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January 21, 2024

ABA Impact Report 2023

Introduction

As democracy and the rule of law face their biggest challenges in decades, our duty and resolve to defend these principles remains steadfast. The 2023 ABA Impact Report captures our response to these challenges, showcasing our efforts to bolster civil liberties, safeguard democratic values, expand access to justice for the underserved, and advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion within the legal system.

This report, while not exhaustive, reveals the depth of expertise across our 3,000+ committees and groups. This vital work ranges from time-honored initiatives to cutting-edge projects calling for visionary leadership.

As part of the ABA’s long tradition of addressing the most important issues of the moment, this past year, the ABA launched two initiatives. The ABA Task Force on Law and Artificial Intelligence is at the vanguard of integrating ethical AI into legal practice, setting a new benchmark for how technology can be harnessed to advance justice. The new ABA Task Force for American Democracy is actively fortifying our electoral system through advocacy for the protection of election workers, enhancement of transparency, and public education to dismantle misinformation and further knowledge of civics.

The Task Force for American Democracy’s efforts dovetail with those of the Standing Committee on Election Law, which, in collaboration with the ABA Commission on Disability Rights, has made pivotal changes to voter accessibility guidelines. Similarly, the Section of State and Local Government Law’s Defending Democracy initiative has been a bipartisan beacon, ensuring the integrity of our electoral processes. The Division for Public Education has significantly enhanced legal literacy, an essential element for a robust democracy.

The ABA’s DEI initiatives have become even more critical after the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling. Programs such as the ‘Halting the School-to-Prison Pipeline Advocacy Toolkit’ tackle deep-rooted biases, reinforcing our commitment to a just educational environment for marginalized students.

The Center for Professional Responsibility has been instrumental in adapting the Model Rules of Professional Conduct to meet contemporary ethical challenges, safeguarding our profession’s integrity. Our advocacy extends to migrants and asylum seekers, reflecting our belief that justice knows no borders and that due process should be universally accessible.

As we review the year’s impact as a whole, we see the rich diversity of the ABA’s work, reflecting our commitment across environmental, economic, and racial issues, disability and LGBTQ rights, gender equity, civil liberties, human rights, tax assistance for marginalized communities, and the support of socially minded organizations. It is our collective strength and dedication that drive our progress.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has played a role in the ABA’s efforts this year. Your support and active engagement are the lifeblood of our mission. Your dedication not only shapes our history—it forges our path forward. Together, we ensure that the legal profession stands resolute as the guardian of justice, democracy, and the rule of law.

Mary Smith
President, American Bar Association (2023-2024)

Mary Smith, ABA President, 2023-2024

Mary Smith, ABA President, 2023-2024

Download a high-resolution image of President Smith.

Download the Report

ABA Impact Report 2023 Cover Image

ABA Impact Report 2023 Cover Image

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