A bar association is a professional association of lawyers. Some bar associations are responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in their jurisdiction; others are professional organizations dedicated to serving their members; in many cases, they are both. In many Commonwealth jurisdictions, the bar association comprises lawyers who are qualified as barristers or advocates in particular, versus solicitors (see bar council). Membership in bar associations may be mandatory or optional for practicing attorneys, depending on jurisdiction.
The use of the term bar to mean "the whole body of lawyers, the legal profession" comes ultimately from English custom. In the early 16th century, a railing divided the hall in the Inns of Court, with students occupying the body of the hall and readers or benchers on the other side. Students who officially became lawyers crossed the symbolic physical barrier and were "admitted to the bar". Later, this was popularly assumed to mean the wooden railing marking off the area around the judge's seat in a courtroom, where prisoners stood for arraignment and where a barrister stood to plead. In modern courtrooms, a railing may still be in place to enclose the space which is occupied by legal counsel as well as the criminal defendants and civil litigants who have business pending before the court.
In many Commonwealth jurisdictions, including in England and Wales, the "bar association" comprises lawyers who are qualified as barristers or advocates (collectively known as "the bar", or "members of the bar"), while the "law society" comprises solicitors. These bodies are sometimes mutually exclusive, while in other jurisdictions, the "bar" may refer to the entire community of persons engaged in the practice of law.
In Canada, one is called to the bar after undertaking a post-law-school training in a provincial law society program, and undergoing an apprenticeship or taking articles. Legal communities are called provincial law societies, except for Nova Scotia, where it is called the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society, and Quebec, where it is called the Barreau du Quebec.
The Canadian Bar Association (and its provincial and territorial branches) is a professional association of barristers, solicitors and avocats that serves the roles of advocates for the profession, provides continuing legal education and member benefits. It does not play a part in the regulation of the profession, however.
In India under the legal framework set established under the Advocates Act, 1961, a law graduate is required to be enrolled with the Bar Council of India. The process of enrollment is delegated by the Bar Council of India to the state Bar Councils wherein almost each state has a Bar Council of its own. Once enrolled with a State Bar Council, the law graduate is recognized as an Advocate provisionally for a period of two years, within which they must clear the All India Bar Examination (AIBE) conducted by the Bar Council of India. Once the advocate clears the AIBE test, they are entitled to appear and practice before any court of law in India. There is no formal requirement for further membership of any Bar Association. However, Advocates do become members of various local or national bar associations for reasons of recognition and facilities which these associations offer. Some well-known Bar Associations in India include the Supreme Court Bar Association, Delhi High Court Bar Association, Bombay Bar Association, Delhi Bar Association, National Bar Association of India, All India Bar Association, etc.
In Pakistan, a person becomes a licensee of a Provincial Bar Council after fulfilling certain requirements. He must have a valid law degree LL.B from a recognized university by the Pakistan Bar council, must offer certain undertakings, and pay the Provincial Bar Council fees. Furthermore, he shall join any bar association as a member. Tehsil bar associations work under the umbrella of District Bar Association, District Bar Association under Provincial Bar councils, such as the Punjab Bar Council and Sindh Bar Council. To become an advocate, one must first complete six months pupillage with a practising advocate of High Court, whom they must assist on at least ten cases during a six-month pupillage.
In the United States, admission to the bar is permission granted by a particular court system to a lawyer to practice law in that system. This is to be distinguished from membership in a bar association. In the United States, some states require membership in the state bar association for all attorneys, while others do not.
Although bar associations historically existed as unincorporated voluntary associations, nearly all bar associations have since been organized (or reorganized) as corporations. Furthermore, membership in some of them (see the next section below) is no longer voluntary, which is why some of them have omitted the word "association" and merely call themselves the "state bar" to indicate that they are the incorporated body that constitutes the entire admitted legal profession of a state.
Some states require membership in the state's bar association to practice law there. Such an organization is called a mandatory, integrated, or unified bar, and is a type of government-granted monopoly. They exist at present in a slight majority of U.S. states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington State, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands also have unified bars. The mandatory status of the Puerto Rico Bar Association was eliminated in 2009 by an act of the legislature, ratified by recently appointed majority of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court. By act of the Puerto Rico legislature, the mandatory status was reinstated in June, 2014. The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico struck down this act in October, 2014, finding that it unconstitutionally usurped its powers.
In some states, like Wisconsin, the mandatory membership requirement is implemented through an order of the state supreme court, which can be revoked or canceled at any time at the court's discretion. In others, like Oregon, the state legislature passed a law and created a government agency. California went farther than any other state and wrote the State Bar of California into its constitution.
The first state to have an integrated bar association was North Dakota in 1921.
