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Reply #17: There are literally thousands of different bar associations. Attys. don't have to belong to any [View All]

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Divernan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-16-07 03:14 AM
Response to Reply #7
17. There are literally thousands of different bar associations. Attys. don't have to belong to any
Edited on Wed May-16-07 03:20 AM by Divernan
of them. Lawyers can practise a lifetime without joining a single bar association.

Every county and state has its own bar association. Then there are bar associations, sometimes known as lawyers' guilds focused on ethnic or religious affiliations (the Decalogue Society for Jewish lawyers; the Catholic Lawyers' Guild; associations for Hispanic, Black, Native American lawyers). There is a National Association of Asian Pacific American lawyers, and 50 local state Asian Pacific American bar associations. There are different bar assiciations for defense lawyers, and criminal defense lawyers, family law practitioners and women lawyers. The are bar associations for lawyers focused on energy law, or federal communications law, family law, ad inifinitum. There is an association just for black lawyers working for the Department of Justice.

Bar associations are a network for professional contacts & development. Many laymen think that bar associations are involved in licensing and oversight of lawyers. They are not. There is a complex network of courts in the US, and the individual courts set the standards for admitting individual lawyers to practise within/before them. To practise in any court within a state, one must pass the state's bar examination (yes, nitpickers, there are obscure exceptions, but they also involve having passed SOME state's bar exam, and then being sponsored to appear in another state's court for a limited time/purpose, etc.) The bar exam is administered by the state's Supreme Court, which also sets standards for and monitors compliance with continuing legal education requirements, and annual renewal of licenses. My state's Supreme Court has oversight responsibilities & disciplinary power over the ethical behavior of all lawyers licensed by the state.

Even if one passes the bar of a state, one must still be admitted to the state court, by filling out an application and obtaining sponsorship by another lawyer admitted to practise before that court. There are separate admissions required for state and federal courts, as well as the three levels of federal court (federal district court, circuit appellate court, U.S. Supreme Court).

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