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Although Rhode Island is physically the smallest state in the nation, it is home to over a million people. More than four thousand of these residents are attorneys licensed to practice in the state. This means that there are nearly 40 lawyers for every 10,000 residents in Rhode Island, which is the twelfth-highest ratio of attorneys to people in the United States.
The relatively high number of attorneys in Rhode Island in comparison to overall population means that there are a number of bar associations the exist to support all of these lawyers. Since the state of Rhode Island is not very big, the majority of bar associations in Rhode Island serve the legal community located throughout the entire state. Of all of the statewide bar associations in Rhode Island, the largest one is the Rhode Island State Bar Association. The size of the Rhode Island State Bar Association’s membership is mainly attributable to the fact that it is the mandatory state bar that all lawyers in Rhode Island must join when they become licensed.
There are also a number of bar associations in Rhode Island that support lawyers working in certain legal practice areas, such as the Rhode Island Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and the Rhode Island Association for Justice. Other Rhode Island bar associations that were created to benefit subsections of the local legal community generally support minority groups, including the Justinian Law Society of Rhode Island, the Thurgood Marshall Law Society, and the Rhode Island Women’s Bar Association.