When you’re in need of a lawyer it typically is for a stressful or difficult event in your life. When the issues are so important, it’s hard to trust a lawyer that smiles on a bus advertisement. But where can you find a lawyer you can rely on? One with an extra reassurance that you’re making the right choice?
A bar association can be statewide or can be based on city or region. While lawyers are required to register with their State Bar in order to practice law in their state, joining a local bar association is by choice. To qualify for the State Bar, lawyers need to pass the bar examination and pass a background check through the Department of Justice. In order to be accepted to a local bar association, a lawyer must meet the local association’s requirements. The requirements can be a range, from what type of law the lawyer practices, where their office is located, or if they are of a particular culture or heritage. While each association can revoke membership to lawyers for a variety of reasons, they will revoke association when the lawyer has committed malpractice or has broken the association’s guidelines of conduct and ethics. If your local association is reputable and considered an official bar association, then you can trust that their lawyers are people you can trust as well.
Despite what they say, lawyers don’t know everything about the law. They often rely on new articles, continuing classes, and other lawyers to make sure they know as much as they can. If your lawyer is a member of a local bar association, then you know that he has access to continuing education classes and other knowledgeable lawyers who can offer your lawyer insight and advice.
If you have another case that you need help on, and your lawyer doesn’t feel qualified to handle it, then you know that they can refer you to another member of the organization. The network of support in a bar association offers lawyers, and their clients, so much support and insight as to the best way to win your case.
While not all bar associations offer this, many of them do provide free legal help to qualifying individuals. According to the State Bar in each state, lawyers are required to provide a certain amount of free legal work a year. Many bar associations take this requirement as a chance to set up a “pro bono” clinic (that means for free), where their members can offer their legal services. It depends on the association, but many bar associations offer a help line, an email inbox, or even a walk-in clinic for people who need legal services but can’t afford the cost.
There are over 1,500 bar associations in the United States, and with each new generation of lawyers, the associations expand or new ones are created. At BarAssociationDirectory.com, you can find a list of the bar associations in your state and see which associations are near you.