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Although Alaska is one of the largest states in the nation, it is also the least densely populated. Therefore, it is not entirely surprising that Alaska does not have a single law school. Nevertheless, Alaska maintains a higher-than-average ratio of lawyers compared to the relatively low overall population. Currently, there are 2,486 attorneys actively practicing law in Alaska and a total of 4,160 lawyers licensed to practice in the state. Every one of these attorneys is required to be members of the mandatory state bar, the Alaska Bar Association. Ever since it was established, the Alaska Bar Association has served the dual purpose of regulating the legal profession in the state and providing assistance to Alaska’s legal community. In order to fulfill the former objective, the Alaska Bar Association directly handles all complaints of professional misconduct by licensed attorneys and also handles the admissions process for all potential Alaskan lawyers. The Alaska Bar Association also helps those practicing law in the state by providing beneficial events such as continuing legal educational courses and useful practice tools, including law practice sections and online forums. In order to benefit residents of the state, the Alaska bar provides important informational resources such as contact information for lawyers and pro bono legal aid organizations.
In addition to the Alaska Bar Association, there are a number of Alaskan general bar associations located throughout the state. These supplemental organizations offer voluntary membership and focus on serving lawyers in specific regions or specific practice areas. Examples of regional Alaskan general bar associations include the Juneau Bar Association and the Anchorage Bar Association. These local bar associations encourage members to enjoy networking opportunities and to participate in professional development programming. Many of these regional bar associations are also committed to benefiting the local community by fundraising activities and by providing free legal aid.
Similar to the geographic bar associations, the practice-specific associations are entirely voluntary and focus on developing the career interests of its members. By supporting only a particular practice area, these voluntary bar associations offer valuable services to particular legal communities through continuing legal education courses and practice-specific networking events. Popular practice-specific bar associations in Alaska include the Alaska Association for Justice and the Alaska Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.