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ABA shares insight on bar association growth and membership trends


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ABA shares insight on bar association growth and membership trends

By John Glynn

CHICAGO, May 1, 2014 — Using data collected over the past nearly 40 years, the ABA Division for Bar Services has issued “State and Local Bar Membership Insights and Trends,” an analysis of membership growth figures, member concerns and dues information from associations around the country. Much of the data comes from the division’s annual Membership, Administration and Finance Survey.

Among the findings:

  • After explosive growth in the 1980s, membership market share and retention rates have remained relatively stable since 2007.
  • Members want their bars to facilitate networking opportunities and promote the reputation of the profession.
  • “One size fits all” no longer applies as bar members now want customized communications and services.
  • Bars are including more incentives — such as free or reduced continuing legal education programs, legal research services and social/networking events — in membership dues and fees.
  • Attracting younger members is a challenge for all associations.

To download a copy of “State and Local Bar Membership Insights and Trends,” visit the division’s Membership Resource Page or go to:


The ABA Division for Bar Services serves as the ABA’s liaison to more than 300 state, local and special purpose bar associations throughout the country. Its services include leadership and organizational development and operational assistance.


With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.

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