Most of us have, had, or heard of enough jokes, stories (both good and bad) about lawyers to fill volumes. There have probably been more books written with lawyers as the main topic than any other, the same goes for Hollywood, so, when I came across this nodeshell I felt obligated to put something in it. Regardless of whatever your personal feelings about lawyers and their profession, I’ve tried to stick to the facts.

The American Bar Association was founded on August 21, 1878, in Saratoga Springs, New York, by 100 lawyers from 21 states. At the time, there was no “legal system” and lawyers were basically a solitary lot that trained under a system of apprenticeship.

There was no national code of ethics (insert snide comment here); there was no national organization to serve as a forum for discussion of the increasingly intricate issues involved in legal practice.

The original charter of the ABA states their purpose as existing for “the advancement of the science of jurisprudence, the promotion of the administration of justice and a uniformity of legislation throughout the country.”

Today, the stated mission of the American Bar Association is "to be the national representative of the legal profession, serving the public and the profession by promoting justice, professional excellence and respect for the law." (Again, feel free to make any comments as appropriate)

For whatever its worth, there are eleven goals that the American Bar Association has stated.

1) Promote improvement in the American system of justice
2) Promote meaningful access to legal representation and the American system of justice for all persons regardless of their economic or social condition.
3) Provide ongoing leadership in improving the law to serve the changing needs of society
4) Increase public understanding of and respect for the law, the legal process and the role of the legal profession
5) Achieve the highest standards of professionalism, competence, and ethical conduct
6) Serve as the national representative of the legal profession
7) Provide benefits, programs and services which promote professional growth and enhance the quality of life of the members
8) Advance the rule of law in the world
9) Promote full and equal participation in the legal profession by minorities and women
10) Preserve and enhance the ideals of the legal profession as a common calling and its dedication to public service
11) Preserve the independence of the legal profession and the judiciary as fundamental to a free society.

Source: The American Bar Association

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