey report is the result of a three-pronged process: a review of operational and governing documents; telephone conference and individual interviews with the staff and volunteers of the association; and one to two days of on-site interviews.

    Note: If your bar association is interested in scheduling a BAOS, we suggest that you contact the division a minimum of four months in advance of your preferred on-site visit date.


    Bar Association Operational Survey FAQs

    General Areas of Review

    Sample Timeline



Team Bios

Roseanne Lucianek
Director, ABA Division of Bar Services

Elizabeth Derrico
Associate Director, ABA Division for Bar Services: Bar Management & Information Unit

Karyn Linn
Staff Director, Field Service Program

Jennifer Lewin
Field Service Representative