Executive Director's Report
The ABA’s Continued Growth Bucks National Trend Among Comparable Organizations
Posted Nov 29, 2005 4:23 AM CST
By Robert A. Stein
The world’s largest voluntary professional membership organization continues to grow. As of Aug. 31, 2005, the last day of the past association year, the American Bar Association’s membership had increased to 407,244.
The ABA records its official membership each year on the last day of the association year as it is on that day that it can be determined how many members joined or continued their membership and paid their dues for the year.
This year’s total was once again an increase over the prior year’s membership total. Here are the numbers:
Category ------ 8/31/05 ------ 8/31/04 ------ Increase
Lawyer ------- 346,362 ------ 345,213 ------ 1,149
Law student ------ 51,472 ------ 50,738 ------ 734
Associate ------ 9,410 ------ 9,397 ------ 13
TOTAL ------ 407,244 ------ 405,348 ------ 1,896
We are extremely pleased with this continuing growth in membership, a rarity today among large, national professional membership organizations. It confirms that the association continues to provide significant value to our members.
An Encouraging Sign
Law student membership grew to a new all-time record high of 51,472, the eleventh consecutive annual increase in this category. This is excellent news for future lawyer membership because we know that lawyers who were members while in law school are much more likely to join after admission to the bar and remain members of the ABA for their entire legal careers.
Our 407,244 members join the ABA for numerous reasons, including award-winning publications and continuing legal education seminars, as well as the excellent benefits and services we provide. We continue to focus our efforts on enhancing the tangible benefits that best serve our members, constantly reviewing what new combinations of programs and services we can offer. The ABA provides a wealth of benefits and resources to members, ranging from practice assistance to investment and insurance programs to consumer and business savings on goods and services. For more information on current and new member benefits, visit our Web site at www.abanet.org/members/home.html.
In addition to the tangible benefits we provide, the intangibles of service to the public and the profession are key for our members. Members take pride in being a part of an organization that presents a strong national voice for the legal profession and actively participates in debates on public policy issues.
The ABA is a prominent and respected voice that addresses an array of crucial issues. The association plays a vital role in evaluating nominees to the federal bench, enhancing jury service for all Americans, accrediting law schools, promulgating the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and speaking out on the critical constitutional and legal issues that shape our times.
Our strong membership brings the wealth of talent of the legal profession to critical issues facing the profession and the public. ABA members contribute hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours to the public service work of the association.
Association members are involved in a wide variety of activities, ranging from providing assistance to victims of Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters to ensuring access to justice regardless of income, enhancing civic education for schoolchildren and providing legal technical assistance throughout the world to help other nations develop the rule of law. The opportunities the ABA provides for this extensive engagement and commitment are a powerful impetus for our continuing growth in membership.
Congratulations to our excellent Standing Committee on Membership, chaired this year by Maury Poscover of St. Louis, and the superb staff of our Membership and Marketing Division, headed by Diane Bruhl, for their outstanding work leading the way to these extraordinary results.
The sections of the ABA provide a home for our members. On the next page [see sidebar for this ABAJournal.com article] are the section, division and forum membership totals for 2005.
ABA Section, Division and Forum Membership
Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice 21,145
Affordable Housing 6,403
Air & Space Law 1,560
Antitrust Law 9,688
Business Law 52,257
Communications Law 2,757
Construction Industry 6,334
Criminal Justice 9,353
Dispute Resolution 9,305
Entertainment & Sports Industry 4,402
Environment, Energy & Resources 10,532
Family Law 10,431
General Practice, Solo & Small Firm 32,342
Government & Public Sector Division 6,571
Health Law 9,508
Individual Rights & Responsibilities 2,685
Intellectual Property Law 19,258
International Law & Practice 13,878
Judicial Division (combined) 4,200
Labor & Employment Law 21,421
Law Practice Management 21,658
Legal Education & Admissions to Bar 11,502
Public Contract Law 5,435
Public Utility, Communication & Trans. 8,996
Real Property, Probate & Trust Law 29,773
Science & Technology Law 7,846
Senior Lawyers Division 7,151
State & Local Government Law 5,075
Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice 36,625
*Some members belong to more than one entity.