Goal IX Newsletter

Summer 2001, Volume 7, Number 3

Bar Association Spotlight

For more than twenty years, bar associations from across the country have turned to the ABA Division for Bar Services (DBS) for reliable information and professional assistance. DBS is now introducing another program to help bar associations and bar foundations create a stronger future for themselves: The Consulting Services Program.

In addition to the services bar leaders have come to rely on-the DBS Clearinghouse, DBS publications, and the Field Service Program-the Consulting Services Program offers:

  • Mission Statement Development: a tool to help your organization focus on its purpose
  • Bar Association Operational Survey: a tool to help your organization assess and make change
  • Strategic Planning: a tool to help your organization create its future

The growth that many minority bar associations have experienced brings new challenges. Bar associations today may be interested in hiring full- or part-time staff, establishing an office, or making other administrative or programmatic changes. Bar associations grapple with these issues while continuing to establish a clearly defined focus and a well-developed sense of priorities on behalf of their constituencies. Leaders who are looking for direction for their organizations or who are interested in creating cohesive, productive boards may want to consider developing a mission statement or engaging in strategic planning. Similarly, an organization interested in assessing and refining its operations may want to undertake an operational survey.

Mission Statement Development and Strategic Planning

Trained facilitators on the Bar Services staff work with the organization's leaders to build support for refining the focus, to undertake analyses of the internal and external environments, to develop an agenda appropriate to the needs of the organization; they also facilitate half- or full-day planning sessions. With strategic planning, the facilitator also provides implementation strategies and monitors follow-up efforts for three to six months after the session.

Bar Association Operational Survey

The Bar Association Operational Survey (BAOS) is a confidential evaluation of all or part of a bar association's functions and programs. It is essentially a comprehensive "checkup" that identifies areas of strength and weakness within an association's operation and provides recommendations for increased effectiveness. A BAOS also may be appropriate if the bar is considering hiring full-time staff or if it is preparing for strategic planning.

Bar Services staff, with input from the bar association requesting the survey, are responsible for assembling a team that will conduct the survey. The final Bar Association Operational Survey report is the result of a three-pronged process: a review of relevant documents such as bylaws, governing body minutes, financial statements and member communications; telephone conferences and individual interviews with the association's staff and/or volunteers; and on-site interviews. Copies of the final report are sent to the association's president, president-elect, and executive director.

Following a strategic planning session or operational survey, the full complement of DBS services is available to support the implementation stage.

For more information about these services, including pricing, contact Jennifer Lewin, consultative & research services coordinator, at 312.988.5361 or via e-mail at Jennifer.Lewin@americanbar.org.

We Need Your Help!

To facilitate communications among bar associations with an interest in promoting diversity in the legal profession, the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession is compiling a comprehensive listing of bar associations that service minority lawyers. We are gathering this information from local, state, and regional minority bars, as well as minority committees
within mainstream bars.

To submit your information fill out the Bar Contact Form or...
You can also submit association data via e-mail. Just send the following information to knappd@staff.abanet.org

  • Name, address, and contact information of association
  • Type of bar association (national minority bar, local minority bar, state bar association, local bar association, or other association)
  • If this is a minority association, please indicate which group (African American, Asian/Pacific American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, all minority groups, other)
  • Bar association Website address and e-mail
  • Calendar date of leadership terms
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