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January 17, 2023

First-ever ABA Impact Report highlights association’s influence on legal profession, society

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2023 – The American Bar Association issued its first-ever ABA Impact Report, which describes many of the tangible ways the ABA has helped its members use the power of law to advance the legal profession’s voice for justice in the United States and throughout the world.

The ABA works to protect civil rights and liberties, expand access to justice for underserved and disadvantaged communities, promote diversity, inclusion, and equity in the legal field and justice system, advocate for human rights defenders, strengthen legal systems across the globe, and promote the rule of law everywhere.

The ABA’s four goals are to serve its members, improve the legal profession, eliminate bias and enhance diversity and advance the rule of law. “But goals are meaningless without action, and action is empty without impact,” ABA President Deborah Enix-Ross said.

The report, compiled by the ABA Rule of Law Initiative and Center for Public Interest Law, highlights many of the ABA’s major achievements in the past year and the large impact the association has had around the world.

Programs detailed in the report include:

  • The ABA’s advocacy for student debt relief resulted in the Department of Education announcing a temporary waiver of certain rules of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, making more people eligible for loan forgiveness and the White House extending a pause on student loan repayments.
  • The ABA’s Criminal Justice Section and Center for Human Rights’ Atrocity Crimes Initiative works at the intersection of law and policy to advance the prevention of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity and to ensure perpetrators are held accountable.
  • The ABA Center for Children and the Law’s Education Barriers Project works to ensure children in foster care remain in their school district of origin even as they move to a new home.
  • The Afghanistan Response Project and Afghanistan Evacuee Assistance Project mobilize the resources of the ABA to assist Afghans seeking to flee the Taliban takeover and resettle in other countries.
  • The ABA Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence developed the Basic Custody and Advanced Custody Litigation Institutes to help improve civil attorneys’ abilities to understand, identify and explain to the court the dynamics of domestic violence and provide victim-centered, trauma-informed advocacy.
  • The ABA Legal Education Police Practices Consortium contributes to the national effort examining and addressing legal issues in policing and public safety, including conduct, oversight and the evolving nature of police work. Leveraging the ABA’s expertise and that of participating ABA accredited law schools, the consortium collaborates on projects to develop and implement more effective, human rights compliant police practices throughout the United States.
  • In 2022, the ABA’s Death Penalty Representation Project surpassed 400 prisoners assisted by its pro bono firms since 1998. To date, more than 110 prisoners have been saved from wrongful execution with the help of the project’s pro bono attorneys, and hundreds of cases remain ongoing.
  • The ABA Section of State and Local Government Law launched the Defending Democracy Initiative to educate the public on the important role that election workers play in our democratic process and the rule of law and promote the public’s trust in our electoral process — underscoring that the average election worker is non-partisan in their work.
  • ABA Free Legal Answers, the first and only online national pro bono legal advice portal, has responded to more than 250,000 civil legal questions.

The full report can be read here or at

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers 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.