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ABA Seeks To Shore Up Waning Membership

•  Bar Associations     updated  2009/07/27 08:58


According to The National Law Journal, the American Bar Association is pursuing a major marketing campaign to appeal to a broader audience, including small-firm lawyers.

Incoming American Bar Association President Carolyn Lamm was so concerned about shoring up the organization's membership and appealing to a broader audience that she started pitching in this year before the beginning of her term.

ABA membership isn't growing at the same rate as the profession, said Lamm, a partner in the Washington office of White & Case. The association doesn't even represent half of all U.S. lawyers anymore, she said.

"There were certain groups of lawyers I didn't think we had enough of," said Lamm, citing solo practitioners, young lawyers and those from smaller firms. Different groups have "different needs in terms of what the association can give them to increase the value of the association and increase the relevance of the association to them."

When the ABA gathers for its annual meeting in Chicago on July 30, the organization's board of governors will weigh a key question: How does the association get membership climbing again? The board will receive a presentation from its marketing consultant Leo Burnett Co. Inc., which was hired in March to aid in spreading the ABA's message to more lawyers. The association has never pursued a marketing effort of this magnitude, said current ABA President H.Thomas Wells Jr.

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