American Bar Association (ABA)

Seeks to serve its members, improve the legal profession, eliminate bias and enhance diversity, and advance the rule of law. HQ in Chicago with significant DC office.

Primary geographic focus: NATIONAL
Organization type(s): Bar/Pro Bono
Acronym or short name: ABA

The American Bar Association is one of the world’s largest voluntary professional organizations, with nearly 400,000 members and more than 3,500 entities. It is committed to doing what only a national association of attorneys can do: serving our members, improving the legal profession, eliminating bias and enhancing diversity, and advancing the rule of law throughout the United States and around the world.

Founded in 1878, the ABA is committed to supporting the legal profession with practical resources for legal professionals while improving the administration of justice, accrediting law schools, establishing model ethical codes, and more. Membership is open to lawyers, law students, and others interested in the law and the legal profession.

Our national headquarters are in Chicago, and we maintain a significant office in Washington D.C.


News Story

ABA Task Force: Bring Law School Costs Down

Karen Sloan
National Law Journal
June 19, 2015
Story about an ABA task force's recommendations for affordability of a legal education.

News Story

American Bar Association President Pushes Online Models for Civil Disputes

Bill Dries
Memphis Daily News
June 22, 2015
The president of the American Bar Association says the traditional method of providing pro bono legal services in civil matters to those who can’t afford to pay for an attorney isn’t working despite best efforts.

News Story

Major Law Firms Give Little to Legal Aid, Study Finds

Elizabeth Olson
New York Times (NYT)
June 29, 2015
While major law firms are enjoying record revenues — more than $100 billion last year — they are donating only a tenth of 1 percent of their proceeds for legal aid to low-income people.

News Story

Boston Law Schools Launch Joint Practice Incubator

Karen Sloan
National Law Journal
July 16, 2015
Three Boston law schools are teaming up to launch a practice incubator that will serve low- and modest-income clients.

News Story

Divided ABA Adopts Resolution on Nonlawyer Legal Services

Susan Beck
February 8, 2016
The American Bar Association's House of Delegates on Monday voted to adopt a resolution that gives states a framework to consider the regulation of "nontraditional legal service providers”.

Audio , News Story

For Tenants in Housing Court, Study Finds ‘Navigators’ Can Be Good Alternatives to Lawyers

Beth Fertig
December 13, 2016
A new study points to a program in Brooklyn housing court that pilots one possible solution: court navigators.

News Story

Unrepresented Civil Litigants Fare Better With Nonlawyers, Study Shows

Corinne Ramey
Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
December 13, 2016
Trained legal helpers can aid with paperwork or answer questions from a judge but can’t argue in court.

News Story

Trump Budget Would Gut Legal Aid For Veterans, Domestic Abuse Victims And Disaster Survivors

Ryan Reilly
Huffington Post
March 16, 2017
If the Trump administration gets its way, the Legal Services Corporation is getting the axe.

News Story

Legal Services Corp., Under Trump, Faces New Threat to Existence

Marcia Coyle
National Law Journal
March 16, 2017
The Legal Services Corp., created in 1974 under the signature of President Richard Nixon, is once again on the chopping block as another Republican president—Donald Trump— proposes to zero out its funding in his first budget.

News Story

Proposed cuts would reduce legal aid for poor

Shannon Eblen
Courier-Post (NJ)
March 23, 2017
Cuts to funding for legal services for the poor could force thousands of New Jersey residents to go without representation in civil cases, advocates warn.

News Story

Trump budget hits legal aid and public service sectors

Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana Lawyer
May 24, 2017
Conversely, the LSC is confident Congress would continue to allocate funding as it has for the last 42 years.


Law schools are letting down their students and society—here are three steps they can take to fix things

Gillian Hadfield
September 20, 2017
This is bad news for students. But it is even worse news for the rest of us.

News Story

Maine school moves to reverse shortage of rural lawyers

Noel K. Gallagher
Portland Press Herald (Maine)
October 22, 2017
A new program puts aspiring young lawyers in country practices in hopes of increasing access to justice in underserved areas.

