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About the ABA Bar Leadership Institute

BLI helps bar leaders build a strong peer network.

BLI helps bar leaders build a strong peer network.

"BLI...equips bar leaders with tools they can use to make their bars stronger…I credit those tools and that network with making my bar association stronger and my presidency a success."

Carl Smallwood
Past President, Columbus Bar Association
Past President, National Conference of Bar Presidents

What is the Bar Leadership Institute?

For over 45 years, the Bar Leadership Institute has been the ABA’s premier leadership training program for bar leaders nationwide. Held over three days in March in Chicago, the program is designed for incoming bar leaders and their chief staff executives. Participants engage with experts in board governance, communication, and leadership, preparing them to be effective stewards of their organization throughout their tenure in leadership.

After attending BLI, attendees will better understand: 

  • What it means to be a steward of your organization (thinking beyond your term) 
  • How to cultivate your unique leadership voice 
  • How to build a positive working relationship with the executive director/CEO and leadership team 
  • How to foster an inclusive culture 
  • How to build trust on the board with staff 
  • How to communicate expectations and empower others

"The topics addressed at BLI can help free up precious time to directly serve your constituents and avoid reinventing the wheel."

Mark Calaguas
Past President, Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago

Who Attends?

Presidents-elect, other officers on the leadership ladder, and executive directors/CEOs from:

  • State and local bars
  • National, state and local diversity bars
  • National, state and local women’s bars
  • National, state and local specialty bars

Chairs-elect, other officers on the leadership ladder, and staff directors from:

  • ABA sections
  • ABA Young Lawyers Division
  • State and local bar young lawyer affiliates


If you have any questions about the ABA Bar Leadership Institute, please contact our registrar,
Ani Lugo.