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Located in one of the oldest cities in the nation, the Boston Bar Association (BBA) is the oldest bar association in the United States. The Boston Bar Association was created in the late 1700s by a group of Boston lawyers led by John Adams, who later became president of the United States. As the legal community grew in Boston and the surrounding area, the group became known as the Suffolk County Bar Association. However, the Boston Bar Association separated from the Suffolk County Bar Association and became its own entity again in 1861.

Membership to the Boston Bar Association is open to anyone that is licensed to practice law, teaches at a Massachusetts law school, or is a student at a law school in Massachusetts. However, there are different dues levels owed to the BBA for the different classes of members based on the type of practice that they are in, such as whether they are in-house counsel for a corporation or a government attorney, and their location, such as whether they live in the 495 area code or whether they live out of state. People that work in other professions in Boston may also join as ‘business professional’ members. This high level of potential inclusiveness for all people in the greater Boston area that wish to join is part of the reason why the Boston Bar Association is a large organization, with over 10,000 members.

Further education and the professional development of its members are important to the Boston Bar Association. Members are given discounts on the continuing legal education programs put on by the bar association and the online programming provided by the West LegalEdcenter, in addition to free admission to the BBA’s annual series of brown bag lunch lectures that allow for members to stay on top of current development in their practice area. The Boston Bar Association also provides several programs to help its members develop their practical business skills as well, including courses on setting up a new law firm and creating a flat fee billing structure.

The Boston Bar Association and its members are also heavily involved in improving the local community in the greater Boston area. Several school groups in the Boston area benefit from educational programming provided by the BBA, including the M. Ellen Financial Literacy program and the Boston Debate league. Members of the Boston Bar Association are also able to help the residents of Boston by providing free legal advice through the Boston Bar Association’s many pro bono projects, including VITA, the Veterans Initiative, and House Court Lawyer for the Day.

Contact the Boston Bar Association

16 Beacon Street

Boston, MA 0210

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