A voluntary bar association is a private organization of lawyers. However, the membership may not be restricted only to registered lawyers. The membership can extend to people interested in goals and purpose of the Association. Each Association chooses its own purposes (e.g., social, educational, and lobbying functions), but does not regulate the practice of law or admit lawyers to practice.
There is a statewide voluntary bar association in every state that has no mandatory or integrated bar association. There are also many voluntary bar associations organized by city, county, or other community. Such associations are often focused on common professional interests (such as bankruptcy lawyers or in-house counsel) or common ethnic interests (such as gender, race, religion, or national heritage), such as the Hispanic National Bar Association. The American Bar Association is the voluntary bar association with the largest membership. Such associations often advocate for law reform and provide information in bar journals, pro bono services or a lawyer referral service to the general public. In 2017, the California State Legislature split off the education, lobbying, and young lawyers sections of that state's Bar in order to create the voluntary California Lawyers Association.
There is no mandatory federal bar association. The Federal Bar Association is a private, voluntary group.
There are also a number of subject-specific private associations, which are not officially denominated as bar associations but which serve similar functions in terms of providing their members with useful publications, networking opportunities, and continuing legal education. The largest association of defense counsel is the Defense Research Institute (the "Voice of the Defense Bar"), while the largest association of plaintiffs' counsel is the American Association for Justice (formerly Association of Trial Lawyers of America). The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) is an association of progressive attorneys and legal workers, founded as the first national lawyer's association with membership open to all races and religions.
Judges may or may not be members of the bar. Etymologically, they sit "on the bench", and the cases which come before them are "at bar" or "at bench". Many states in the United States require that some or all judges be members of the bar; typically these limit or completely prohibit the judges from practicing law while serving as a judge.
The U.S. Constitution contains no requirement that Federal judges or U.S. Supreme Court justices be members of the bar. However, there are no modern instances of the President nominating or the Congress approving any candidate who is not a member of any bar. There are various professional associations of judges, such as the American Judges Association, that perform some of the educational and other service functions of bar associations.
The ABA Journal (since 1984, formerly American Bar Association Journal, 1915–1983, evolved from Annual Bulletin, 1908–1914) is a monthly legal trade magazine and the flagship publication of the American Bar Association. It claims to be "read by half of the nation's 1 million lawyers every month". It is now complemented online by a full-featured website, abajournal.com and its various enewsletters and apps.Admission to the bar in the United States
Admission to the bar in the United States is the granting of permission by a particular court system to a lawyer to practice law in the jurisdiction and before those courts. Each U.S. state and similar jurisdiction (e.g., territories under federal control) has its own court system and sets its own rules for bar admission (or privilege to practice law), which can lead to different admission standards among states. In most cases, a person is "admitted" or "called" to the bar of the highest court in the jurisdiction and is thereby authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction. In addition, Federal Courts of the United States, although often overlapping in admission standards with states, set their own requirements for practice in each of those courts.
In the typical process, lawyers seeking admission must earn a Juris Doctor degree from a law school approved by the jurisdiction, and then in the states pass an exam administered by the attorney regulating authority of that jurisdiction. Typically, there is also a character and fitness evaluation, which includes a background check. However, there are exceptions to each of these requirements. A lawyer who is admitted in one state is not automatically allowed to practice in any other. Some states have reciprocal agreements that allow attorneys from other states to practice without sitting for another full bar exam; such arrangements differ significantly among states and among federal courts.American Bar Association
The American Bar Association (ABA), founded August 21, 1878, is a voluntary bar association of lawyers and law students, which is not specific to any jurisdiction in the United States. The ABA's most important stated activities are the setting of academic standards for law schools, and the formulation of model ethical codes related to the legal profession. The ABA has 410,000 members. Its national headquarters are in Chicago, Illinois; it also maintains a significant branch office in Washington, D.C.Bar Association of Puerto Rico
The Bar Association of Puerto Rico (BAPR) or Colegio de Abogados de Puerto Rico (CAPR) is the bar association of Puerto Rico. It is the oldest professional association in Puerto Rico, and among the oldest bar associations in the world.
The Bar Association of Puerto Rico is to be distinguished from the Puerto Rican Bar Association, which is a private association.Bar examination
A bar examination, or bar exam, is the examination which is administered by a jurisdiction's bar association a lawyer needs to pass before being admitted to the bar of that jurisdiction.Bar of Quebec
The Bar of Quebec (French: Barreau du Québec) is the provincial law society in Quebec, Canada. It was founded on May 30, 1849, as the Bar of Lower Canada (French: Barreau du Bas-Canada).Canadian Bar Association
The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) represents over 37,000 lawyers, judges, notaries, law teachers, and law students from across Canada.Illinois State Bar Association
The Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) is among largest voluntary state bar associations in the country. Approximately 28,000 lawyers are members of the ISBA. Unlike some state bar associations, in which membership is mandatory, ISBA membership is not required of lawyers licensed to practice in Illinois and ISBA membership is completely voluntary. The ISBA is headquartered in Springfield, Illinois. It also has an office in Chicago, Illinois.International Bar Association
The International Bar Association (IBA), founded in 1947, is a bar association of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. The IBA currently has a membership of more than 80,000 individual lawyers and 190 bar associations and law societies. Its global headquarters are located in London, England, and it has regional offices in Washington, D.C., United States, Seoul, South Korea and São Paulo, Brazil.John Marshall Law School (Chicago)
The John Marshall Law School is a law school in Chicago, Illinois, that was founded in 1899 and accredited by the American Bar Association in 1951. The school was named for the influential nineteenth-century U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall.
