The Illinois State Bar Association is the biggest voluntary state bar association in the U.S. While membership is not mandatory, the association has more than 30,000 members. It is headquartered in Springfield and also has another office in Chicago.
The association is also one of the oldest in the country, dating to 1877 when it was created by 88 attorneys representing 37 counties in the state. Anthony Thornton served as the organization’s first president. After his two-year term, the organization has elected a new president every year. It is governed by 25 members who sit on the Board of Governors. The members are elected by the Assembly to their positions.
In exchange for membership dues, the organization offers attorneys a variety of benefits not accessible to lawyers who choose not to join. The benefits are designed to save attorneys time and money in their careers. They also have access to CLE courses and examination preparation resources in order to keep their licenses current.
Another benefit that comes with membership involves discounts at various merchants and businesses in the state. Lawyers can receive discounted services for services like credit card processing or courier services. They also get benefits for themselves and their families including discounts at hotels and vacation resorts.
Another benefit involves being able to conduct free research for cases and clients they are representing. Many times the cost of research is passed on to the client. With free research available through the state bar association’s website, lawyers can save their clients money and themselves time and hassle when trying to find case law that could benefit their own cases.
The association also serves the public in a number of ways including by offering an Ask a Lawyer resource. In some situations, a person could be charged money if he or she calls a law firm or an attorney to ask a question about a legal scenario. The Ask a Lawyer resource lets people do their own research without having to pay for it.
People can also benefit from the Civics Education resource found on the website. It can be confusing to keep track of the laws and regulations currently being enforced in the state. This resource lets people discover what laws apply to their cases.
The Illinois State Bar Association is located at the Illinois Bar Center at 424 South Second Street in Springfield, 62701. The Chicago office is found at 20 South Clark Street, Suite 900, 60603.