May 07, 2018

About Us

About the GAO

The ABA's Governmental Affairs Office (GAO) serves as the "eyes, ears and voice" of the organized bar in the nation's capital. The GAO coordinates the Association’s activities. All representation on behalf of the Association before governmental entities or officials must be coordinated with and through the GAO.

The GAO conveys the views of the Association on a broad range of issues each year to numerous governmental entities. The GAO legislative staff arranges for ABA witnesses to testify before congressional committees and other governmental bodies; submits numerous written statements, position papers and letters advocating ABA policy on issues of interest to Congress; and meets regularly with Members of Congress and their staffs to convey the Association’s concerns and views on matters of importance to the legal profession. The GAO also maintains an active grassroots lobbying effort and distributes periodic "alerts" to entities and state and local bar groups advising them of legislative developments that call for concerted action.

In addition to its advocacy efforts to advance the ABA’s legislative agenda, the GAO acts as a conduit for information for volunteers and entities within the bar. The GAO monitors and reports on congressional and executive branch developments of interest to the organized bar; assists and coordinates the advocacy efforts of ABA entities on polices that are not legislative priorities; works closely with the President’s Office on the presentation of public policy issues; and provides direct staff support to various ABA committees.

The ABA is a non-partisan, voluntary membership organization. Neither the ABA nor the Governmental Affairs Office has a political action committee, makes political contributions, or endorses candidates for office.

History

The ABA Washington Office, established in 1957, houses the Governmental Affairs Office and numerous section and committee staff support components in the professional and public service areas, including seven sections and 30 committees and commissions.

In 1986, the GAO expanded its efforts beyond the federal arena by establishing a State Legislative Clearinghouse to track important state legislative developments of interest to the organized bar. The State Legislative Report provides a regular overview of developments in the state legislative arena.