About Us

Our Mission

The ABA Division for Bar Services is organized under four objectives: to serve as the primary communications link between the ABA and other bar associations; to provide education, training and management support services for bar leaders; to provide staff support and/or liaison for key bar-related organizations; and to serve as coordinating agency for ABA services to bar associations.

In addition, the Division serves an internal purpose as the ABA's coordinating entity for communication with bar associations.

The Division continually seeks to improve its efforts to serve state and local bar associations, identify national trends, and inform bar leaders of developments in issues of importance to the legal profession.

Among the activities and programs it supports are:

History

The Division for Bar Services owes its existence to the Task Force on Bar Activities and Services, created in 1976 by the ABA Board of Governors. The Task Force was assigned to oversee the 1976-77 ABA Caravan, an initiative to improve cooperation between the ABA and state and local bar associations. It was further asked to evaluate the results of the Caravan, and recommend ways the ABA could better assist bar associations.

Central to the recommendations in the Task Force report was dramatic expansion and "upgrading" of what was then the Department of State and Local Bar Services into a division of the ABA.

Within 15 months of the presentation of the Task Force's final report to the Board of Governors, three professional staff positions in the Division had been approved and filled -- including the first full-time field service representative -- and the first ABA Bar Leadership Institute had been held, with 110 in attendance.

Since then, additional programs and staff members, now numbering 15, have been added to the Division to meet the growing needs of bar associations. The general Division goal is to serve, in concert with the Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services, as the focal point for maintaining the ABA's partnership with -- and support of -- state and local bar associations and related organizations.