August 06, 2018

ABA leadership approves new dues structure, enhanced membership benefits

CHICAGO, August 6, 2018 — The American Bar Association House of Delegates today approved a new, simplified dues structure (Resolution 177) that is a central feature of a new membership model that will reduce costs for most members and provide enhanced membership benefits for all ABA members. The ABA Board of Governors Friday approved the new membership model that will streamline the current 157 dues price points down to five, while offering members access to more and better content including hundreds of free CLEs and information curated and delivered according to members’ individual interests and specifications. The changes will take effect at the start of Fiscal Year 2020 (September 2019).

The five new ABA dues categories will be set at $75, $150, $250, $350 and $450, depending on years as a lawyer and type of practice area. Law students will still receive free membership.

All ABA members will receive access to added tools to make them better and more successful lawyers. All will have access to an online, on-demand library of more than 650 free CLE programs from all substantive areas of law and its practice. They will receive timely and relevant content, curated specially for them, regarding their practice area, along with news of the latest technology, practice management developments, and changes in the profession. The information will be tailored to their interests, delivered to them on the platform they prefer: including our new website, weekly email, or through social media. Members will also have more access to substantive articles from all our sections, divisions, forums and the Center for Professional Responsibility no matter what entities in the ABA they join. Members can also join GP Solo and Law Practice Divisions at no additional cost. The ABA Full Firm program also has been expanded so that firms with as few as six lawyers can take advantage of it.

“For years, baby boomers joined our Association the day they became lawyers and dutifully sent in their checks every year thereafter,” ABA President Hilarie Bass said. “Today, lawyers’ expectations about the value that bar memberships provide is very different from the previous generation. This plan addresses that. This new model will be a game changer – as it needs to be.”

The ABA began the process of evaluating these changes in October 2016 and conducted a deep analysis of its existing membership base and trends. It also conducted extensive research on lawyer preferences and perceptions regarding the ABA including focus groups, two surveys with more than 15,000 responses each, input from pricing experts and marketing consulting firms, and refinement by a 100-member working group of members and staff.

Finally, the ABA looked at research and data regarding changes in membership patterns and expectations for professional organizations in general. These changes are designed to meet member expectations and maintain the Association’s current position as the pre-eminent professional association for legal professionals.

“Every lawyer in America will appreciate the benefits of membership in their national professional association,” Said ABA Executive Director Jack Rives.

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With more than 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@ABANews.