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Montana currently maintains approximately 4,000 licensed attorneys—a comparatively large number given that Montana is the third least populated state in the country. Every one of these attorneys is required to belong to the State Bar of Montana, regardless of whether they live in the state. This organization strives to provide assistance spanning a wide range of professional interests and practice types. For example, the State Bar of Montana benefits its members by providing online job listings relevant to the state’s legal community and by hosting regular networking opportunities. Additionally, the State Bar of Montana works to benefit the general public of the state through a number of means, such as providing informational pamphlets that discuss important legal issues faced by particular demographics.
In addition to the State Bar of Montana, there are a number of bar associations in the state that offer voluntary memberships and focus on supporting specific regions or areas of practice. That state’s major regional associations include the Northwest Montana Bar Association and the Yellowstone Area Bar Association. Associations that are devoted to serving individual counties include the Gallatin County Bar Association and the Cascade County Bar Association. These area-specific bar associations are able to foster community interaction among its members by hosting holiday parties, luncheons, or other social gatherings. Members of regional bar associations are often encouraged to volunteer at legal clinics or other pro bono programs that benefit the general community.
Prominent bar associations in Montanta that are based around a certain type of legal practice include the Montana Trial Lawyers Association and the Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. These and similar organizations are primarily concerned with advancing the professional development of its members by offering practice tools, such as amicus brief committees and practice reference guides, as well as programming, including social events or networking events.