News Story

Human trafficking survivors get a highly qualified legal advocate

Kristina Davis
San Diego Union-Tribune
November 3, 2017
When Jamie Quient first asked how she, a civil litigation attorney, could help victims of human trafficking, a federal prosecutor advised her: We need lawyers.


Defending the Family: The Need for Legal Representation in Child-Welfare Proceedings

Rachel Blustain
Nation, The
January 16, 2018
More than half of Mississippi parents who walk into family court don’t have a lawyer.

News Story

Amid another call for defunding, LSC asking for an increase

Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana Lawyer
February 20, 2018
LSC leaders are confident of continued support from both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill but the organization is asking for more money even though it may still get a funding cut in fiscal year 2018.


Encouragement and Aspirations for the #LegalAidDefenders

Connecticut Law Tribune
March 2, 2018
Within the swirl of political activity of 2017 lay yet another attack on the Legal Services Corp., the federal agency that serves as the single largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans.

News Story

A Blank Check for Legal Aid Gets Harder to Cash

Jack Karp
November 26, 2018
IOLTA programs across the country have been a major source of dollars for civil legal aid programs for decades, but anemic interest rates since the financial crash in 2008 have largely drained what was once a much deeper pond.

News Story

Will Congress Heed Trump’s Call To Nix Legal Aid Funder?

RJ Vogt
March 24, 2019
For the third year in a row, President Trump’s budget calls for eliminating LSC, but advocates for America’s main funder of civil legal aid remain hopeful that lawmakers will again rebuff that recommendation.

News Story

Why Partnerships Can Help Maximize In-House Pro Bono

Michele Gorman
November 3, 2019
It’s partnerships like Chubb’s that have helped legal departments and companies establish and grow successful pro bono programs to give back to their communities through free legal representation, according to Takacs and other panelists.


American Bar Assn. President Criticizes U.S. Legal System As Backward, Resistant to Change

Patricia Barnes
February 3, 2020
“We need new ideas,” said Martinez. “We are one-fifth into the 21st century, yet we continue to rely on 20th-century processes, procedures and regulations. We need to retain 20th-century values but advance them using 21st-century approaches that can increase access to justice.”

News Story

ABA Approves Innovation Resolution, With Revisions to Limit Regulatory Changes

Brenda Sapino Jeffreys
February 17, 2020
The American Bar Association’s House of Delegates passed a resolution to push for new approaches to the practice of law that would improve access to justice, but not before adding a disclaimer to address concerns raised by some state bar associations about outside investment in law firms.

News Story

USA’s top law group hopes to limit legal harm to the poor

Willoughby Mariano
Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC)
March 16, 2020

News Story

Virus Lights Fire Under Eviction Right To Counsel Movement

Natalie Rodriguez
August 16, 2020

News Story

ABA President Calls for Reform to Meet Legal Needs of the Low-Income

Jeff Manning
October 13, 2014
If reform isn't done, the Justice Gap will continue to grow, says ABA President William Hubbard. More and more people in the middle class are now being affected as well.

Blog Post

Language Access Projects Crucial to Making Legal Services Accessible

Lonnie A. Powers
Huffington Post
May 22, 2014
Language access is crucial explains Lonnie Powers, as many people with limited English skills struggle to navigate the justice system.

News Story

Self-help centers could better serve consumers by helping them find lawyers, survey indicates

G.M. Filisko
ABA Journal
February 1, 2015
According to But Bonnie Hough, a new national survey reveals another gap: consumers who can afford legal services but still aren't getting them.

News Story

Task Force Backs Changes in Legal Education System

Tamar Lewin
New York Times (NYT)
September 20, 2013
Among changes recommended by a draft ABA task force report is training nonlawyers to provide limited legal services, as in Washington State.

News Story

A Call for Drastic Changes in Educating New Lawyers

Ethan Bronner
New York Times (NYT)
February 10, 2013
The legal profession is contemplating radical changes to legal educational amid broad agreement that the current system is broken.

Letter to Editor

Legal Help for the Poor: The View From the A.B.A.

William T. Robinson III
New York Times (NYT)
August 30, 2011
To address justice gap, increase LSC funding and pro bono work instead of opening the practice of law to unschooled, unregulated nonlawyers.

This page last modified: Wed, April 8, 2015 -- 5:31 pm ET