What is a Bar Association?
In general, a bar association is a professional body of lawyers. Some bar associations are responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in their jurisdiction. Other bar associations are professional organizations dedicated to serving their members. And in many cases, they serve as both.
In many jurisdictions, the “bar association” is comprised of lawyers who are qualified as barristers or advocates (collectively known as “the bar”, or members of the bar), while the “law society” comprises solicitors.
These bodies are sometimes mutually exclusive. In other jurisdictions, the “bar” may refer to the entire community of persons engaged in the practice of law.
In general, they provide resources for attorneys such as networking opportunities, referral services, continuing education and training resources, specialized events, and more. In some cases, joining them may be voluntary, but in other cases it may be mandatory.
State Bar Associations
A directory of State Bar Associations is available on the American Bar Association (ABA) website. To locate a particular association, click on the appropriate state on the map. A list of state associations will be provided, which includes the name, address, phone number, fax and email address (if available). This list also provides a link to the individual website to find more detailed information.
The ABA website also provides information on membership eligibility, benefits and fees. There is also an extensive amount of resources for attorneys including information on Groups, Careers, Rules, Books, Statistics, Legal Journals, Insurance, News and much more.
How can they be useful to investigators?
Private Investigators may find state bar associations useful for locating attorneys, as the associations maintain a directory of the attorneys for their state. Private Investigators often need to track down attorneys who were assigned to particular cases, or who may have knowledge about a witness or related case.
Also, they are a great place to check to see if an attorney has any ethical violations or if they have been disciplined for any reason.