The John Marshall Law School offers programs for both part-time and full-time students, with both day and night classes available, and offers January enrollment—choices most law schools no longer offer.
John Marshall will merge with University of Illinois at Chicago beginning in 2019 according to a plan announced by both schools in 2018. John Marshall is located in Chicago's central financial and legal district, most commonly known as The Loop. It is across the street from the Dirksen Federal Building, which houses the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and about four blocks from the Daley Center, which houses the Circuit Court of Cook County. It is also next door to the Chicago Bar Association.
The fall 2016 entering class had a median GPA of 3.06 and a median LSAT of 148.Kaithal district
Kaithal district is one of the 22 districts of Haryana, state in northern India. Kaithal town is the district headquarters. The district occupies an area of 2317 km². It has a population of 1,072,861 (2011 census). It is part of Karnal division.
This district came into existence on 1 November 1989.National Bar Association
The National Bar Association (NBA) was founded in 1925 and is the nation's oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges. It represents the interests of approximately 65,000 lawyers, judges, law professors, and law students. The NBA is organized around 23 substantive law sections, 9 divisions, 12 regions, and 80 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and around the world. The current and 75th president is Juan R. Thomas of Aurora, Illinois.New York City Bar Association
The New York City Bar Association (City Bar), founded in 1870, is a voluntary association of lawyers and law students. Since 1896, the organization, formally known as the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, has been headquartered in a landmark building on 44th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in Manhattan. Today the City Bar has more than 24,000 members. Its current president, Roger Juan Maldonado, began his two-year term in May 2018.New York State Bar Association
The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) is a voluntary bar association for the state of New York. The goals of the association are to cultivate the science of jurisprudence; to promote reform in the law; to facilitate the administration of justice, and to elevate the standards of integrity, honor, professional skill, and courtesy in the legal profession.Oregon State Bar
The Oregon State Bar (OSB) is a government agency in the U.S. state of Oregon. Founded in 1890 as the private Oregon Bar Association, it became a public entity in 1935 that regulates the legal profession. The public corporation is part of the Oregon Judicial Department. Lawyers are required to join the OSB in order to practice law in Oregon.Pennsylvania Bar Association
The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) is a voluntary bar association of lawyers and law students in Pennsylvania, United States. The association offers membership benefits, including publications, practice support, networking, and continuing education.State Bar of California
The State Bar of California is California's official attorney licensing agency. It is responsible for managing the admission of lawyers to the practice of law, investigating complaints of professional misconduct, and prescribing appropriate discipline. It is directly responsible to the Supreme Court of California. All attorney admissions and disbarments are issued as recommendations of the State Bar, which are then routinely ratified by the Supreme Court.The State Bar was legally established on July 29, 1927, when the State Bar Act went into effect. The State Bar of California is the largest in the United States, with 253,306 living members as of February 2015, of whom 183,763 are on active status. It is headquartered in San Francisco, with branch offices in Los Angeles and Sacramento.State bar association
A state bar association is a bar association that represents or seeks to represent the attorneys practicing law in a particular U.S. state. Their functions differ from state to state, but often include administration of the state bar examination, regulation of Continuing Legal Education and other requirements, and discipline of attorneys for ethical or other violations. State bars typically provide services for members such as maintaining a directory of attorneys in the state, facilitating social events for attorneys, publishing a bar journal and providing classes to fulfill these CLE credits requirements.The Florida Bar
The Florida Bar is the integrated bar association for the state of Florida. It is the third largest such bar in the United States. Its duties include the regulation and discipline of attorneys. The Florida Bar is also responsible for the governing of Florida Registered Paralegals.As elsewhere in the United States, persons seeking admission to the bar must pass a moral character screening, in this case administered by the Florida Board of Bar Examiners. Admission to the Bar includes passing a background investigation, the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination, and the bar exam, which tests both the common law through the Multistate Bar Examination and Florida law through written state essays and state-specific multiple-choice questions.
The Florida Bar's headquarters building and annex are located in Tallahassee, three blocks from the Florida State Capitol.