You may not know that you can join many bar associations before you are admitted to the bar — even while you are still a law student! National, state, and local bar associations offer many great resources for law students, including networking opportunities, committee participation, continuing legal education, orientation to the court system, membership in sections focused on legal topic areas, and much more. And most bar associations offer steeply discounted rates allowing law students to join.
As a law student here in Chicago, for example, you may want to consider joining one or more of the following:
American Bar Association. Law student dues are only $25 or three years for $60. The ABA has an entire law student division, which offers a huge number of resources and benefits for law students. These resources and benefits are described at http://www.americanbar.org/membership/benefits_of_membership/resources_for_who_you_are/law_students.html
ABA law student division membership benefits include:
- Subscriptions to the ABA Journal, eJournal, Student Lawyer magazine and the Division monthly eNewsletter.
- Moot court and practical skills competitions in arbitration, client counseling, negotiation and appellate advocacy.
- Writing competitions, many of which award monetary prizes.
- Internships, fellowships, and clerkships in a variety of practice specialties.
- Leadership opportunities within law schools, regions or on a national level.
- Specialized publications and programs in 30+ specialty practice groups – 21 of which are free to law students.
- Involvement in specialty practice groups that cover more than 30+ areas of law.
- Opportunities to work with legal professionals on committees and advocacy issues.
- Hotlines for answers to ethics questions (312.988.5323).
- Career guidance, including job search information, trends, daily tips, advice and on-going access to career resources.
- BarBri Bar Review Course Scholarships and discounts on Kaplan review courses.
Illinois State Bar Association: Membership is free for up to four years of law school (the membership year runs September to August). Law student membership benefits are described at http://www.isba.org/lawstudents.
ISBA student membership provides these benefits:
Information and Networking
- Access to the members-only portions of the ISBA website
- Up to five free sections memberships and e-newsletters
- Young Lawyers Division Newsletter
- Option to receive publications in print for only $12 a year
- ADAPTIBAR is an online multistate bar examination preparation program. Using advanced technology, ADAPTIBAR automatically adjusts the presentation of questions based on your strengths and weaknesses and improves your internal timing by telling you whether you are taking too little or too much time on a question. To enroll, visit www.isba.org/adaptibar or call 877-466-1250.
- Free admission to law school programs sponsored by the ISBA Law Student Division
- Law Ed CLE Programs held throughout the state
- Seminars sponsored by the ISBA Young Lawyers Division
- ISBA Annual and Midyear Meeting programs
Chicago Bar Association: Student rate: $12/year. Join at http://www.chicagobar.org/Source/Members/cMemberInsert.cfm?Section=Enrollment_Form
Membership in The Chicago Bar Association offers law students the opportunity to learn about the actual practice of law through committee participation, seminars, publications, and volunteer projects. Important networking opportunities are also available.
- Committees are a way to learn about a specific practice area. Monthly committee meetings feature expert speakers, legislative updates and case law developments.
- The CBA presents over 120 seminars each year featuring expert speakers and comprehensive written material. Topics include:
- Tours of the state and federal courts
- Deposition strategies and techniques
- Starting your own practice.
- Trying Your First Case
- Basic Real Estate Closings
- An Overview of Probate Practice