Report From Governmental Affairs

Advocacy Works: Grassroots advocates take action during ABA Day

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U.S. Capitol

U.S. Capitol. File photo.

The ABA will be hosting the latest edition of our association-wide advocacy event from April 10-11: ABA Day 2024. Hundreds of national, state and local bar leaders and association members will work together both in person on Capitol Hill and online to advocate on issues important to the legal profession.

For those who will be walking the halls of Congress: Thank you for your energy during two impactful days of meetings and events. For those who will be visiting elected officials in their district offices, joining us on social media or participating online for ABA Day Digital: Your engagement will enhance both the scope of our advocacy network and the magnitude of our collective impact.

Lawyers and grassroots advocates from all 50 states will participate and contact hundreds of House and Senate members to discuss funding for legal aid offices nationwide through the Legal Services Corp.; funding for federal defender programs; and highlighting the ABA’s work in the artificial intelligence arena, among other issues of utmost importance.

After the meetings, advocates will continue their work in the form of follow-up meetings and calls, thank-you notes and commitments to continue working together on issues of mutual interest.

Working from home

For those not able to join us in April, it is not too late. The ABA’s Grassroots Action Center makes it easy for you to quickly take action. How?

• Go to ambar.org/abaday.

• Find the “Take Action Now!” section.

• Enter your home address to connect with your lawmakers.

• Send preformatted messages on current ABA legislative priorities.

• Feel free to personalize the message(s) to tell your story and have more of an impact.

• You do not have to be an ABA member to engage. Please send campaign information to interested colleagues, families and friends who can also contact their lawmakers to support our key legislative priorities.

Never engaged with Congress before? We have you covered. The ABA Grassroots Action Center includes tutorials, tips and best practices to help you every step of the way. You can find the action center at ambar.org/grassroots.

For more experienced advocates, the center has in-depth research, one-pagers and more to take your advocacy efforts to the next level. Regardless of the method used, the Grassroots Action Center can help members stay abreast of the ABA’s priorities on Capitol Hill and empower them to add their voices to the conversation in under 10 minutes while also amplifying the ABA’s message in the process.

The ABA Governmental Affairs Office regularly coordinates with members of Congress on legislation of interest to the legal profession, but lawmakers want to hear from voters rather than lobbyists when deciding what is best for their constituents.

You are who they were elected to represent.

Now is the time

Since the launch of the Grassroots Action Center, thousands of ABA digital and grassroots advocates have generated tens of thousands of messages, meetings and phone calls to Congress, adding to the voice of the legal profession and making our collective outreach even more powerful.

The 118th Congress struggled to organize and gain political consensus during its first session. So far, the second session has focused on funding the government while also negotiating security improvements at the southern border and foreign aid for Ukraine and Israel. Once Congress finally resolves the fiscal year 2024 appropriations bills, it will turn its attention toward legislating before the August recess, after which many lawmakers will start focusing on reelection campaigns through November.

Much legislative work remains pending in this Congress, but the window for getting it done is shrinking. Now is the time to take action, whether by meeting in person with congressional leaders or reaching out to them through our digital platform.

Visit the ABA Grassroots Action Center to contact your members of Congress or to share our campaigns with those in your networks who want to add their voice of support to help the legal profession have even more of a meaningful impact on access-to-justice issues.

If you have questions, please contact the ABA Governmental Affairs Office at [email protected], and we will connect you with the right person.

This report is written by the ABA Governmental Affairs Office and discusses advocacy efforts by the ABA relating to issues being addressed by Congress and the executive branch of the U.S. government.

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