Executive Director's Report

Steady Expansion

  • Print.

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:

ABA Membership

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

Franchising 2,113

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

Litigation 75,683

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

Taxation 19,254

Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice 36,625

Total 485,141*

*Some members belong to more than one entity.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.