Why ABA Membership—and Why Now?
By Michael Pellicciotti

Mike Pellicciotti is a deputy prosecuting attorney for King County in Seattle, Washington. He is also the ABA YLD membership director for 2007–08. He can be contacted at pellicmj@fulbrightweb.org.
As a member of the American Bar Association you are connected with the vast professional and human resources of the world’s largest legal organization. It is never too early to connect within the ABA.
Whether you are developing a specialized practice at a large law firm, serving a variety of clients at a solo or small firm, or working in government or public interest law, the ABA offers you the personalized services to meet your current and future professional needs.
As an ABA member in your first five years of practice or under the age of thirty-six, you are automatically a member of the ABA Young Lawyers Division (YLD). The YLD leadership works to address challenges unique to newer attorneys, including student debt, issues of work/life balance, billable hours, rule of law, and access to civil legal services. Your YLD membership allows for our effective advocacy on your behalf regarding these issues.
For example, due to your membership, we successfully lobbied Congress regarding student debt reform for new attorneys. Just a few months ago, President Bush signed into law ABA-supported legislation that will generally provide full federal loan repayment to those who practice public service law for a decade. Similar repayment options are now available under this law for those who practice in the private sector for two decades. We are supporting other bills in Congress that provide loan repayment to prosecutors and public defenders who serve the public for three years.
These advances on behalf of new attorneys around the country would not have been possible without your membership. Your membership also gives a united national voice to the local, state/territory, military, specialty, and minority bar associations around the country who compose our leadership.
There are, of course, additional professional benefits to ABA membership. Scores of sections, divisions, and forums make up the ABA and address various sectors of legal practice. You will find a home in the ones best suiting your particular professional interests and needs. You can easily join the sections’ email committees to connect with leaders in your practice area, receive mentorship, and develop a national name for yourself. Most YLD members are eligible for a free section membership.
Free and discounted CLEs are also available to YLD members. Whether you attend free CLEs in person at YLD meetings around the country or you choose to receive other discounted benefits, your ABA membership can pay for itself through the CLE programs alone. Other professional resources include free ethics advice through the ABA ETHICSearch service.
Additional consumer benefits, discounts, and preferred memberships exist for ABA members with a variety of national hotels, rental car services, computers, legal publications, and mail products.
Most importantly, as a member of the ABA, you are a part of one of the nation’s leading professional organizations. Your membership unites you with
a wide network of American and international leaders. We are pleased to include you in this national legal community. For more information, please visit www.abanet.org or the YLD’s homepage at www. abanet.org/yld.
• Find out what ABA entities provide for new lawyers with The New Lawyer Roadmap—www.abanet.org/yld/benefits/roadmapglance.shtml