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Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is NABE?

The National Association of Bar Executives, or NABE, was founded in 1941 to serve the staff of bar associations and law-related organizations.

NABE’s mission is to be a diverse, inclusive organization offering professional development opportunities to members.
NABE is a voluntary membership organization that was formed as an independent not-for-profit organization incorporated in Illinois in 1990. NABE is an affiliate of the American Bar Association (ABA) and has received administrative services through the ABA’s Division for Bar Services since 1953.

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What does NABE do?

NABE empowers members to play a leadership role within their organizations and the broader community.

We offer programs, workshops, annual and midyear meetings, networking opportunities, and section and committee involvement geared toward career development of the professional staff of bar associations and law-related organizations.

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Who are NABE members and what are the eligibility requirements?

Members are most often executive directors and the professional staff of bar associations and law-related organizations.  

NABE members are from every discipline and every service that contributes to the success of bar associations: Administration, Continuing Legal Education, Lawyer Referral, Finance, Communications and Marketing, Member Services and Governmental Relations.

There are three types of eligibility:

1.    Regular Members:  Individuals employed by bar associations shall be eligible to be Regular Members.

2.    Associate Members: Individuals employed by bar-related organizations may be eligible to be Associate Members. Associate members are not eligible to hold office or to vote.

3.    Retired Members: Individuals who have previously been Regular or Associate Members, are retired from all bar association or bar-related organization work and are no longer eligible for regular, or associate membership shall be eligible to be Retired Members. Retired members are not eligible to hold office or to vote.

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How many members are in NABE?

NABE members are the decision-makers at more than 250 state, local and national bar associations throughout the country.

Membership of these bar associations totals more than 1.2 million judges, attorneys and other legal professionals.

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What are the various types of bar associations that make up NABE?

Each state has its own rules regarding the licensing of attorneys and each state has an organization which oversees the governing body for lawyers, most commonly known as a state bar association.  

Some states require lawyers to be members of the state’s bar association.  These organizations are called mandatory, unified or integrated.

Other states do not require lawyers to join the state bar association.  These are voluntary bar associations.

There are also national, regional, county and specialty bar associations which are voluntary.  These bars allow lawyers and legal professionals to join together to support common causes, to network for business development and to present educational forums.

NABE brings together executive directors and the professional staff of all these different models of bar associations and law-related organizations.

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How do I contact individual bar associations?

If you have a question for a specific state or local bar association, find your contact information here.

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Whom do I contact at NABE for additional information?

If you need additional information about NABE, please contact:

Emma Buell
Prgram Assistant, Division of Bar Services
T: 312.988.5408

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How does NABE generate revenue?

NABE members pay annual dues based upon the size of their bar association or law-related organization.  Members may also join one or more of the three sections offered by NABE.

Advertising is another source of revenue as is sponsorship of NABE events, such as the Midyear and Annual Meetings, as well as annual Section workshops.

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How is the NABE leadership chosen?

The NABE Board of Directors is composed of 11 positions, but not all positions are up for election each year.

The NABE president annually appoints an election committee who oversees the election. Interested members must get a petition signed by five members and submitted to the president by March 15 in order to qualify to run for an office.  

The election is held by April 15 of each year and all seats are elected by a plurality.

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National Association of Bar Executives
c/o ABA Division for Bar Services
321 N. Clark St., 17th Floor
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 988-5408