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Different Lawyers Have Different Needs, Says ABA; Retools Dues Structure as First Step to Meet Them

ORLANDO, FLA., Feb. 9, 2010—The _ is addressing its value and relevance to each member and now is retooling its dues structure as a big step in rethinking how it serves the lawyers of America.

The ABA House of Delegates today approved a new dues structure that will reduce costs by up to 50 percent for solo practitioners and by 25 percent for those who already receive a discount: government lawyers, lawyers employed by nonprofit legal services programs and judges.

At the same time, the association is making it easier to join by creating flexible payment options, such as installment billing and auto renewals, and developing new tools and resources to benefit lawyers in their day-to-day law practices.

“We understand that practicing law is changing in myriad ways, and we are poised to help lawyers in diverse practice settings jump ahead of the challenges, no matter what their practice is,” said Carolyn B. Lamm, association president.

“It is important for the ABA, as the voice of the profession, to broaden our participation among all lawyers, to make sure they are a part of our organization. We understand the challenges they face and we know what they want are tools and services to help them meet those challenges every day, to help them provide the best possible service to their clients,” she said.

Even before Lamm took office last August, she probed the needs of lawyers in a range of practice settings, from solo offices to mega-firms with global branches.

“The ABA has always understood that there is no one-size-fits-all in the practice of law,” Lamm said. “The impact of the economic climate on legal professionals has underscored that truth.”

The new dues will take effect with a billing cycle that starts in May. Other dues initiatives and additional tools and services will roll-out at the ABA Annual Meeting in August.

“The ABA is America’s bar association, and this dues structure is designed to bring into that tent as many lawyers as we can to provide them with the opportunity to be better lawyers and to give more people the opportunity to serve the administration of justice and the public,” said L. Jonathan Ross of Portsmouth, N.H.

A solo practitioner from Keizer, Ore., Sharon C. Stevens said, “The message to solo practitioners all over the country is that the ABA wants you. They are a vital part of this profession and we want to do everything that we can to help them practice more efficiently, more effectively, and be part of the voice of the national association of attorneys.”

The new structure for the identified lawyers was approved during the ABA Midyear Meeting in Orlando. The retooled rates were the result of a comprehensive dues pricing study, which included input from more than 9,000 lawyers.

With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

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